6 seasonal supplements
This month I thought a research round-up and 6 sublime recipes would make the perfect seasonal gift. Maca, cordyceps, camu camu and probiotics may already be staples. But what about Algae oil and CBD oil? Here’s the latest news on these 6 nutritional gems, and remember – you’re welcome to share!
1. Get your mojo working with MACA
A gift for the ladies.
Commonly used as a libido and endurance booster for men, research suggests maca is also effective for women. A recent US study looked at 45 women between the ages of 18 and 65, all suffering from anti-depressant induced sexual dysfunction. Some took 3g of maca root for 12 weeks, while others took a placebo. By the end of the 3 months the results were in, and the maca group finished on top. They reported improved sexual function, particularly amongst postmenopausal women for whom maca improved orgasm and arousal. 
Raw Maca Root Love Truffles (Source: maryvancenc.com)
The combination of maca root and raw cacao powder in these little love truffles could be the perfect mix!
2. Get covered for Winter with CORDYCEPS
A gift for the flu-fighters.
Make the medicinal mushroom cordyceps a winter staple. It contains the active compound cordycepin which has powerful anti-viral activities. Useful if you always catch flu during the colder months. 
Spiced Cordyceps Granola (Source: foursigmatic.com)
I felt a tasty granola with a sprinkle of cordyceps would help start your day on the defence from coughs and colds. But if making granola isn’t your cup of tea, then you could simply add a serving of cordyceps to a bowl of soup and get your immune boost later in the day.
3. CAMU CAMU for weight control
A gift for the weight-warriors (or worriers).
Camu camu – so good they named it twice? It’s not surprising when you consider the nutrient content of this Amazonian berry. 5 times more polyphenols than blackberries! 20-30 times more vitamin C than a kiwi!! Now research suggests it might be useful for weight control. Along with helping to improve how glucose is burned, and sensitivity to insulin, it’s anti-obesity effects may also be down to an ability to increase the burning of calories. 
Camu-camu and Matcha Smoothie (Source: indigo-herbs.co.uk)
Combined with the energising power of matcha this would make a fantastic pre-workout shake.
4. Saturate with a super ALGAE OIL
A gift for the essentialists.
Could this be the healthiest cooking oil on the market? In fact, 1 tbsp of algae oil contains as much of the healthier polyunsaturated fats as a whole avocado. It’s also got a ridiculously high smoke point of up to 252C, the same as ghee, and rivalling avocado’s 271C, making it suitable for higher temperature cooking. As I’m sure you know, the essential fats are so important for all-round health – mood, skin, heart, joints, hormones are all impacted by the oils you eat.
Zesty Avocado Dressing (Source: thrivealgae.com)
Only available in the US! Sold out on Amazon! It seems lots of people have tuned in to this health oil. In the absence of algae oil I’ve recommended a few alternatives.
5. Digest with PROBIOTICS
A gift for the over-stuffed.
Probiotics have ‘little or no effect’ screamed the headlines back in September. What utter rubbish. Supporting digestion, immunity, and even decreasing the incidence of eczema and allergies in infants, the list of positives is long and persuasive. They’ve also been shown to decrease BMI and body weight, especially in overweight adults. 
Simple Kimchi (Source: mommypotamus.com)
Once you start with cabbage, you can typically use whatever vegetable is in season to make your kimchi. No carrots in the cupboard? Then don’t fret pet.
6. Switch on with HEMP oil
A gift for the worriers.
We all know about the cardiovascular system, the nervous system and the respiratory system, but what about the endocannabinoid system (ECS) ? Regulating our physical and mental health the activity of this recently identified system is said to promote physical and psychological balance. Involved in fertility, mood, pain, and appetite it’s activities are pretty widespread. In fact, excercise-induced euphoria – commonly known as runner’s high – is believed to result from the activity of a human-produced cannabinoid, anandamide.
So what’s the story with CBD oil from hemp plants? Hemp is just one of many plants with compounds which can modulate our ECS. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of hundreds. The psychoactive compound THC is another. (You’ll also find ECS-modulating compounds in chocolate, carrots, brassicas and echinacea too.) Much of the research has looked at CBD oil on anxiety, pain, seizures and cancer, but as the ECS affects so many aspects of health, I imagine we’ve just explored the tip of the iceberg in regards to the potential therapeutic uses of hemp oil. 
Calming CBD smoothie (Source: thechalkboardmag.com)
The bitter taste of CBD oil may be challenging for some, but mixed into this smoothie it could help you ease into your day.
REFERENCES Dording et al 2015  Tuli et al 2014  Marette et al 2018  Zhang et al 2016  Gertsch et al 2010