The list of superfoods grows longer each day and they all seem to come from far off exotic locations and they can be quite pricey. So I want to share with you a few more humble, even mundane foods that are good subsititues for some superfoods.
Swap: Lemon Balm for Cacao
Ok the flavors aren't similar but the effects are. People crave chocolate because it is soothing and even slightly stress relieving. The appropriately named lemon balm, lifts your spirits but without the stimulation from caffeine. Native to the eastern Mediterranean and West Asia, Melissa officinalis, like so many other herbs, has been used for centuries as a therapeutic remedy due to its antiviral, antibacterial, antispasmodic and antidepressant compounds. Its modus operandi, according to Natural Living Ideas, includes stress relief, relief of pain from indigestion and improving your appetite.
Another use for lemon balm is to promote sleep. You can chop the leaves and steep them in boiling water to make a tea or rub a few leaves on your skin to allow the natural oils to seep into your bloodstream, which helps you relax. In fact, a University of Maryland study found that 81 percent of the participants who used lemon balm with valerian root got a better night's sleep than those on a placebo.
And a Northumbria University study reported that experiments with lemon balm returned memory-strengthening and improved problem-solving abilities when they took capsules filled with the dried herb. The subjects also performed "significantly" better when taking standardized computer tests on memory in comparison with those given a placebo.
One of the great things about lemon balm, a perennial herb and member of the mint family, is how easy it is to grow, particularly in the spring. It can be sown from seed, or you can buy a small plant from a farmers market or nursery, and you'll be amazed how quickly it grows and spreads.
ReferencesNatural Living Ideas March 8, 2017UMM 2017Northumbria University April 29, 2016