4 Brain-Boosting Holiday Teas December 19, 2016 08:19

Boost your brain and warm up during the cold winter months with these holiday-friendly tea recipes.

Enjoy a cup of warming and healing herbal tea during the holidays.

Herbal Tea

Not only do they taste great, they impart incredible brain health benefits too. Here are four of my favorites:

Gingerbread

Ginger is one herb that can do more than just add flavor and spice to just about any dish; it also exhibits antioxidant effects and the ability to lessen the formation of inflammation in the brain. Multiple studies link inflammation to the development of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Thanks to its natural constituents known as gingerols, ginger also offers protection against free radicals which have the potential to be a serious threat to brain health. The easiest way to enjoy the benefits of ginger is to grate two tablespoons of fresh ginger and add it to a cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes and strain.  

Herbal Tea

Cinnamon

Not a tea on its own, simply stirring your favorite tea or coffee beverage with a cinnamon stick imparts a delicious cinnamon flavor and many brain health benefits.  Cinnamon helps to stabilize blood sugar — an important factor in maintaining energy to the brain. Cinnamon also helps to soothe inflammation, which is a precursor to multiple brain diseases.

Licorice

While licorice may not be a holiday food for everyone, it is for me. That's because I regularly find licorice candy made from real licorice root in my stocking. Licorice root tea imparts the flavor of black licorice candy while also boosting the body's ability to cope with stress, which there is no shortage of this time of year.

Herbal Tea

Licorice falls into a rare category of herbs known as "adaptogens" because they assist the body with whatever it is dealing with.  It also gives the adrenal glands, the body's main stress-coping glands, a boost.  Reducing stress hormones during the season helps to minimize their otherwise nasty brain effects, including a feeling of brain fog and memory impairment. Drink two to three cups a day for the best results. Take a week off after three weeks. Avoid using licorice if you have high blood pressure.

Hibiscus

The brilliant red color of this tea is perfect for the holiday season but it also indicates a high proanthocyanidin content. Proanthocyanidin is a natural plant nutrient that gives foods their rich red to purplish color. They are also potent antioxidants that help protect the brain against free radical damage.

Herbal Tea

According to new research at Tufts University drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily can lower blood pressure by 13 points in six weeks (when blood pressure is high). Maintaining a healthy blood pressure can reduce the likelihood of stroke. Hibiscus tea sweetened with a few drops of the herb stevia makes a delicious and healing iced tea as well.