8 drinks that calm

Published January 19, 2014

| Men's Health

The holidays are a time to indulge—in food, family, gifts, and yes, drinks. But running around on sugary, boozy beverages won't leave you running very long. Too much merriment—wine, cocktails, and eggnog galore—will eventually bring you down, crashing energy levels and cutting into your sleep, says Jim White, the owner of Jim White Fitness & Nutrition Studios in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Sip what you may, but don’t fall victim to holiday cocktails. In fact, know this: If you imbibe the right beverages, you’ll see the opposite effect—a relaxing, de-stressing result. Here are eight calming drinks to try in your downtime—options that will keep you from flying off the handle.

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Green tea

This powerful drink contains a brain-relaxing compound called theanine to reduce anxiety, says White.

Valerian

This medicinal herb—often found in bedtime tea blends—has been credited with reducing nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia.

Cherry juice

It won’t relax you on the spot, but research shows that one ounce of tart cherry juice twice a day can help improve the duration and quality of your sleep. Adequate sleep helps you stay calm and manage stress during the day.

Black tea

Drinking black tea for six weeks lowered men’s post-stress cortisol levels, according to a 2007 study. Sipping it at night? Choose decaf. 

Learn how to stoke metabolism with foods found in your kitchen. Check out these 5 Food Swaps for a Better Burn.

Milk

Milk packs tryptophan—an amino acid that’s converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Elevated levels of serotonin improve your mood, which can keep you calm. Plus, calcium and magnesium help lower blood pressure. Warm milk can be even more calming since the temp exerts a soothing effect like hot tea. But if you only like it cold, you’ll still reap the benefits.

Chamomile

Yep, another tea with relaxation benefits. The herb has glycine, an amino acid that relaxes nerves and acts as a mild sedative, notes White.

Water

Water releases endorphins throughout your body. “These chemicals improve your mood and sense of well-being, which can be a diversion from stress and anxiety,” says White.

Try a combination of the following blues-busting strategies, and your life view can brighten up in no time.

Fresh veggie juice

Adding produce like celery, kale, and spinach will give you the calcium and magnesium to reduce blood pressure, plus a ton of vitamin C—one cup of kale packs more than 100 percent of your daily value—which helps control your body’s response to stress.

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