It’s hard not to be cheerful during the holidays. This is in no small part due to the delicious scents and flavors of the season. What’s one spice that keeps popping up in all of your favorite holiday goodies, from creamy eggnog, to spiced cookies? Yes, it’s nutmeg, and there may be a direct correlation between the spice and your elevated and cheerful holiday mood. Research is beginning to show that nutmeg may help to boost mood and effectively deal with depression, regardless of the time of year. In fact, nutmeg has shown comparable results to the antidepressant imipramine.
How Does Nutmeg Fight Depression And Improve Mood?
A big part of the reason why nutmeg extract is so effective at improving our mood has to do with how it affects our levels of stress in the body. When we are extremely stressed out, our bodies can take on the well known “fight or flight” response and reaction as a result. However, many times we end up defaulting to a lesser known third option, which psychologists call the “freeze” option. This occurs when we are so stressed that we simply have trouble following through on any kind of reaction at all. Quite literally, the physical response often occurs where we lock our muscles in place, becoming completely rigid and freezing on the spot. As it turns out, the herbal extracts of nutmeg have been shown to work in such a beneficial way that the amount of time spent in the freeze state of being is significantly reduced. Overall, nutmeg extract has shown to help the body as well as the mind cope with stress at a healthier and more effective level.
Remember how I mentioned that nutmeg extract has been shown to work as well as the antidepressant imipramine? This is because nutmeg can work to restore the balance of hormones, or neurotransmitters, in the brain in a similar manner as the drug can. The main difference between the two is that imipramine comes with a bevy of potentially harmful side effects, including headaches, blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, vomiting, stomach cramps, weight loss or gain, increased or decreased appetite, muscle stiffness, ringing in the ears, restlessness, leg swelling, trouble urinating, and even mood changes (which the drug is supposed to treat). Nutmeg is free from these troubling side effects, and is a completely all natural treatment method for anxiety and depression. It would be worth it to add nutmeg to more of your meals, year round, in order to notice the benefits of an improved mood.
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