As we know, depression and mental health are incredibly prevalent and widespread issues in the world today. Clinical depression, as well as mild symptoms of depression are still on the rise. Studies show that depression is at least 20% higher in the past decade alone. Mental health around the world is worse than ever. Yet, medication is more common than ever. As a result, new problems are arising from the side effects without much long-term improvement.
There are dozens of medications that claim to treat depression, yet the problems they cause seem greater than what they fix. Why is that? Why does it seem like the modern paradigm of drug therapy is digging a deeper hole rather than fixing the problem? Should medicine come with a long list of potential side effects? Whatever happened to first do no harm?
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is something that has deeper currents than what is able to be defined verbally. In addition, there is a wide range of severity. Some people have short bouts of depression, while for others it is perpetual and ongoing. Some forms of depression will come and go because of external events, while for others it is constant no matter what. Feeling down constantly, lacking energy, changes in appetite, sleep patterns, low motivation, lacking self-value, thoughts of self-harm, feeling pressure, and more are some of the most common symptoms.
It is important to know that there are no claims being made that these will cure depression, but rather tools to help improve it. Before running to the nearest psychiatrist or doctor to get a prescription, it’s good to explore natural means. Many different spices have powerful medicinal properties that can offer great value to those with depression. Here is a list of some of the most studied spices that may be worth a try.
Saffron is a potent spice with a high price tag, but has good medicinal value. However, saffron is also one of the most knocked off spices in the world. If you can get your hands on some genuine saffron, definitely give it a try. Studies show that it affects several neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin that play a role in depression. An analysis of over 20 studies showed that saffron had positive effects on depression when compared to placebo. As a bonus, saffron may also improve certain symptoms of anxiety as seen in one study.
Dill not only tastes great, but may also help to curb minor blues and depression. The flavonoids and polyphenols impact the mind in a way that is comparable to medication. One study showed that the anagesic and antidepressant effects rivaled that of tramadol and sertraline. While it won’t cure clinical depression, the goal here is to see improvement naturally.
Although turmeric quality can vary quite a bit, pure turmeric helps to stimulate neurotransmitters that are sometimes low in depression. Furthermore, through its MAO inhibiting properties, it has the ability to help these chemicals to not be broken down as quickly. Turmeric also helps to tame inflammation, which can be high at times in the brain of those with depression.
Studies show that rosemary is is one of the best spices for the brain. It enhances circulation and may help to lower cognitive decline associated with aging. For depression, rosemary may be able to slightly lower the severity. In one study, the group that took rosemary saw an improvement from moderate to mild depression.
Although this is not a spice, it has beneficial properties for depression that combine well with the others on this list. Many people enjoy noni because it works on several pathways that help with mood balance. This includes GABA, the calming neurotransmitter, serotonin, and dopamine. These three compounds largely impact mental and emotional health. In addition, noni is a natural MAO-A & B inhibitor, which allows these important compounds to last longer in the brain before being broken down. Clinical studies highlight low levels of MAO in people with depression.
Before running to the doctor to get a script for medication, there is a treasure chest of healthy, natural items that can help. While it may take time to find the right combination, it is worth experimenting with. With the long list of side effects and lack of long-term effectiveness at times, it’s important to try other options first. You may be surprised by combing some of these spices with nutritional therapy.
Spices to Bring to Your Next Camping Trip
Everyone is a fan of delicious food. After spending all day on various outdoor activities while camping, the least you can do is prepare a delightful and flavorful meal by cooking with spices. Being outdoors should not be an excuse to eat mediocre food. Therefore, during your next camping trip, don’t forget the spices.
Salt alone cannot do the magic. However, since you want to pack light, you might not carry all your spices. Here are some essentials that can spice up your trip.
Cinnamon goes along with almost every meal. Besides making your meals in the wilderness taste better, it also has many health benefits. For instance, it has been proven to lower both cholesterol and blood sugar levels. You can add cinnamon to your yogurt or coffee in the morning or your hot apple juice after a long day for a kick.
