Probiotics Can Cheer You Up This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here, and unfortunately for many of us the holidays bring unwanted stress and depression. And it’s no wonder; the holidays offer plenty of reasons to be stressed out and anxious – parties, shopping, gift wrapping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, to name a few.  

However, with some practical tips and taking probiotics, you can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays. Here are some simple ways to survive the stress of the holiday season:

  • Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect, lower your expectations just a little to make the holidays more enjoyable.
  • Be grateful and be present. Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you to handle everything you need to do.  Start your day with 5 or 10 minutes of mediation, which is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. At the end of each day, take the time to be grateful for three things; being grateful is a huge mood booster.
  • Don’t abandon healthy habits. Unhealthy food choices and overindulgences only add to your stress and guilt. Try making healthy food choices, getting plenty of sleep and incorporating regular physical activity each day.
  • Get support. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious. You don’t have to go through it alone. If stress is overwhelming you during the holidays, seek the support of a health professional.
  • Take your probiotic supplements daily. Some studies have shown that probiotics may decrease overall anxiety-related behavior, improve mood and protect against stress.

Previous studies have shown a direct correlation between gut microbes and the central nervous system. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri, using a zebrafish model, determined that probiotic doses of Lactobacillus plantarum could decrease stress-related behavior and anxiety.

In another study, researchers from the Leiden Institute of Brain and Cognition at Leiden University conducted a triple-blind randomized controlled trial of 40 healthy young adults who did not have current mood disorders. Half of the participants were given a multi-strain powdered probiotic supplement containing eight different types of bacteria, which they dissolved in water or milk and drank nightly for four weeks.   The other half of the people who did not get a probiotic took a powdered placebo, and all the participants in the study thought they were getting probiotics.

This study aimed to test if a multispecies probiotic containing Bifidobacterium bifidum, Bifidobacterium lactis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus brevis, Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus salivarius, and Lactococcus lactis may reduce cognitive reactivity in non-depressed individuals. After four weeks, people who took the probiotics reported significantly less reactivity to sad mood than the control group. The findings from this study present a potential of probiotics to serve as adjuvant or preventive therapy for depression.

Therefore, if you’re feeling blue or stressed this holiday season make sure to follow our holiday survival types above and take your probiotic supplements daily.  

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