For many of us, a cup of coffee is exactly what we need to start our day on the right foot. Especially during the colder months. Sipping a comforting drink out of your favourite mug is a feeling like no other, but feeling stress or anxiety is anything but comforting.
With unforeseen changes to routines and growing lists of responsibilities, it’s no wonder why many people are feeling increased levels of anxiety in their day-to-day.
Anxiety disorder has become one of the most common psychiatric disorders among adults and teenagers. So much so that 3 million Canadians are affected by anxiety each year. We covered the basics about coping with an anxiety disorder in this previous blog.
To ease your stress and relieve your anxiety, we gathered the best (and most delicious) hot drink recipes to wind down with this season. Grab your favourite mug and keep on reading!
HOLY BASIL (Tulsi) - Ocimum sanctum
Holy basil is a beautiful herb that has been used for centuries to treat stress and anxiety. It has numerous beneficial properties which are being antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and adaptogenic.
Because of these unique properties, Ocimum sanctum is known as “Mother Medicine of Nature”, “The Queen of Herbs,” and is revered as an “elixir of life”.
Modern studies reinforce its therapeutic effect on neurocognition, and its traditional use of effective treatment for lifestyle-related psychological stress. From this research, it suggests that using holy basil can be an excellent natural way to improve your stress symptoms.
Holy basil has both edible leaves (dried or fresh) and flowers. It is different than regular basil since it is commonly used for its medicinal properties – like in our recipe below.
Holy Basil Tea
This comforting flavour combination packs the right amount of zest.
Ingredients: Fresh holy basil leaves, water, honey, lemon juice
Instructions: Bring 1 cup of water and 2 - 3 fresh holy basil leaves to a boil in a saucepan. After 3 minutes, strain into a glass or mug. Stir in 1 teaspoon of honey and ½ teaspoon of lemon juice to taste. Serve hot.
LAVENDER - Lavandula angustifolia
Lavender has been used for centuries for its anxiolytic and calming properties. It's also one of the most well-loved fragrances in the world!
Lavender flowers give a subtle and aromatic flavour when used in hot drinks that boosts your overall health, improves sleep, reduces inflammation, and aids in digestive health. Digestive issues are more common than you might think, and a soothing tea is just the beginning of ways you can relieve your symptoms.
Recently, clinical trials have substantiated lavender consumption for safe and effective treatment of anxiety, depression, restlessness, agitation, and disturbed sleep.
Although it contains more than 160 different chemical compounds, the active anxiolytic compounds are linalool and linalyl acetate which are present in its oil. If you are going to ingest it, be sure to use food-grade lavender oils or petals to avoid pesticides.
Cozy Lavender Tea
This fragrant, relaxing tea is the perfect drink to have before bed or to unwind after a long day.
Ingredients: Dried lavender flower, water, honey or brown sugar (optional)
Instructions: Steep 1/2 teaspoon of dried lavender flower buds in water for 5-7 minutes. Add honey or brown sugar for sweetness if desired.
Quick tip: This herbal drink is naturally caffeine and calorie-free, so you can sip completely guilt free. We recommend against adding more than half a teaspoon of lavender floral buds so the taste isn’t overpowering.
TURMERIC - Curcuma longa
Turmeric spice comes from the root (or rhizome) of the plant. Many people know of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, but recent research has proven that turmeric can also prevent anxiety-like symptoms.
Research has further demonstrated that turmeric can help the body battle against fatigue during exposure to chronic social stress, which is a well-known risk factor for the development of mood and anxiety disorders.
Turmeric protects the brain and increases the production of serotonin levels – the neurotransmitters that make us feel happy. It helps us to develop a better mental outlook and a healthier physiological response to stress.
The active ingredients in turmeric are called curcuminoids (collectively known as curcumin) which are, unfortunately, very hard to absorb. The good news is that black pepper contains an ingredient (piperine) that increases curcumin absorption by 200%.
Turmeric Hot Chocolate
This sweet treat will take your hot chocolate to the next level thanks to stress-busting benefits of turmeric.
Ingredients: 1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk, 2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder, 2 teaspoons of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 teaspoons of turmeric, a pinch of black pepper
Instructions: Whisk all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Continue whisking for 3 minutes. You can also blend the ingredients to make your hot chocolate extra frothy!
Enjoy this simple tea recipe with a splash of coconut milk to make it extra creamy.
Ingredients: Turmeric powder, water, honey (optional), coconut milk or oil (optional), black pepper (optional)
Instructions: Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of grated turmeric to 4 cups of boiling water. Allow the mixture to heat on sim for 10 minutes. Strain the tea and allow it to cool.
Quick tip: try adding the following ingredients for an extra kick!
- Honey to sweeten and add more antimicrobial properties.
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil or coconut milk as turmeric needs healthy fats to dissolve properly.
- Black pepper to further to enhance its absorption and add a spicy tangy flavour to the tea.
For hot drink lovers who enjoy green tea but want to keep a handle on anxiety, matcha is a great option. If you deal with social anxiety but want a boost of energy, look no further! It can be purchased in powder form and used in all kinds of recipes for an earthy green tea flavour.
Matcha can help with anxiety because it contains an amino acid called L-theanine. It slows the racing mind by lowering the level of excitatory brain chemicals linked to stress and anxiety.
In electroencephalograms (EEG), L-theanine converts bouncy beta-brain waves to the calmer alpha-waves and attenuates the caffeine jitters. The result is attentive wakefulness, focus and relaxation without drowsiness. This makes it a good option for being mentally productive during the demanding parts of your day.
Sip this simple matcha on its own or use it as the base in your own hot drink creations!
Ingredients: Matcha powder, water, choice of milk (optional), sweetener (optional)
Instructions: In a cup or bowl, mix 1 teaspoon of matcha with 2-3oz hot water. Whisk together using a matcha whisk until frothy and add additional hot water to taste.
Quick tip: You can enjoy your matcha as-is or turn it into a comforting latte. Simply heat and whisk in your choice of milk (vanilla almond, dairy, coconut, oat) and add your favourite sweetener, like sugar or agave syrup.
Vitamin C is a superstar vitamin that is easy to find in countless plant-source foods. Since our bodies do not store vitamin C on their own, it’s important to make sure we're getting enough fruits and vegetables in our diets.
We mostly know vitamin C for its tremendous antioxidant benefits, but now, research is showing that regular intake of vitamin C plays an important therapeutic role for anxiety and that it may complement medical and psychological treatments for mental stress while also lowering blood pressure.
Smoothies and juices are great ways to pack multiple plant-based foods in one drink. But for a soothing, hot beverage that still offers Vitamin C, citrus fruits make a great go-to!
Hot Ginger Lemonade
Cozy up with this first thing in the morning for a cleansing start to the day.
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger, 1 teaspoon of honey, lemon slices, water
Instructions: Mix honey into 1 cup of boiling water. Add finely grated ginger, lemon slices, and mix. Drink while hot.
From fruit to tea leaves, there are countless ways for us to improve our health and wellbeing from the inside out. Each of these good-for-you ingredients can improve your feelings of anxiety and stress – and they happen to taste great, too! For more nutritional guidance, we invite you to book a complimentary consultation with our Registered Dietitian.
We hope that one of these recipes becomes your new go-to this season, or that you gain inspiration to create your own.
Yours in Health,
The HealthOne Team