Many of us experience the winter blues… the time of year when the days are short and energy levels are low. For my patients, I prescribe the following 7 ingredients to help give them a daily boost during these difficult days. I’ll share with you my favorite tea that I drink throughout winter (see below). Or if you prefer, you can also find these mood enhancers in my favorite Pressed Juicery products.
Cacao (Chocolate Almond): Cacao beans are among the richest natural source of antioxidant polyphenols that together with its high content of magnesium improves blood flow to our brain and provides increased focus and concentration. Cacao beans also contain the chemical anandamide that is similar in composition to marijuana’s THC and may account for the euphoric mood that is commonly experienced.
Cardamom (Spiced Almond): This mood elevating spice contains cineole, a powerful anti-inflammatory compound. Cardamom can lower heart rate and blood pressure but is also a mood enhancer. In a study of cigarette smokers trying to kick the habit, chewing gum flavored with cardamom reduced the anxiety and depression caused by cigarette withdrawal.
Cinnamon (Coconut Cinnamon): Cinnamon is one of my favorite recommendations to patients. In addition to lowering cholesterol, triglycerides and helping to regulate blood glucose levels, cinnamon also boosts memory and alertness. Without question, it will reduce irritability and put you in a better mood.
Cayenne (Greens 4): contains the powerful anti-inflammatory/antioxidant, capsaicin that not only enhances fat burning but also has an appetite suppressant effect. Another very cool and recently discovered property is cayenne’s protection against aging and age related diseases. It is one of the most powerful endorphin releasers and will energize you during the winter doldrums.
Ginger (Roots 3): Exciting research shows that ginger inhibits growth and buildup of proteins that cause Alzheimer’s Disease. Ginger’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties also reduce menstrual cramps, arthritic pain and migraines. By increasing levels of brain neurotransmitters, serotonin and dopamine, ginger is also among the best natural sources for an uplifting mood.
Turmeric (Fruits): Turmeric is the new kale. It contains curcumin, one of nature’s most powerful antioxidant/anti-inflammatory compounds that fights cancer, improves vascular health and regulates blood glucose levels. Turmeric has also been shown to reduce episodes of depression and may play a role in degenerative brain disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease.
Vanilla bean (Matcha & Hemp): The chemical vanilloid (similar to capsaicin) has antioxidant/anti-inflammatory properties that may slow cellular aging. Like cacao, the vanilla bean is also an aphrodisiac that enhances arousal and mood and a recent study found that it reduces anxiety and claustrophobia.
Winter Sun Turmeric Tea: I keep a jar of the paste on my desk and just add hot water, lemon and sometimes ginger or cayenne pepper. Could not be easier!
Make a paste using 1/3 cup of honey and 1-1/2 teaspoons of dried turmeric. Give a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper and stir to combine. To make the tea, take 1 teaspoon of the paste and place in mug. Pour hot water over and a squeeze of lemon. (If you want extra heat, add 1/8th teaspoon of cayenne pepper).
This blog was originally posted to The Chalkboard on Friday Jan 13, 2017