Hello lovelies! Today my friend Britney is taking over the blog for a new monthly column about health and fitness. Britney is so passionate and knowledgeable about these topics, and I am so excited that she's willing to share her knowledge with you! These are things all of us struggle with, but that can be particularly difficult while wedding planning/navigating the holidays. I hope you enjoy what she has to share with you! xoxo, Stacia
Hello, Britney here! This is the beginning of what Stacia and I hope to be a monthly food and health column- and I couldn't be more excited about the possibilities and topics we have planned for you! Food and fitness are two of my greatest passions, and I am honored that Stacia has asked me to share a bit of what I have learned with you.
I am always on the search for a good dish that will help reduce anxiety, calm nerves, relieve stress, and promote restful sleep. And even more so during the holidays when we are surrounded with requests to buy more! give more! want more! eat more! And with the added stress of compromised immune systems, it’s no wonder we find ourselves simultaneously longing for and dreading the holiday season. (Or is that just me?)
So I've compiled a list of some of the essential vitamins and minerals along with recipes for my favorite winter comfort foods to help you relax and enjoy your holiday season. Not foods in the typical sense of comfort food, but in the true sense- foods that will leave you feeling comfy and happy throughout the craziness that is the most wonderful time of the year.
1. Magnesium and Calcium
Did you know that when your body is low on magnesium, it typically craves chocolate? Magnesium and calcium (both present in raw cacao) promote muscle relaxation, as well as hormone balance. So next time you are feeling tense, grab a handful of raw trail mix or mix up a quick kale salad (this dressing keeps great in the fridge for up to a week for even faster salads!)
Other foods high in calcium and magnesium: Broccoli, cashews, pumpkin seeds, almonds, Swiss chard.
2. Vitamin C
With cold season upon us, our immune systems are working overtime to keep us healthy and functioning at our best. Vitamin C helps give your immune system an extra boost- which is especially crucial when suffering from chronic stress or fatigue. Try a green smoothie or a Vitamin C smoothie for an extra boost of naturally derived vitamin C.
Other foods high in Vitamin C: Broccoli, strawberries, kiwis, citrus fruits, kale, spinach, red bell pepper.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Often in our search for ways to cut calories, anything with a high fat content gets eliminated from our diet. However, omega 3 fatty acids are essential to improving mental clarity and reducing inflammation-two symptoms of fatigued adrenal glands. Consider adding fish (wild caught salmon, mackerel, and anchovies are a few of the best) to your weekly menu or switching out salad dressing oils for those higher in omega-3’s.
Other foods high in Omega-3’s: Hemp seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, avocado, fish- and their (cold pressed, virgin) oils, grass fed beef.
4. Protein, Manganese, and Vitamin E
The pituitary gland is the producer of all the hormones in your body- including the stress-regulating ones. Eating foods that support and assist the pituitary gland in the production of hormones will help keep you balanced and raise your metabolism. Try substituting pasta and white breads for those higher in vitamin E and protein- such as farro, barley, rye, quinoa, and brown rice. Or add them to a salad for an even healthier meal.
Other pituitary-supporting foods: Leafy greens, nut butters, cauliflower, whole grains, legumes.
5. B Vitamins
All B vitamins help convert food to fuel, but B1, B6, B12, and folic acid (B9) are especially helpful in cognitive function (think memory, learning, anxiety, and depression). Try substituting bean flour as a thickening agent in your favorite soup, sauce, or pot pie for an extra boost of vitamin B (and protein!).
Other foods high in B vitamins: Leafy greens, poultry, seafood, grass fed beef, bananas, legumes, whole grains.
And of course never underestimate the power of a good workout session for relieving stress and tension! Join a hot yoga studio, attend a local spin class, take up kickboxing, or host a weekly DVD workout session with your friends. Not only will it help raise your metabolism and slim your figure, but exercising also releases endorphins - the “feel good” hormone responsible for positive moods. (And how could jumping around and punching things NOT lower your stress?)
May your holidays be restful, your homes cozy, and your loved ones near,
Looking for ways to stay fit this holiday season without having to brave the cold or join a gym? Britney is an independent health and fitness coach with Beachbody and a Shakeology distributer. For more information on her upcoming challenge and fitness accountability groups, or how you can get Shakeology - the healthiest meal of the day, visit www.beachbodycoach.com/britneyammen or email her at Britney.firstname.lastname@example.org.