Note: The plants and sweeteners mentioned in this article can provide a variety of health benefits, but you should speak with a health-care professional before consuming them if you have any specific health concerns or conditions.

During some of the colder days in January and February, I’m often guilty of letting my mind drift as I pine away for the start of summer to enjoy the nicer weather, longer days and well-deserved time off from work. However, if you’re like me, summer days spent working drag a little, and I tend to benefit from a little pick-me-up to get me through the day. Whether you prefer coffee, tea or a morning smoothie, there are easy ways to incorporate plants and natural sweeteners into your beverages to support your health.


To learn more about these options, I chatted with Anthony Webley, a workplace wellness and health promotion specialist who recently completed Centennial College’s Workplace Wellness and Health Promotion program. Before moving to Canada in 2023, Anthony grew up in Jamaica, where he gained an appreciation for both traditional and scientific approaches to health. Webley recalls, “In Jamaica, I grew up learning about a variety of traditional teas and how they can boost your mental and physical health. At the same time, before deciding on workplace wellness and health promotion as a career path, I studied pharmacology, so I feel that I bring a balanced perspective to this topic.”

For many of us, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with all the different powders, supplements and vitamins being promoted to us on a daily basis. Looking at the contents often doesn’t help, as labels can read more like a medical dictionary than an ingredients list. That’s why sticking to natural options can be a less intimidating way to start. Webley notes, “Focusing on simple items that are available in most grocery stores and markets can be a lot less intimidating, and also easier on your wallet. You can pick up a small amount, try it out, and monitor how you feel. Everyone has different health needs, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach.”

So where to start? Webley outlines a few items to consider picking up.

Ginger

If you have an upset stomach or seem to be picking up every cold that comes through your office, ginger can help. It aids with digestion, provides nausea relief, reduces inflammation and boosts immunity.

Peppermint

If you have more significant stomach issues, you may want to try peppermint, which can help with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including abdominal discomfort and bloating. If you find yourself battling seasonal headaches and sinus congestion, incorporating peppermint tea may relieve some of those symptoms as well.

Orange peel

If your body is feeling the effects of a weekend of gardening or yard work, orange peel can support your overall health by combating oxidative stress and inflammation. It is also known for its digestive benefits, helping to relieve bloating, gas and indigestion.

Lemongrass

If you’re finding your workload has increased as you cover for your colleagues during their vacations, consider trying lemongrass, which can promote relaxation, improve your mood and reduce anxiety.

Honey

Before automatically reaching for the sugar to sweeten your morning coffee or tea, consider honey as an alternative. Honey contains antioxidants and has carbohydrates that provide a quick source of energy. It can also help remedy sore throats and coughs due to its soothing and coating properties.

While gazing at the sun outside your window, it may feel unnatural to be trapped inside finishing your summer workday with only the glow of your computer screen. Using natural supplements can improve not only your mood, but also your energy level to get you through your workday, as well as those evening plans with family and friends. Patio anyone?






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