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Foods, herbs and spices that uplift, refresh and restore the spirit

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(NaturalNews) In trying times, such as during the proliferation of toxins affecting our food, air and infrastructure (GMOs, wireless electromagnetic frequencies, etc.) like now, it is good to know that there are foods that have been used for centuries to refresh and renew the spirit and reduce stress that we can turn to. It has been said that "man does not live by bread alone." Sometimes we need more than just the basics, especially these days, and certain foods, spices and herbs can offer us spiritual renewal and a much-needed "boost" when we're feeling a little rattled or embattled. These ones listed below will grant a "whoosh" of renewal, de-stressing and elevating mood and state of mind:

1. (Dark) Chocolate

Dark chocolate is loved by people around the world for it's luscious taste, but chocolate also has many medicinal benefits. Dark chocolate has been found to improve mood and reduce stress by increasing serotonin and endorphin in the brain. According to a Journal of Proteome Research article from 2009, eating 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate every day reduced stress hormone cortisol over a two-week period. Additionally, pregnant women who eat more chocolate give birth to more stress-free babies, according to Psychology Today. Dark chocolate also contains antioxidants which promote a variety of cardiovascular benefits. They have the power to lower blood pressure, increase good cholesterol and promote blood sugar regulation.

2. Cinammon

Cinammon has been praised for centuries for its medicinal properties and has been mentioned in ancient Chinese writings and the Bible. Cinnamon (either by scent or ingestion) can renew the spirit and improve brain function and memory, perfect for tough "mind fog" days. It can reduce stress and lower blood pressure. You can even hang or place a sachet of cinnamon in your environment for around-the-clock stress-reducing aromatherapy. Cinnamon is also helpful for soothing stomach aches and digestive woes, reducing muscle soreness and pain from arthritis, reducing blood pressure and preventing blood clots, and it is a good source of iron, calcium and manganese.

3. Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum), of the mint family Lamiaceae, is an herb commonly used in Italian, Indonesian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. The word Basil is derived from the Greek word basileus, which means "king." The Oxford Dictionary states that basil was used historically as a royal unguent, bath or medicine. Basil is known to the French as the l'herbe royale (the royal herb), while in India it is used in ayurvedic medicine. According to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, basil contains high quantities of (E)-beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which may be useful in treating arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases. It is also rich in antioxidants. But the best part is how basil reduces stress. According to botanist James Duke, PhD, holy basil may lower cortisol levels in the blood. This reduction of the cortisol stress hormone and the intoxicating aroma itself pack a powerful punch.

4. Lavender

Lavender is an herb that you'll find in many bath salts, lotions, candles and massage oils. There's a reason for this. Science has proven the relaxation-promoting benefits of lavender. Lavender has been shown to reduce depression, ease headaches, help with hangovers and promote pain relief. Its scent will give you a renewed spirit almost instantly, easing anxiety and muscle tension as well as migraines. It can also help improve sleep and elevate mood. Lavender possesses antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Fun fact: Lavender was even used in ancient times to tame lions and tigers! Now that's herbal power!

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About the author:
Zach C. Miller was raised from an early age to believe in the power and value of healthy-conscious living. He later found in himself a talent for writing, and it only made sense to put two & two together! He has written and published articles about health & wellness and other topics on ehow.com and here on NaturalNews. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Applied Science.

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