Whilst Christmas is often filled with festive fun, a hectic schedule coupled with colder weather often leaves us feeling tired, stressed or unwell. Luckily, many of our favourite Christmas spices contain health-boosting properties to help to nourish, support and protect us from being worn out during the colder months. Pukka Herb’s in-house Medical Herbalist, Katie Pande, shares her favourite festive spices to see us through the winter:
Full of sweet and stimulating essential oils, this quintessential Christmas spice helps to strengthen nutritional absorption, balance blood sugar levels, stimulate digestion and boost metabolism; all of which contribute to achieving a healthy, balanced weight. Cinnamon is also a delicious addition to baked good and warm wintery drinks, such as mulled wine.
A wonderfully warming spice, ginger is renowned for helping to stoke your inner fire. It aids digestion and boosts metabolism, providing comfort and support after an overindulgent festive season. Ginger also helps to boost blood flow to the joints and muscles, easing the aches and pains associated with cold weather. What’s more, it can soothe a sore throat and effectively clear sinuses if you’re suffering from a Christmas cold.
Cardamom is a classic Christmas spice and is deliciously aromatic. As well as helping to relieve flatulence and indigestion (which relieves abdominal pain and bloating) cardamom stimulates the metabolic and digestive processes. It also works as an effective decongestant, removing mucous from the digestive and respiratory tracts.
Many people like to indulge in the illustrious cocoa bean over Christmas. Unlike milk chocolate, which contains high levels of sugar, cocoa is said to regulate and improve your mood by boosting levels of serotonin, the ‘happy hormone’. It also contains theobromine, which is proven to help lower blood pressure and improve cognitive function. Interestingly, women are more receptive to theobromine than men, which may explain why women crave chocolate more than men. Cocoa is also naturally high in antioxidants which help fight off harmful free radicals that otherwise cause damage in the body.
To learn more about the health benefits of spices, or to try Pukka Herb’s new healthy spiced latte range, visit www.pukkaherbs.com