Horseman’s Health: Stress and the Holidays

Stress seems to have become a part of most of our daily lives, but the holiday season does seem to bring an increase. We learn to cope most of the time with our stress from work, environmental pollutions, commuting, family and social activities. Now here come the holidays to add on traveling, shopping for gifts, overeating, visiting family with the associated tensions and expectations that can bring, getting together holiday meals and weather changes. All these help add to the everyday stress with live with.

The Stress Response
We all naturally have a fight-or-flight response. This serves as a survival instinct in danger situations. This response is automatic and changes the physiological process in our bodies.  The stress response allows us to deal with short-term threats, such as someone swerving into your traffic lane.

Steven Hall, MD says
“We have learned that stress is cumulative. Our bodies add up all the stresses we face and treat them as one. It doesn’t matter whether stresses are situational (sick children, stop-and-go traffic or an impending deadline), chemical (pesticide-laden food, toxic fumes or a heavy metal exposure), physiological (illness, overexertion or lack of sleep), or psychological (fear or grief).  If we have too many stresses at one time, when we add them up, the total is the same to our bodies as if we were staring a lion in the eye.”

The Health Effects of Stress
We hear a lot these days about how stress affects our health. One way stress is harmful to us is by causing adrenal exhaustion.  Poor adrenal function can lead to a variety of side effects including:

  • fatigue
  • headaches
  • weight gain
  • depression
  • immune problems

Stress can also be harmful to our digestive system. It causes the adrenal glands to produce the hormone cortisol which can destroy friendly bacteria in the intestines. Without enough friendly bacteria to fight off the bad bacteria, the body can develop a wide range of health problems. Chronic stress can be damaging to the stomach and intestines and can create a storage of belly fat.

Foods and Supplements to Reduce Stress


  • Parsley or celery added to salads or make a drink by juicing parsley and celery Both are strong diuretics and will increase urine flow and help flush the kidneys.
  • Apples are a cleansing food that are gentle, yet will detoxify and restore health to the kidneys and urinary system.
  • Artichoke has great phytochemicals which improve liver function and lower blood cholesterol levels.
  • Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage are all high in organic sulfur and contain a phytochemical that stimulates detoxifying enzymes in the liver and the gut.
  • Brazil nuts make a good snack as they have vital antioxidant helpers such as selenium.

Whenever you stress your body (like overeating at the buffet) or drink too much coffee or chlorinated water, you kill off the probiotics in your gut. Supplementing your diet with acidophilus, bifidus and digestive enzymes, especially during the holidays, will keep your digestion system in good working order, produce B-12 vitamins to keep you calm and happy during the holidays and keep your digestive and immune systems acting as a first line of defense against illness.

Digestive Enzymes
Enzymes will ensure that all the extra food and rich desserts you eat during the holidays will be properly digested, preventing digestive side effects like bloating, gas, diarrhea, or constipation.

Blue Green Algae
Wild-crafted blue green algae gives you chlorophyll and magnesium to aid in stress relief as well as proteins to support your body’s ability to handle stress, both physically and mentally.

CoQ10 or wheat sprouts help support your ability to fight the free radical damage that stress can cause.

So get ready to have the best holiday season ever just by making a few adjustments to your diet and supplements to naturally relieve the effects of stress.


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