All You Need To Know About Adaptogens
For centuries, herbs and spices have been used as powerful tools in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
Apothecaries were skilled healers who relied on nature to treat ailments and illnesses. Today, we can apply some of these practices and utilize functional foods to improve our overall health and well-being.
Adaptogens are gaining popularity in the health and food industry, leading to endless possibilities for how you can incorporate them into your daily routine.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ADAPTOGENS
WHAT IS AN ADAPTOGEN?
Let’s start with the basics. What exactly is an adaptogen?
I’ll give you a hint – it’s in the name. Adaptogens are certain types of herbs, spices, and other plants known to help the body adapt to situations and maintain an overall balance by encouraging homeostasis.
Throughout your day, you are constantly being thrown into new scenarios, causing stress both mentally and physically.
It can be as simple as walking into air conditioning from the summer heat. Your body has been exposed to a changing environment and must adapt.
Then, mix in the added stressors such as work deadlines, bills to pay, or HIIT workouts, and you’ll start to see why your body may benefit from a little extra support with adapting to situations.
Not all stress is necessarily bad; exercising, for instance, is a positive form of stress for the body. However, our bodies must still adapt nonetheless.
HOW DO ADAPTOGENS WORK IN THE BODY?
When consumed, adaptogens primarily interact with the endocrine system, influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA).
This system plays a key role in the body’s response to stress and is responsible for the fight or flight instinct. The brain realizes that you are in a dangerous situation and works with the endocrine system to produce hormones, such as adrenaline, to help you remain safe.
However, most of the time, we are not in immediate danger, and the consistent spikes in stress hormones are not beneficial. Since the endocrine system is responsible for hormones in the body, adaptogens have been shown to promote overall hormonal balance.
Adaptogens also work with the immune system to strengthen our defenses against germs and other toxins and help to regulate overactive immune responses. Someone experiencing seasonal allergies may experience some relief from incorporating adaptogens.
We all have that one friend or relative who stays calm and collected through even the most heated of social scenarios. You can think of adaptogens as that stabilizing, peaceful friend, who can help to bring others back down to earth.
WHAT CAN ADAPTOGENS DO FOR ME?
Some of the most common motivations for incorporating adaptogens include anxiety relief and better sleep; however, adaptogens can provide a multitude of benefits and serve different purposes.
For instance, Maca could be useful if you are someone who often experiences hot flashes or night sweats. When you experience brain fog during work hours, Siberian Ginseng can bring clarity and your attention back to your work.
Some other beneficial adaptogens include:
- Gotu Kola for relaxation in situations of mental stress.
- Rhodiola Rosea to combat fatigue with an energy boost.
- Ashwagandha or Holy Basil to calm the mind and ease anxiety.
- Cordyceps for enhanced exercise performance.
- Astragalus for muscle or joint pain.
- Licorice Root could help to clear up the skin, specifically hormonal acne.
- Reishi for immune-boosting properties.
HOW TO USE ADAPTOGENS IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE
The wonderful thing about the growing popularity of adaptogens is that they are now extremely convenient to use.
You will not need to grow your own herbs or go hunting around the woods. You can simply visit your favorite health food store or even order from retailers online.
Many adaptogens come in a powder form, which is perfect for smoothies or even mixing into baked goods. There are also ready-to-drink teas, coffees, and mushroom elixirs containing adaptogens that come in a variety of flavors.
Lastly, many adaptogens can also be taken as a supplement in a capsule form.
Adaptogens are a wonderful tool, but not a magic pill.
The Transformational Nutrition Method is based on the principle that healing and long-term health is rooted in all 3 Pillars: Science, Psychology, and Spirituality.
While incorporating adaptogens may help your body adapt to the daily stresses in life, keep in mind that taking a holistic approach to wellness will lead to the greatest results and happiness.