Healthy Holidays, Here We Come!

When things get busy this season, make sure you’re taking care of you—so you can be ready for anything the holidays throw at you! We spoke with Dr. Bryant Esquejo, naturopathic doctor at our Brentwood, Calif. store, about ways to stay calm, focused and energized so that you can enjoy the spirit of the season.

Be less stressed

“My first recommendation for stress support is ashwagandha, as long as you’re not on any medications that are contraindicated for that,” says Dr. Bryant. “It’s one of my go-tos for adrenal fatigue…take it once a day and you’ll be cruising through the holidays!” He recommends capsules from Himalaya, or the liquid tincture from Gaia Herbs (which tends to work faster).

Magnesium is next on the list. “I recommend it every night to help relieve stress, encourage better sleep and support cardiovascular health.” Try magnesium glycinate products from Pure Encapsulations or Kal; if you’d prefer a drinkable version, try Natural Vitality Calm.

Finally, Dr. Bryant says, “I’m really big on meditation. If you can’t sit down and meditate, just go for a walk or a hike. Even just 15 minutes of exercise a day can be really helpful.”

Have more energy

“I turn to vitamins first, and vitamin B12 is my go-to,” Dr. Bryant says. There are a variety of types, but he recommends methylcobalamin for its bioavailability. “Jarrow Formulas Methyl B-12 is a tasty lozenge—just let it dissolve under your tongue. Or try Pharmaca brand liquid B12.” Ideally you’d take it in the morning, he adds, since taking it later can give you too much energy and keep you awake at night.

For more substantial support, try Eleuthero Root from Gaia Herbs. “Take one serving in the morning to help boost energy levels and wake up,” he says. And if you’re really fatigued, you can combine eleuthero with B12 for maximum energy. And of course, regular exercise and meditation can help with sustained energy as well.

Stay focused

There are several nutrients that can help boost cognitive function (and help you get everything on that holiday list accomplished!). “Acetyl-L-Carnitine from Natural Factors is great because it increases the function of neurotransmitters so you can focus.” Natural Stacks Acetylcholine Brain Food also helps you focus, he adds, as does their Ciltep product. “I’m obsessed with it! It helps you remember things really well.”

DHA from fish oil also helps with cognitive function, says Dr. Bryant, and lion’s mane is a medicinal mushroom that’s known for mental support (try it from Host Defense).

Ultimately, keeping stress in check will go a long way toward supporting all of these issues. “When you’re stressed out, it impacts how well you think and how well you sleep, and sleep is a big factor in brain health. So practice good sleep hygiene! Make sure your phone is on night mode so the blue light doesn’t keep you up.”