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Kerri Axelrod No Bake Turmeric Bars

These antioxidant and anti-inflammatory turmeric bars are a delicious treat that requires zero baking. They're gluten-, dairy- and refined-sugar free and packed with healthy fats. Skip to the recipe here, or read more about antioxidants and the benefits of turmeric below.

No Bake Turmeric Bars

The Power of Antioxidants
Antioxidants are an important Brain Food. Antioxidants are substances, such as vitamin C or E, that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents from your cell. The oxidizing agents are called free radicals, and if not regularly cleared from the system, can cause cell damage, contribute to the development of many illnesses, and generally promote premature aging.

Illnesses associated with oxidative damage include heart disease, mental illness, cancer, arthritis, stroke, respiratory diseases, immune deficiency, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease, and other inflammatory conditions.

Read more about antioxidants, the role they play in brain health and common sources of antioxidants here.

Anti-inflammatory food

Benefits of Turmeric 

Turmeric has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Turmeric has been used in India as part of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream alone so it is best to consume with black pepper. You can take turmeric in a capsule form, use in an herbal tonic like this Golden Milk Latte, or to add nutrients to your dessert recipes.

Terra Origin Turmeric Chia Recipe

No Bake Turmeric Bars

Why I love these no bake turmeric bars

They feature anti-inflammatory turmeric
They’re loaded with healthy fats
They are gluten-, dairy-, and refined-sugar free
Best of all, besides melting the chocolate, they require zero baking! 

crust is just a mix of coconut flour, Terra Origin Organic Turmeric Blend (Chai), cinnamon, almond butter, and maple syrup. That’s it.

The filling is just coconut oil, sugar-free chocolate and coconut flakes!

I love using the Terra Origin Turmeric Blend for this recipe because they’ve basically done the work of blending complementary spices for you! Turmeric can taste a bit bitter on its own, so this blend also contains pepper (for absorbency), cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to make the perfect tasting chai blend.  This blend is great to scoop and pair with almond milk for a healing elixir, or for you to try in the No Bake Turmeric Bar recipe below.

No Bake Healthy Turmeric Dessert Recipe

Let me know if you make this recipe and what you think in the comments below.

Curious about other Brain Foods? Read more in the series here.

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anti-inflammatory no bake turmeric bars featuring Terra Origin

No Bake Turmeric Bars

  • Author: Kerri Axelrod
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 15 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: No Bake

Description

These antioxidant and anti-inflammatory turmeric bars are a delicious treat that requires zero baking. They're gluten, dairy and refined sugar free and packed with healthy fats.


Ingredients

Scale

Crust
3/4 cup coconut flour
3 scoops Terra Origin Organic Turmeric Blend (Chai)(plus extra for garnish)
1 tsp cinnamon (plus extra for garnish)
2 cups almond butter (note: use 100% almond butter with no added oils)
1/2 cup maple syrup

Filling
2 cups sugar-free chocolate chips (I used Santa Barbara Chocolates)
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup coconut flakes


Instructions

Line a deep 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper and set aside

In a large mixing bowl, add dry ingredients for the crust, mix and set aside

In a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop, melt the almond butter with maple syrup until combined

 Mix your wet and dry ingredients and mix until a thick batter remains

Transfer the dough to the lined pan and press firmly in place Refrigerate for 30 minutes

Once dough in refrigerated, melt your chocolate chips and coconut oil on the stovetop and pour over the bars

Top with coconut flakes and additional Terra Origin Organic Turmeric Blend and cinnamon 

Freeze until firm

Store in the refrigerator or the freezer in an airtight container up to 5 days


Keywords: Turmeric, No Bake Dessert, Easy Dessert Recipes, Health Dessert, Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Thank You Terra Origin for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. As always, opinions are my own. 

An important message 
The entire Brain Food Series is designed to be a guide, to share educational information that empowers you in your own wellness journey. The information in this series in not designed to take the place of a medical doctor and nor is this series designed for you to act on every single topic I share each month. Some topics may be more relevant for you than others. Lastly, the field of nutrition and nutritional psychiatry are a rapidly evolving fields, with research updated frequently.

All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. Readers should consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.
antioxidants and depression and anxiety

What are antioxidants?

Antioxidants are buzz words in the nutrition and skincare worlds, but what are they exactly? What roll do antioxidants play in our mental and overall health and what makes them a Brain Food?

In very simplified terms, antioxidants are molecules that fight damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules in our bodies that can destroy cells, cause disease, and speed up the aging process.

Free radicals are byproducts of natural body processes such as breathing, digestion, and cellular metabolism. Without antioxidants free radicals would destroy our bodies very quickly through a process known as oxidative stress. However, it's important to keep in mind that free radicals also serve important functions. For example, the body's immune cells use free radicals to kill harmful bacteria  (source).

