SANTA MONICA, Calif., Dec. 22 (UPI) -- It's that frazzled time of year, but a U.S. food expert says one way to reduce holiday stress and anxiety is to choose foods with natural calming effects.
Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of the Web site supermarketguru.com, said certain combinations of foods can leave a person feeling blissful, as well as satisfied and nourished.
To naturally promote relaxation via food and drink Lempert recommends:
-- To eat turkey, which is rich in the essential amino tryptophan; and while it can make people sleepy, it also aids in the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which calms and helps regulate feelings. Production of serotonin can elevate your mood and ward off depression. Serotonin also helps promote adequate sleep.
-- Combining tryptophan-containing foods with complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, because they increase absorption and aids in the production of serotonin.
-- Eating other foods notable for their levels of tryptophan, including shrimp, spinach, chicken, tuna, soybeans, milk, salmon and eggs. Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower are also great sources.
-- Drinking chamomile tea, known to promote general relaxation, relieve stress and aid sleep.
-- Eating other foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, including walnuts, salmon, sardines, flax seed and omega-3 fortified eggs.
-- Eating zinc-rich foods such as spinach, lamb and grass-fed beef can have calming effects because they help stabilize metabolic rate, balance blood sugar and aid in the optimal function of the immune system.