Experts weigh in on stress, those extra holiday pounds, and avoiding the sniffles.

There are ways to settle your nerves so you can enjoy the holiday season without feeling so overwhelmed.

Is it really time for the holidays… ALREADY?! Didn’t you just finish paying off the bills from last year? The race is on to find the perfect gifts and squeeze more activities into your already hectic schedule. Before you feel yourself spiraling out of control, consider why you should take steps to manage the extra stress.

Stress can contribute to fatigue and depression. It may cause you to want to snack more often, which can make your favorite clothes fit a little tighter. Too much stress can also lower your immune system’s response, making you more vulnerable to colds and the flu.

The easiest way to relax and stay focused on everything on your agenda You might wish you had time to add an extra yoga class to your schedule, but the reality is that your time is probably stretched to the max right now. So here’s something you can try on the go.

Green tea has been used for centuries in Asia for its many benefits including its ability to relax the mind and body. “Research has demonstrated that the active component found in the leaves of green tea, the amino acid L-theanine, induces relaxation without drowsiness,” says Michael Lyon, BSc, MD. “That’s why the pure form of L-theanine produced via a patented enzymatic process, called Suntheanine, is a popular addition to supplements, beverages and foods because it promotes relaxation and improves focus.”

He explains that Suntheanine stimulates production of the alpha brain waves, a state often achieved by meditation where one is deeply relaxed and mentally alert. Its effects are generally felt within 30 minutes and have been shown to last up to 8-12 hours.

Put the brakes on holiday weight gain

“Suntheanine may also be useful if you need help managing your weight,” adds Dr. Lyon, “because it helps you feel more balanced so you have less inclination towards emotional eating.”

Board Certified Family Medicine Physician Dr. Cathleen London agrees that Suntheanine may help you avoid packing on the extra pounds this season. “You eat because you have cravings. You have cravings because you are stressed and moody,” says Dr. London. “It’s a viscous cycle. These are real physical symptoms that originate in the brain. This is the whole mind-body connection. L-theanine has been shown to help stabilize the mood swings. It helps to keep you calm, focused and mentally alert.”

Find more energy to hit the shopping malls

“I tell people Suntheanine will also give you ‘calm energy,’ adds Dr. London. “It can be used for that boost you might need later in the day – after work when you have a party to attend or you need to fight the mall crowds – without having to resort to caffeine, which can give you the jitters and interfere with your ability to sleep when you do finally get to crawl into bed.”

Fight pesky germs from the inside out

The holidays are just not a good time to get sick, but the added stress can make you more vulnerable to germs. “L-theanine is a significant immune booster,” confirms Jack F. Bukowski, MD, PhD who has conducted human clinical trials using Suntheanine. “It may help you avoid everything from the common cold to more serious infections and diseases. Which is why, in addition to exercise and a healthy diet, you may want to consider adding green tea compounds to your daily regimen.”

Stay relaxed all day – and all night

Pharmacist, fitness instructor and author Sherry Torkos advises that Suntheanine can be taken several times throughout the day as needed for stress or before bedtime to promote relaxation and better sleep. “It helps people to clear their minds so that they can fall asleep more easily instead of laying there recapping their day,” she says. “Plus it improves the quality of sleep without risking the kind of morning grogginess that is so typical of prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids.”

It’s easy to make this calming ingredient part of your holiday stress-reducing routine. See for a complete list of products that contain Suntheanine such as calming beverages offered by VitaminWater, SoBe, Zenmaster, Blue Cow and healthy supplements by Natural Factors, Enzymatic Therapy and others.

Why not just brew a cup of green tea few times a day? You’d have to drink approximately 20 cups of green tea to equal one dosage of Suntheanine. Who wants to consume THAT much liquid?! Find additional study and product information at

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