A lot has been written about how stress is one of the biggest health issues of our modern lives. In fact, stress manifests itself in a wide range of mental and physical symptoms such as insomnia, irritability, fatigue, dizziness, appetite disturbances and GI distress.
Adaptogens to the rescue!
Adaptogens have been known to boost our overall vitality and combat fatigue as well as help with the long list of issues caused by stress in the first place.
Adaptogens consist of plants or herbs that support your adrenal system. Amongst other functions, the adrenal glands help balance your hormones, so you can manage your stress response on a day to day basis. They adapt to what your body needs and can regulate your system up or down depending on the need in the moment.
This might be a new term for you, but there is nothing new about adaptogens as they have been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as well as Ayurveda, a 5,000 year old science from India.
The following 5 ingredient are proven adaptogens: Ashwaganda, Maca, Ginseng, Rhodiola and Eleuthero.
You may have heard of this strange sounding herb as it has become quite popular in the world of wellness.
Ashwagandha has been shown to calm the mind, reduce inflammation, lower blood pressure, boost adrenal function and enhance the activity of immune cells known as natural killer cells that help you fight off infections. Ashwagandha is also the only adaptogen proven to enhance thyroid function.
The name itself means “horse smell” in Sanskrit, so be warned that Ashwagandha has a very strong taste, and many people prefer taking it as an extract or in supplement form.
Originally from the Andes Mountains, Maca is a root vegetable rich in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and amino acids (building blocks of proteins) glycine and arginine. It has been used for centuries for a range of health issues such as mood disorders, infertility as well as adrenal fatigue.
This is a very tasty ingredient which you will love to eat as well as supplement with. Try it in a smoothie and you will be delighted.
Ginseng is a powerful ingredient that studies have shown effective in preventing and reversing several inflammatory conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. In addition, Ginseng has been known for its neuroprotective effects, which can help reduce the risk of disease such as Alzheimer.
You can find ginseng in supplement form in any good health food store.
Proven to reduce the production of cortisol, Rhodiola is another powerful adaptogen.
Cortisol is your primary stress hormone and a little bit is helpful to protect us “from imminent danger”. However, when you produce too much, it can deplete your nutrient reserves, impair memory, and also have destructive effects on blood pressure, blood sugar and your metabolism.
There are a lot of Rhodiola plants out there and only Rhodiola rosea holds health benefits. You can find it in supplement form in any good health food store.
More than 2,000 years ago the Chinese knew the power of this incredible herb. No wonder, because Eleuthero offers a wide range of benefits. It helps the body cope with stress and acts as a stimulant by increasing your nervous system trigger. It also contains chemical compounds that help with fatigue and burn fat for energy. A great bonus! You can find it in supplement form in any good health food store.