Factors and activities that increase the production of free radicals and oxidative stress in the body include:

  • excessive exercise
  • inflammation and injury
  • refined and processed foods, trans fats, artificial sweeteners, and certain dyes and additives
  • smoking
  • environmental pollution
  • radiation
  • exposure to pesticides and drugs
  • industrial solvents
  • UV light

antioxidants and brain health

If not regularly cleared from the system, free radicals can cause cell damage, contribute to the development of many illnesses, and generally promote the premature aging.

Illnesses associated with oxidative damage include heart disease, mental illness cancer, arthritis, stroke, respiratory diseases, immune deficiency, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson's disease, and other inflammatory conditions.

Common Antioxidants

Antioxidants can protect cells against oxidative stress and are abundant in colorful fruits and vegetables. Many antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties as well.  The body naturally produces some antioxidant compounds on its own, while others are obtained through the nutrient-rich foods. Examples of antioxidants include:

  • vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E
  • beta-carotene
  • lycopene
  • lutein
  • selenium
  • manganese
  • zeaxanthin
  • curcumin
  • Flavonoids, flavones, catechins, polyphenols, and phytoestrogens found in plant-based foods.

antioxidants and mental health

Antioxidants role in mental health

There is growing evidence to suggest that the imbalance between oxidative stress and the antioxidant defense system may contribute to the development of depression and anxiety (source). Anxiety is thought to be correlated with a lowered total antioxidant state and enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the symptoms of anxiety disorders (source).

The idea is that antioxidants can remove free radicals and suppress the oxidative stress pathways, which protect against neuronal damage in the brain; thus, theoretically resulting in remission of depression or anxiety symptoms (source).

One study found that patients with generalized anxiety disorder and depression had significantly lower levels of vitamins A, C, and E in comparison to healthy controls. After dietary supplementation of these vitamins for a period of 6 weeks, a significant reduction in anxiety and depression scores of patients was observed. A significant increase in the blood levels of antioxidants was observed in patients except that of vitamin E in the group of depressed patients (source). The findings suggest that antioxidant supplement therapy as an adjuvant therapy is useful in patients with stress-induced mental illness.

It is worth noting that a healthy microbiome is essential to absorbing antioxidants when consumed through food. Read more about how to improve your gut health here.

Additionally, oxidative stress is a major component leading to inflammatory responses (source). Under normal physiological status, oxidative stress and immune system activation are generally short-lived. In certain chronic disease states, however, both of these systems remain activated (source). Such co-activation over time may lead to a higher risk of disease as well as increased severity (source). Consistent with experimental animal study, elevation in the activation of inflammatory pathways has been also observed in patients with anxiety disorders and major depression (source).

foods that contain antioxidants

Food Sources of Antioxidants

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are loaded with health-protective antioxidants such as lycopene, vitamin C, and vitamin A. Lycopene is the antioxidant that gives tomatoes their rich red color. When tomatoes are heat-treated, the lycopene becomes more bio-available (easier for our bodies to process and use).

Peppers
Bell peppers are rich in many vitamins and antioxidants, especially vitamin C and various carotenoids. For this reason, they may have several health benefits, such as improved eye health and reduced risk of several chronic diseases.

Brazil Nuts
Brazil nuts are among the richest dietary sources of selenium, an essential mineral with antioxidant properties. Selenium plays critical roles in reproduction, thyroid hormone metabolism, DNA synthesis, and protection from oxidative damage and infection. It is important to note that a single Brazil nut contains 68 to 91 micrograms (mcg) of selenium, meaning that just one nut per day can provide the daily recommended adult allowance of 55 mcg. Too much selenium can be toxic, so keep portion sizes in mind. I like the Now Foods Organic Brazil Nuts.

Berries
Berries such as blackberries, cranberries, raspberries and blueberries are a great source of antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol. One study showed that blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries have the highest antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruits, next to pomegranates (source).

Spices
Spices with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties include turmeric (containing the active ingredient curcumin) and ginger. Turmeric has been used in India as part of Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream alone so it is best to consume with black pepper.  One turmeric based product that I love is the Organic Turmeric Blend from Terra Origin. This product contains organic turmeric and is blended with organic black pepper, ginger and cardamom for maximum anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Antioxidants are not a standalone treatment for mental illness and we are still understanding the overall role that food plays in our mental health, but the research does show that antioxidants may be beneficial in conjunction with other treatment therapies. As always, work with a qualified healthcare practitioner based on your individual symptoms.  Read more about other Brain Foods here.

Thank You Terra Origin for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. As always, opinions are my own. 

An important message 
The entire Brain Food Series is designed to be a guide, to share educational information that empowers you in your own wellness journey. The information in this series in not designed to take the place of a medical doctor and nor is this series designed for you to act on every single topic I share each month. Some topics may be more relevant for you than others. Lastly, the field of nutrition and nutritional psychiatry are a rapidly evolving fields, with research updated frequently.

