Don’t Let the Holidays Wreck Your Health

By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness

November 23, 2015

  • Don’t let the holidays leave you drained and bloated
  • Two tips to knock down holiday stress
  • If you can’t resist binging, try this

Okay, it’s official. Thanksgiving is just a few days away, which marks the start of the holiday season.

Over the next five or six weeks, you’ve got all sorts of shopping and partying to do. At the same time, you still have to keep regular work hours and take care of the home front. This is all very exciting, but it’s also very stressful.

And what about all those delicious foods that start showing up? It’s easy to start dipping into them – and eating much more of them than you should.

All of this stress and binging can wreck your health. And by the time January rolls around, it can leave you feeling drained and bloated.

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That’s why I recommend taking time now to craft a plan that will help you through the holidays unscathed.

Now, it’s easy to overlook stress when you’re filled with anticipation. But the effects are still there. The constant pressure to get things done puts you on edge and makes you tense.

Your body reacts by producing cortisol and other stress hormones. And guess what? That constant release of cortisol increases blood sugar. At the same time it counteracts insulin.

This can cause carbohydrate cravings. And that’s absolutely the last thing you need with so many empty carbs hanging around during the holidays. It can also add to unhealthy fat buildup in your abdomen, which contributes to holiday weight gain.

So the best thing you can do is knock down stress before it has time to gain ground.

One of my favorite stress busters is rhodiola rosea. That’s what I take when I’m under pressure. And it should be the perfect solution when it comes to easing the mental and physical exhaustion that comes from holiday burnout.

It also guards against stress-induced health problems by preventing the breakdown of important brain chemicals. If holiday stress has you off your game, I recommend taking 100 to 300 mg of a standardized supplement one to three times per day.

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Another favorite of mine is green tea. L-theanine, one of the key nutrients in tea, boosts levels of a neurotransmitter called GABA. GABA acts as a natural relaxant that works by muffling neuronal activity in the brain and soothing frazzled nerve cells.

It also has a profound effect on the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These are “feel good” hormones that produce a sense of well-being. And that can go a long way when it comes to getting through the stressful holidays.

Look for a green tea extract that’s standardized to contain a minimum of 40 percent catechins and 60 percent polyphenols.

In addition to soothing your stress levels, it’s important to protect yourself against holiday binging.

Loading up on holiday treats and foods laced with processed sugars and flours cause your blood sugar to skyrocket. That rapid increase in blood sugar forces your body to pump out insulin to deal with it.

And as I mentioned previously, your blood sugar and insulin levels are directly related to how much fat you store. If your blood sugar is constantly high, you’ll store that extra energy as fat.

But no matter how hard you try, I’ll almost guarantee your diet won’t be perfect over the next several weeks. So you’ll be glad to know there’s an easy way to help control the way your body processes sugar. Better yet, it can also help keep those pounds from creeping up.

It’s a natural compound called chlorogenic acid. It’s found in coffee and tea. And it works from two different angles…

  • First, it blocks the absorption of sugar in your intenstine.
  • Second, it stops your liver from producing glucose after a meal.

You won’t get enough by drinking regular coffee or tea, but there is a way to get these benefits.

Green coffee bean extract contains chlorogenic acids, just like regular coffee does. But the concentration is much, much higher. In fact, it contains a 270% higher concentration of chlorogenic acid than coffee.

And here’s a big bonus when it comes to this extract. In just 60 days people who consume chlorogenic acid can lose almost twice as much weight as people who drink regular coffee.

This is great news for anyone concerned about holiday weight gain. All it takes is 200 mg. twice a day before your heaviest meals.

These are just a few tips to help you survive the holidays without wrecking your health. Of course, there are other simple common sense approaches, too – such as continuing with your regular exercise, watching your alcohol intake and getting enough sleep during the holiday season.

Panossian A. Rosenroot (Rhodiola rosea): traditional use, chemical composition, pharmacology and clinical efficacy. Phytomedicine. 2010;17:481-493.

Nathan PJ, et al. The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent. J Herb Pharmacother. 2006;6(2):21-30.

Thom, E. The Effect of Chlorogenic Acid Enriched Coffee on Glucose Absorption in Healthy Volunteers and Its Effect on Body Mass. J Int Med Res. 2007 Nov-Dec;35(6):900-8.