It’s that time of year again! The holidays are a time of happiness and joy, but they can also be notoriously stressful. What if we told you that there was a way to reduce the amount of stress you feel this year? Sounds great, right? More happiness and joy – less stress, but how? By becoming sufficient in your essential micronutrients of course.

Stress depletes you of your essential micronutrients—but the good news is, that the vitamins, minerals and essential fats that are depleted by stress are the very same micronutrients that can ward off your stress when you get enough of them.

Let’s take a quick look at the 5 micronutrients you can take that will help you chillax this holiday season.

The B Vitamins:

Technically there are 8 B vitamins, (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) but we will count them as one group here. (It’s a lot better than the 12 micronutrients you can take to help you chillax this holiday season) The B vitamins have come to be known as anti-stress vitamins because they are often the first deficiencies to develop during times of stress. For example, vitamins B1 an B5 help to fight off stress by maintaining the proper function of the adrenal glands – the most important glands in the fight against stress, while vitamins B6 and B9 help you to better deal with the stress that you do experience because they are important for the formation of chemicals called neurotransmitters that are necessary for balancing emotions.

According to study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, you don’t need a great deficiency in the B vitamins to set in before you really start to feel it. The study revealed that if a subject was only given half the daily requirement of thiamine (vitamin B1), the subject became “irritable, depressed, quarrelsome, uncooperative, and fearful that some misfortune awaited them.” It sounds like the Grinch might have had a B deficiency!

Vitamin C:

Did you know that the demand for vitamin C increases ten-fold during stressful periods? This can cause this water-soluble vitamin to become depleted relatively quickly. In studies, people who have high levels of vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to acute psychological challenges. What's more, they bounce back from stressful situations faster than people with low levels of vitamin C. According to the University of Maryland, even slight deficiencies of vitamin C can increase cortisol output, which spikes appetite and increases fat deposits in the belly region. So, a deficiency in C might mean feeling stressed and getting a big belly! I think Santa could use some C. It looks like that Jolly belly might be linked to the stress of all of those deliveries.

Calcium & Magnesium:

Are you a stress eater? Have you been known to grab a bowl of ice cream or bag of chips when the stress comes knocking at your door?  While many people say that you might be eating to stifle your emotions or anxiety we want you to know that the stress and anxiety themselves may be physically responsible for your snacking. Both magnesium and calcium deficiencies can cause food cravings for both sweet and salty foods. Stress causes both of these minerals to be utilized quickly resulting in rapid depletion. It’s because of these mineral deficiencies that you begin stress eating. So, know that you’re not mentally weak, but mineral deficient.  Make sure to supplement smart, and both the stress and the food cravings will be a thing of the past. You may just be able to say no to that extra holiday treat this year.

Omega-3:

Recent research shows that your omega-3 fatty acids can play a key role in keeping stress at bay. Unfortunately, our Western diet doesn’t supply us with enough of these essential fats, primary found in fish, eggs and meat, so supplementation is a smart choice for anyone who doesn’t eat fish daily. Scientists believe that omega-3 supplementation “inhibits the adrenal activation elicited by a mental stress” leaving cortisol levels “significantly blunted” when omega-3 levels are high. One study at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania proved just how powerful omega-3 can be. Study participants who supplemented with omega-3 had significantly lower cortisol levels compared to those taking a placebo.  This resulted in them shedding three and a half times more body fat, while increasing lean muscle mass.

Another study on omega-3 showed that, when sufficient, this one micronutrient was able to lower the body’s stress-induced production of cortisol by 22 percent. (TIP: Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands) And Japanese researchers found that when study participants had sufficient quantities of this of omega-3 they literally became stress-proof. This means that the long line at the grocery store, the traffic jam during your holiday shopping, or your mother-in-laws comments can’t get to you!

Putting Your Micronutrient Anti-Stress Shield Up

So how do you get enough B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Calcium, Magnesium and Omega 3 to reduce this years holiday stress? The best way is to start by reading our book The Micronutrient Miracle and following our 3-Step Approach to Micronutrient Sufficiency. (Food, Lifestyle, & Supplementation)

Here are some tips to get you started. 

STEP 1 – FOOD FIRST:

The first thing you want to do is include foods into your diet that are highest in each of the 5 micronutrients we covered.

  • B vitamins: Green peas, pork, eggs, tuna, chicken, mushrooms, broccoli, liver, bananas, salmon, avocado, Romaine lettuce, asparagus, cheese, and mussels.
  • Vitamin C: Sweet red peppers, strawberries, oranges, grapefruits, limes, broccoli, liver, oysters, kale, snow peas, cauliflower, watermelon, cabbage and potatoes.
  • Calcium: Milk and dairy products, green leafy vegetables, sardines, sesame seeds, broccoli, legumes, nuts, bone broth, whole grains.
  • Magnesium: Oat bran, brown rice, nuts/seeds, legumes, whole wheat, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli, potato skins, bananas, milk/cheese, and fish/shellfish.
  • Omega-3: Herring/sardines, salmon, oysters, crab, rainbow trout, tuna, flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, grass fed beef, pastured eggs.

STEP 2 – LIFESTYLE:

Second, watch this video and implement at least 1 of the 5 lifestyle habits you can start today that have been shown to reduce stress.

5 Methods to Relieve Stress from calton nutrition on Vimeo.

STEP 3 – SUPPLEMENT SMART:

First upgrade your multivitamin to nutreince (which contains 100% of all the B Vitamins, Vitamin C, Magnesium and 600 mg of Calcium – we bet your multi can’t deliver that!) Learn how nutreince is different from your current multivitamin HERE.

And second, upgrade your fish oil supplement and try Origin Omega (which will give you 710 mg of EPA and 710 DHA in each daily serving! – learn how it is different HERE)

AND STAY FOCUSED ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS

Remember, the holidays are supposed to be joyous times to celebrate with family and friends. Try to enjoy them and put less stress on yourself. It is not about being perfect. It is about being perfectly you!