All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. Readers should consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.
mental health tryptophan and terra origin

In partnership with Terra Origin, I'm sharing 5 simple ways to improve your sleep as well as how sleep impacts your mental health.  Read on to learn more about how the BRAIN FOOD L-Tryptophan plays a role in your sleep and learn more about the connection between this essential amino acid and mood here

Sleep’s Role in Boosting your Mood

You’ve likely experienced firsthand how sleep affects your mood. After a sleepless night you may be more susceptible to stress, have difficulty concentrating and feel irritable.Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood. Subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When the subjects resumed normal sleep, they reported a dramatic improvement in mood (source).

Additionally, people with insomnia are 10 times as likely to have clinical depression and 17 times as likely to have clinical anxiety (source).

mental health tryptophan

L-Tryptophan Role in Melatonin Production

The BRAIN FOOD L-tryptophan also plays a vital role in sleep. In addition to being an important essential amino acid that is a precursor to the brain neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates mood, it also regulates the sleep hormone melatonin. Read more about tryptophan here.

After absorbing L-tryptophan from food or supplements, our bodies convert it to 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), and then to serotonin, melatonin, and vitamin B6 (source). Melatonin's main job in the body is to regulate sleep-wake cycles. We produce more melatonin when it’s dark out to prepare for sleep.

Low-levels of tryptophan can reduce both serotonin and melatonin production and can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and poor memory and concentration. Read about how to increase your tryptophan intake here.

In addition to increasing your tryptophan intake, here are five simple ways to improve your sleep. Try one or two from this list and see how you feel.

Terra Origin Mental Health tryptophan

5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep

Sleep During Optimal Hours

In Ayurveda, the optimal sleep hours are to fall asleep around 10:00 PM and wake before or around 6:00 AM. Ayurveda recommends going to sleep by or around 10:00 PM—during Kapha time. The Kapha dosha has slow, stable and dull qualities, which are ideal for falling asleep. After 10:00 PM, we enter the Pitta time of day. Pitta’s qualities are hot, sharp, light and intense, none of which are ideal for falling asleep. If you feel tired around 10:00 PM but wired by 12:00 AM this could be why. You should also aim to wake by 6:00 AM. Between 2:00 AM and 6:00 AM is the Vata time of day—which has light and mobile qualities—making it easier to wake up. After 6:00 AM we enter the Kapha time of day again, making it more difficult to wake. If you feel tired and sluggish waking around 7:00 AM or 8:00 AM— even after a good night’s sleep—
your sleep cycle maybe off.

Prime Your Bedroom for Sleep

A quiet, dark, cool and relaxing environment can help promote a good night’s sleep. A few tips for achieving this environment: use blackout shades or an eye mask to block light, keep the temperature cool between 60-75°F with a fan that can also act to cancel noise, and turn on a diffusor filled with sleep promoting essential oils such as lavender, vanilla, and jasmine.

Natural Sleep Aid

Good sleep often starts with good sleep practices and habits; however, some nights
require a little extra help to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re experiencing consistent and prolonged bouts of sleepless nights, it is incredibly important to see a medical professional, but for the occasional sleepless night, consider trying Terra Origin Healthy Sleep supplement.

This Ayurvedic inspired supplement contains 150-mg of tryptophan, melatonin as well as calming herbs such as chamomile, valerian root extract and passionflower. Pair this supplement with a sleep promoting elixir such as the recipe included below in this post.

Establish a Soothing Evening Ritual

A pre-bedtime evening ritual routine helps transition your body from waking time to sleep time and lowers cortisol levels. An hour before bed, turn off your phone, take an Epsom salt bath, read a book, or meditate. The key is to avoid stressful, stimulating activities.

Drink a Nighttime Elixir

Drinking a nighttime elixir like the recipe below is another great way to reduce anxiety and promote a restful night’s sleep. This elixir includes reishi mushroom, which may help reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue, as well as calming chamomile. Drink an hour before bed or sip while taking your Epsom salt bath.

 

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Reishi Chamomile Elixir

  • Author: Kerri Axelrod
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Sweet

Description

Upgrade your nightly ritual with this zen inducing reishi chamomile elixir. It contains calming chamomile and reishi and just a hint of sweetness to help you wind down after a long day.


Ingredients

Scale

1 cup of water

Chamomile tea

1/2 tsp reishi

½ cup of hemp milk

1tsp cacao

1 tsp coconut sugar 


Instructions

Bring water to a boil

Pour water into a cup and steep tea for 5-10 minutes

Place hemp milk in a sauce pan and heat on low until warm (be mindful not to burn)

Place warmed hemp milk and the rest of the ingredients besides the tea into a high spend blender; blend until well combined

Remove tea bags from cup and pour hemp milk mixture over tea

Enjoy!


Keywords: elixir, medicinal mushroom, reshi, tea

Thank You Terra Origin for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. As always, opinions are my own. 

An important message 
The entire Brain Food Series is designed to be a guide, to share educational information that empowers you in your own wellness journey. The information in this series in not designed to take the place of a medical doctor and nor is this series designed for you to act on every single topic I share each month. Some topics may be more relevant for you than others. Lastly, the field of nutrition and nutritional psychiatry are a rapidly evolving fields, with research updated frequently.

All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. Readers should consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.