Cayenne pepper is definitely every kitchen essential, including your camping kitchen. It comes in handy when preparing some chili for your family or friends. You can also add it to other dishes, like Mexican food.
Turmeric might not sound like an essential, especially during a camping trip. However, if you appreciate cooking with spices, you might want to bring it along with you. It goes well with beef and chicken. You can also use turmeric to spice up your freshly caught fish as well as giving your rice a pop of color. Just like cinnamon, it also has some health benefits. It helps with digestion and serves as an excellent anti-inflammatory.
Curry powder is a blend of many Indian spices, making it very rich with flavor. You can use it to prepare vegetable stews as well as meats. Since curry powder is a combination of many spices, you can ditch other spices and still achieve a bold flavor.
Since people season their food differently, you might need to experiment prior to the camping trip. That way, you will know what combination works for you and who you will be going with. Prepare a packing list so that you don’t forget the spices. Remember to pack your spices in waterproof containers.
See our varieties of spices here.
What are the Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric, in addition to being a popular spice used in many cuisines around the world, is also a staple ingredient in many supplements, as it has been scientifically proven to help with a multitude of ailments. Turmeric is derived from a chemical, Curcumin, which is a fat-soluble chemical that you can take as a daily vitamin. Turmeric is believed to help ward off dementia, relieve heart problems, and reduce general inflammation in the body. Keep reading to know the health benefits associated with turmeric and what it actually is.
How Do People Usually Ingest It?
Turmeric as a spice can be added to give flavor and an orange tinge to many savory dishes, including omelets or pasta dishes. It may also be steeped in hot water to produce a soothing, antioxidant-rich tea-like drink. The root chemical, Curcumin may be purchased at a regular supplement store, or even at some drug stores. You can take the recommended dosage (a capsule or two) with a full meal, as this chemical is fat-soluble, so just taking it with water will not do much for you.
Where is Turmeric Usually Found?
Those who love their food to be brightly colored and packing a ton of flavor probably know that turmeric is a spice that originated in India. It is a staple of the cuisine in that part of the world, and wild turmeric grows on plantations along the mainland of India and several Indian Ocean islands. It was in Indian medicine that turmeric made its emergence and people began to really learn what it is and its great health benefits. They saw that tea made from steeping the spice resulted in greater health and vitality.
With an Indian restaurant in just about every community, you have every reason to ask “What is turmeric?” Once you realize how it can be used to add color, flavor and a few health benefits to every meal, you will be sure to keep it in your kitchen. Add turmeric to your favorite dishes or brew some tea and see how this antioxidant and anti-inflammatory spice can help you.
See our Turmeric here.
Are you a vegan cook? Here are all the must-have spices for vegan cooking!
Spices For Vegan Cooking
Tumeric has a slightly peppery, ginger flavor. You can use it fresh or in the most common form, powder. It’s mainly used in Thai and Indian dishes. It has health benefits too like fighting inflammation.
Cinnamon is used in many different types of dessert dishes especially in fall and winter ones. It’s great to pair with sweeter foods like fruits, but it also adds flavor to teas and even bread. It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help stabilize blood sugars as well.
3. Red Pepper Flakes
Red Pepper Flakes are commonly used in Spanish and Italian dishes and are known for their extra kick of spice. They are full of antioxidants, help with suppressing appetite, boost your metabolism, and help in inflammation.
Cumin is extremely popular when it comes to spices for vegan cooking. It has an earthy flavor and is used commonly in Mexican, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes. It has health benefits like being a source of iron, magnesium, and helps with digestion.
Garlic may be a basic ingredient for cooking, but it adds a ton of flavor to any dish. You can mince it fresh from cloves or use the powder. It has tons of health benefits beginning with vitamins, helping with colds, and reducing blood pressure.
As you can see, adding these must-have spices to your dishes will improve on any recipe and even gives you some added health bonuses. Hopefully, this list helps you when you make your next trip to the grocery store and you will have an idea of what spice to buy based on the dish you are making. For more information check out this video.