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We have reached that time of year where there are lots of parties and reunions and our emotions are slightly altered. This is why, in most cases, eating habits these days become more permissive and alcohol and junk food are abused in the form of processed foods and dishes with high percentages of sugars, refined flours and saturated fat. .

Believe it or not, this type of food not only affects your physical body (bloating, weight gain, cholesterol…), but it also affects your mood.

How? You may have even experienced it firsthand. At some point we have all feasted on cold cuts, fries, sauces, alcohol, chocolate ice cream … At first these foods can give an apparent feeling of “high”, but later the aftertaste of irritability, nervousness, insomnia, fatigue or sadness, hits us. There are studies that confirm excessive consumption of these products being linked to depression and anxiety. 

My tips for maintaining physical and emotional balance during the Christmas holidays

Avoid alcohol. Its excessive consumption is related to depression and low moods. In addition to long term effects such as damage to the liver, brain, dehydration, stomach cancer, loss of muscle mass … I have been toasting non-alcoholic cocktails like this one with lemon for years, which I love.receta de sorbete de limón

Avoid sugar. These foods produce too much insulin and then our bodies face a drop in blood sugar levels. Sugar consumption is related to chronic inflammation and, as a consequence, weakens the immune system. Eliminating sugar from the diet does not only mean leaving out sugar in coffee but also reading the labels of everything: fried tomato, cookies, pastries, processed foods … Many foods have hidden sugar.

Bet on fatty foods rich in Omega 3. Blue fish, nuts, flax seeds, avocado … they all have in common that they are rich in these essential fatty acids. Its consumption is related to emotional and mental stability. My advice is that you always carry a super energy bar in your bag, my favorite is, without a doubt, the Natruly’s Crunchy bar.

Increase consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. On days when we eat enough servings of this food group, we not only feel more energetic, but also more relaxed and happier. I like to eat bananas since they are beneficial for the nervous system. Also a top pick for green leafy vegetables is spinach, rich in magnesium and great for eliminating muscle tension.

Cocoa. It is important to differentiate between natural cocoa and processed chocolates. While traditional chocolate is associated with obesity, depression, and anxiety; natural cocoa does just the opposite: it is rich in phenylethylamine, a substance that promotes the release of endorphins, responsible for feelings of happiness and pleasure. A new study by University College London, the University of Calgary and the Canadian Alberta health authority shows that this food can reduce the risk of depression up to four times.

I consume cocoa every day and I want to take advantage of these to tell you what are the products that I have not separated from in recent months. The Cocoa and Hazelnut Cream, since it came on the market a couple of months ago, I eat it with everything: toast, yogurt, smoothies, porridge, açai bowl … I love that the flavor is very traditional and, of course, there is not a trace of sugar or sweeteners.

More iron and amino acids. Iron favors the formation of hemoglobin and the transport of oxygen, preventing anemia, brain fatigue and irritability; amino acids help balance neurotransmitters and reduce fear, anxiety and panic and stress attacks. Meat and eggs are my two go-tos for foods rich in these two components.

Do sport. I encourage you to take time (at least 30 minutes a day) to move. Physical activity brings happiness thanks to the increase in hormones responsible for making us feel better about ourselves, less stressed and less anxious

Sunbathing: Many studies have proven that the lack of light so characteristic of this time of year drops serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system that is associated with happiness. Going for a walk during the middle hours of the day to enjoy a dose of sun is a great idea to recharge your batteries.

We want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy Christmas and Holiday season.

Niklas Gustafson
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Niklas Gustafson

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