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Eating the Right Foods to Relax

By Donna Kostiew

The stress of the holiday season is starting to creep up on many people I know. I have already been pulled into conversations about menu planning, house cleaning, house decorating, vacations, gift buying, school activities, doctor appointments … this is the best time of the year, but in the same breath, can be the worst for our stress levels and our sanity.

I would like to tell everyone to just relax, but those words will never be uttered out of my mouth during the time between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. I’m smarter than that … plus, nobody wants to hear somebody telling them what to do when they have a million things to check off on their to-do list. So instead, I am just going to suggest some foods that, in one way or another, seem to help our bodies relax naturally.


Milk contains the protein tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin. Higher levels of serotonin improve your mood and aid in relaxation which may help to draw you into a deeper sleep at night. The calcium and magnesium that is also found in milk help to lower blood pressure, which can improve the quality of sleep you receive as well.

Cherry juice

Although the effects won’t be felt immediately, having one ounce of tart cherry juice twice a day can help improve the quality of your sleep. Better sleep = better days. When you get the rest you need, you are able to stay calm and manage your stress throughout the next day much better than without.


Oatmeal enhances the absorption of tryptophan, which we know is converted to serotonin and helps the body to relax. Oatmeal can also be high in melatonin, which helps to induce and support a good night’s sleep, and Vitamin B6, which is an anti-stress vitamin. To get even more soothing effects from your bowl of oats, add some proteins such as nuts, seeds or dark chocolate.


Bananas are loaded with potassium and magnesium which are natural muscle relaxants. When your muscles start to relax, the rest of your body typically follows suit. Bananas also contain that magical protein, tryptophan.

Homemade Soup

There is nothing like a piping hot bowl of your mother’s award-winning soup at the end of a stressful day. Or even during the middle of the day, if you haven’t yet made it to lunch and your nerves are already shot. Soup always seems to make everything right though. It gives us a moment to pause. And if you fill it with lots of healthy vegetables that are high in vitamins and nutritional value as well, you will be improving your well-being at the same time.

Let’s not let stress get the best of us during the end of the year. Besides, nobody really likes to see the raging grocery store shopper at 9:00 in the morning.

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Houston, Tex.

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