The holidays can be a challenging time, nutritionally speaking. There are rich, calorie-dense foods available in abundance.
While occasionally indulging is more or less harmless, frequent treats can have an effect on your body. Many people feel tired, sluggish and lethargic after a week of fatty, salty, or sugary foods.
Fortunately, nature offers a solution: energizing herbs and spices that help you feel alert, even when you’re eating things that you wouldn’t normally consume.
Let's take a look at some of them!
Sage is a herb that you typically find in stuffing, but researchers have known for years that it’s a powerful leaf, capable of helping adults feel more energetic.
Studies show, for instance, that sage can help with alertness and mood. It also improves attention span in younger adults. Sage may also benefit motivation – the willingness that you have to actually get up and do things. As an acetylcholine inhibitor, it may also improve cognitive function.
A few years ago, everyone was putting maca into energy juicing recipes. The reason? Human studies show that it reduces anxiety, improves athletic performance and boosts energy levels.
You might not be feeling particularly athletic over the festive season, but maca should have an impact on your body nonetheless. After taking it, you may feel ready to take on the challenges of the break.
3. Gotu Kola
Ancient Chinese masters used to take gotu kola regularly. That’s because of its powerful effects on alertness and mood. Gotu kola appears to improve the way that people feel, far beyond standard greens.
The herb is a little bit like watercress. It’s extremely healthy. However, you won’t find it in fresh form if you live in the west. Instead, you can buy it powdered. The powder has the same health benefits as eating it fresh, so don’t worry.
Ashwagandha is a herb that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Now western science classifies it as an adaptogen – something that returns the body to a state of balance.
Ashwagandha, therefore, is a great herb to consume alongside a fatty or unhealthy meal. Like amla and other Ayurvedic compounds, it should control blood sugar and prevent certain foods from harming the body.
Studies show that supplementing with ashwagandha offers multiple benefits. Older people assigned to take the root powder for twelve weeks, for instance, saw improvements in sleep quality and mental alertness.
5. Rhodiola Rosea
This plant has been used for hundreds of years to reduce mental fatigue and boost brain function. Evidence suggests that it also improves performance in human and animal studies.
Physical exhaustion can occur around the holidays, simply because there is so much to do. Also used for occupational stress, this herb is great for treating burnout and helping you recover from hard work.
Lastly, rosemary is among a class of nootropics currently creating excitement in the scientific world. There’s tantalizing evidence that the Mediterranean herb can improve brain performance – one of the reasons why students are taking it before their exams. Even rosemary extract can have beneficial effects, though the whole herb is the best.