Holiday Stress Kicking In and What To Do by Dr. Sara Detox Toronto Naturopath
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Naturopathic Strategies for Stress and Anxiety

Stress and anxiety may cause clammy hands, rapid heart rate, and trouble sleeping.

Do you struggle with these symptoms?

Do you often feel overwhelmed?

High levels of anxiety for long periods of time can impact your health in many ways.

Anthropologists believe that what used to be a positive “fight or flight” response no longer is. When our ancestors were hunting game in the wilderness, the stress response was helpful. But today, chronic stress is wearing us down.

Stress and anxiety are growing issues in North America.

Anywhere between a fifth and a fourth of the population may suffer from anxiety or depression. Most importantly, this number is increasing each year.

Stress increases cortisol. It can cause weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. Therefore, high cortisol levels should not be ignored.

If you’re looking for simple ways to manage stress …

I’ve got some great suggestions:

1. Meditate

Meditation is a powerful tool that Buddhist monks have been practicing for years.

Western medicine appreciates the positive impact that meditation can have on an individual’s health and well-being – lowering blood pressure, decreasing feelings of anxiety, and reducing depression.

Researchers are discovering that meditation works to re-train the brain. It allows thought patterns to change.

One study was published in The Journal of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.

Virtually all persons participating in this study at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital reported decreased anxiety after meditation.

“Although we’ve known that meditation can reduce anxiety, we hadn’t identified the specific brain mechanisms involved in relieving anxiety in healthy individuals,” said Fadel Zeidan, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow in neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author of the study.

“In this study, we were able to see which areas of the brain were activated and which were deactivated during meditation-related anxiety relief.”

2. Exercise

It does more than just improve physical fitness. Exercise lowers inflammation, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, and eases anxiety and depression.

Anxiety that causes insomnia may improve with physical activity.

Avoid working out intensely in the late evening as this may be over-stimulating. In other words, it may lead to poor quality sleep.

3. Magnesium & Tryptophan

Consuming foods that are rich in magnesium is a good idea. You may also want to take magnesium in supplement form to reduce anxiety.

Dark leafy greens, nuts/seeds, dark chocolate, bananas, seaweed, and oatmeal are great sources of magnesium.

Foods high in tryptophan are also a wonderful staple in the diet.

The body converts tryptophan into serotonin and tryptophan-rich foods can help in elevating mood.

Choose from the following healthy food options:

  • Protein-rich foods – turkey, chicken, deep-water fish, and organic eggs
  • Non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) soy products – soy milk, tofu, or soybeans
  • Legumes – lentils, blackbeans, and chickpeas
  • Nuts and seeds – almonds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds
  • Fruits – mangos and dates
  • Vegetables – beets
  • Whole Grains – oats and brown rice

4. St. John’s Wort or Passionflower Extract

Naturopathic Doctors recommend St. John’s Wort or Passionflower Extract to calm the nervous system.

These herbs are helpful for depression and anxiety.

Speak to a healthcare professional for appropriate dosing and to ensure these herbs do not interfere with medication that you may be taking.

Also note that light-headedness and drowsiness are possible side effects.

Extracts like kava kava can help with anxiety. However, they are banned in certain countries due to increased risk of organ damage.

Finally, a lot of people have this idea that being stressed is normal. While chronic stress may be common, it isn’t healthy.

You decide to slow down.

You decide to rest.

And you decide that YOUR health comes first.

Dr. Sara Celik
Dr. Sara Celik is a Canadian licensed Naturopathic Doctor with 15+ years of experience serving patients in Ontario. She is a sought-after speaker and passionate leader in the Health & Wellness industry carrying a wealth of experience in the field of women's health and fertility.

Dr. Sara has appeared on multiple radio shows/podcasts, the W Network, Breakfast Television and CP24. For almost 5 years, she worked as the National Spokesperson for a well-known digestive wellness brand, educating across the globe on gut health. Dr. Sara has been named a rising star in Canada receiving the Generation Next award for her outstanding contribution to shaping the future of Canada’s grocery industry. She frequently contributes to large publications and has been published in Best Health Magazine, The Globe and Mail, Sweat Equity, Grocery Business, Inside Fitness, Canadian Living, Elevate, HELLO, and ELLE Canada.

Dr. Sara’s approach to healthcare is not as easy as taking a pill. The “quick-fix” approach is not one she subscribes to. While there’s a pill for just about everything, rarely do prescription drugs stop the course of disease - they merely mask symptoms. Dr. Sara believes true health requires a commitment from both the doctor and the patient.

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