Top 5 Holiday Brain Food Swaps

How can you stay even during the holidays? The right food choices help you best cope with the stressors of crowded airports, large family get-togethers, and boozy holiday parties. Here are some of my top swaps to keep your Ho-Ho-Ho free of boo-hoo-hoo.

Dark Chocolate

We all love it. Your brain craves another hit of the dark stuff for a good reason; the naturally stimulating compounds in the fruit of the cacao boost mood, focus, and energy. Instead of cookies, candies, or cakes, focus your sweet tooth on nuts and fruit dipped in dark chocolate.

Drink Brain Tonics

Festive holidays can easily mean too much drinking. Help keep you holiday cheer by swapping harder alcohol for something light and full of health like a Kale Campari Slushy made with dark cherries, kale, and campari. Also try some festive non-alcoholic concoctions. Before bed have a cup of hot chamomile or skullcap tea.

Center on Seafood

Bored with traditional holiday fare? If you don’t feel like a roast and or ham, mix it up this holiday season by focusing on seafood. From a side of salmon to seafood paella, seafood is the best source of the most critical brain nutrients such as long-chained omega-3 fats, iodine, and vitamin B12. When selecting seafood I have three rules: generally pick wild fish, go low on the food chain, and eat in season.  Get to know your fish monger or see Monterey Aquarium’s Seafood Watch for more info. Seafood is #brainfood.

Real Sweet Potatoes

The naturally sweet and healthy sweet potato is one of nature’s top sources of beta-carotene, which is linked to improved brain health as you age. Grill ‘em or make a simple gratin by slicing them thinly (use a mandolin), layering with some local grass-fed cheese and baking covered for 45 minutes at 375.

Ham Swap

A centerpiece of holiday fair for many is a Ham. This year do it right and use local, pasture raised pork. You’ll avoid excess salt, additives, and even gluten that are found in conventional hams and you’ll bring more flavor to the table.

Breathe Deeply. Give great gifts. Eat with joy.

Happy Holidays!

About the Author

DrewRamsey Author Photo resizedDrew Ramsey, MD is a physician, author, and farmer. He shares his expertise in food, brain health, and wellness. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and co-author of 50 Shades of Kale and The Happiness Diet: A nutritional prescription for a balanced mood, sharp brain and lean, energized body.  For more: http://www.drewramseymd.com/ @DrewRamseyMD
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