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Dr Vijay Murthy on UK Health Radio

Vijay Murthy on UK Health Radio

Warm Spice Drink for Energy, Sleep, Immunity and Hormone Support

Is it not too fattening?
When I recommend this recipe to my clients, soon after they read the list of ingredients, their immediate question to me is “is it not too fattening?” Their question is an excellent one as it gives me an opportunity to explain the different types of fats and the need for certain types of fats for reducing unhealthy cholesterol, for improving neurological functions, for better quality of sleep, for strengthening immunity and for overall cellular repair on a daily basis.

The importance of consuming essential fatty acids and antioxidants
For decades we had thought that fats make us fat and they are bad for heart health. Yes, eating too much of saturated fats, trans fats definitely will make us fat and also contribute to heart diseases. However, consuming plant based fats which largely have polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats which are essential for cell repair are necessary for health.

Nuts are good sources of polyunsaturated fatty acids. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are of two groups; omega-3 and omega-6. We need both omega-3 and omega-6, however the ratio between omega 3 and omega 6 is important. If there is too much omega 6 in comparison to omega 3, it can lead to inflammation. Omega 6 is sometimes referred to as ‘pro-inflammatory’ and omega-3 as ‘anti-inflammatory’.

Nuts such as almonds also contain Monounsaturated fatty acids. Similar to Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids, they can lower bad cholesterol (LDL) and maintain good cholesterol (HDL).

A great combination of antioxidants
This recipe also contains powerful anti-oxidants turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cacao powder which help in improving immunity, regulate hormones and improve gut function.

INGREDIENTS (makes 150 ml drink)

  • Almond (preferably unsweetened) milk 100 ml or organic whole milk 100 ml
  • Water 100ml
  • 2 Walnuts (powdered)
  • 2 Brazil nuts (powdered)
  • 6 Almonds (powdered)
  • Turmeric powder ¼ teaspoon
  • Black pepper powder, a pinch
  • Cardamom powder, a pinch
  • Cinnamon powder, a pinch
  • Nutmeg powder, a pinch
  • Cacao powder ¼ teaspoon
  • For sweetening (optional): Honey or Xylitol

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 5 to 10 minutes
Total time: 10 to 15 minutes

To almond milk or organic whole milk add water. To this add powders of walnuts, Brazil nuts, almonds, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Cook the mixture on moderate heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add Xylitol for sweetening or you may even add good quality honey (make sure you have removed the pot from the stove as you should not boil honey. This can denature honey).

Best times to have this warm drink:
One hour prior to going to bed
After exercising
As a morning drink
Note: Do not drink this all the three times and have it once a day maximum.

Medicinal properties of the ingredients
Almond milk

  • A good dairy substitute.
  • Rich source of minerals such as magnesium & calcium.
  • Good source of plant protein.

Organic whole milk

  • Organic milk is a good source of essential fatty acids.
  • Organic milk contains 25% less Omega-6 fatty acids (pro-inflammatory) and 62% more Omega-3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory) than conventional milk.


  • A good source of Tryptophan which are precursors to serotonin responsible for improving sleep and stress reduction.
  • Walnuts contain polyunsaturated fatty acids and vitamin E which have cholesterol reducing effect.

Brazil nuts

  • Brazil nuts are a good source of selenium, mineral that many foods we eat lack due to lack of selenium in the earth.
  • Selenium is a powerful antioxidant which can reduce the risk of heart disease, improve thyroid function and immunity.
  • Brazil nuts due to its selenium content can boost testosterone levels.


  • Chlorogenic acid in almond is a good source of antioxidants.


  • Curcumin the constituent of turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory useful for the gut, brain, heart, skin and for cellular repair.

Black pepper

  • Piperine in black pepper increases the absorption of curcumin of turmeric as otherwise, turmeric becomes un-used by the body.


  • Cardamom is a good source of manganese. This element helps regulate blood sugars, improves fat metabolism, helps in brain function and improves sex hormones and also has detoxifying properties.


  • Cinnamon even in small quantities can act as antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial.


  • Nutmeg has several essential oils as its constituents and consuming small amounts of nutmeg helps in improving sleep due to its calming effect.


  • Honey unlike refined sugars has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.
  • Honey is made of glucose, fructose, and minerals, such as iron, calcium, phosphate, sodium chloride, potassium, and magnesium.


  • Xylitol can be a better option than refined sugar and is usually extracted from birch tree. It is a lower-calorie sugar substitute with a low glycemic index. Xylitol has antioxidant properties. As far as possible it is good to avoid sweeteners like Xylitol as it may have a similar hormonal impact on insulin like sugar.

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