Discover how celery could save your Christmas

  • Find out how you can boost your happiness this year
  • This is why I must say ‘nuts to you all!’
  • A much maligned favourite that can really help your day

At this time of year I usually do my ‘best of’ selection.

I seek out my favourite natural health tips from a year’s worth of Good Life Letters and compile them into a festive issue.

But this year I’m doing it slightly differently.

What with the constantly depressing health news… doom and gloom in the press… Brexit… reminders of economic disaster, economic mismanagement, scandal and recession… I’m worried that my merry band of readers could be a little depressed.

Plus with this week’s plans having been thrown into chaos with the new tiers and restrictions it is no wonder faces are a little glum.

Add this to the usual Christmas stress and you’ve got a heady brew of worry to drink down with your roast dinner.

So I thought I’d find some of the best stress relieving, mood enhancing tips… and offer them up as a stocking filler for you.

Here we go….

Five natural aids for stress relief

  • Up your intake of B vitamins, especially B6, B3 and B12. They help regulate the body’s response to stress and maintain a healthy nervous system.
  • Calcium, magnesium and zinc as well and vitamin C supplements can help calm the nervous system and so help treat insomnia.
  • Valerian is well-known as a natural sleep aid and sedative. Recent trials have found it can work as well as drugs like Valium, without the side-effects. Also look out for herb extracts such as Lemon Balm, Chamomile and Verbena which have amazing soothing effects (more of these in the New Year.)
  • Chaste Tree is a herb that is said to increase your body’s natural production of melatonin. This is the hormone that helps you have a more restful sleep.
  • L-theanine, an amino acid derived from Green Tea, reduces anxiety. Some people report that it works as well as prescription medications, without being addictive or habit-forming.

The top 5 nuts for fighting depression, heart disease and bad cholesterol

It’s well worth considering nuts as a healthy and tasty part of your diet. Or to seek out alternatives if you’re allergic.

Nuts are now seen as a powerful way to control cholesterol. Here’s what CBC News in the USA reported in October last year. Nuts in general contain as much as 80 per cent fat. However, the type of fat found in nuts is unsaturated fat – specifically monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat.

Both of these unsaturated fats are known for their ability to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels that your GP gets worried about, when consumed in moderation.

In the same month a survey examined the diets of more than 31,000 middle aged individuals.

It found that those who ate nuts more than four times per week experienced 51% fewer heart attacks compared to those who ate nuts less than once per week.

Here’s a quick rundown of the top 5….

  • Pistachios – can produce a 10 point drop in your triglycerides and a 16 point decline in your LDL cholesterol levels, according to the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
  • Walnuts – Contains omega 3s which may help ward off depression and heart attack, according to Harvard research.
  • Brazil nuts – contain selenium, a mineral linked to prostate cancer protection, according to scientists at the University of Arizona.
  • Pecans – have the most antioxidants of any nut. Could help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Hazelnuts – a handful daily boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels by 12 percent, according to a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. HDL is a large package of cholesterol which cleans out the blood vessels as it passes through, which is a really good thing.

How celery can relieve in insomnia

It’s strange but true: celery has been shown to have a calming effect on the central nervous system. In fact, celery seed is often used as a herbal remedy for nervousness, insomnia and anxiety.

So if you’re suffering sleepless nights, try this:

User a juicer to extract the celery juice. Now mix it with your favourite fruit juice to create a tasty drink. Add some Manuka honey to sweeten. The honey will also help you sleep.

Sip this half an hour before you go to bed. It should help you relax and get to the land of nod before you can say ‘I can’t believe I’ve just drunk a nightcap of celery!’

Some early studies on animals are also linking celery to low blood pressure.

Why could this be?

Well, celery contains ‘pthalides’, compounds which could not only give you a good Scrabble score, but which help relax your artery muscles. With more room in the arteries, the blood can flow at a lower pressure.

The same compounds also reduce your levels of stress hormone, which also help keep your blood vessels relaxed and open. It’s still early days for this research, but there’s no harm in trying to add some celery to your diet.

Could coffee be an answer to your bad mood?

As you know, I’m a fan of coffee, and dislike the general bad press it gets.

Years ago it was an evil as bad as nicotine, causing headaches, mood swings, bad breath, heart palpitations and stress.

Yet as a regular Good Life reader, you’ll know that there’s mounting evidence in support of our old friend.

The caffeine in coffee is said to lower your risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, headaches and even tooth cavities.

It stimulates your brain and – yes – can RELIEVE mood problems. Studies have shown that caffeine can improve your attention span and boost brainpower.

So your morning cup of coffee not only helps wake you up, and tastes bloomin’ marvellous, but it has health benefits too.

I’m not suggesting for a minute that it’s a new health drink, to be guzzled wantonly throughout the day. I’m merely saying that a little bit of what you fancy can be good for you.

In a way, that’s the motto of The Good Life Letter!