How Adaptogens help combat stress
Does stress get the best of you? Do you feel like you don’t handle stress too well? There are many things we can do that will help us feel more balanced and cope with stress better, for example, exercise, meditate and sleep well. But did you know that there are also these wonderful things called ‘Adaptogens’ that you can add to your diet that improve the body’s ability to adapt to stress. Sounds like we all need that, right?
Nowadays, stress levels are higher than ever before due to the high intensity lifestyles we live. Putting our body under constant stress causes havoc to our health and wellbeing. Therefore, including adaptogens into our diet can be the perfect solution!
“Nowadays, stress levels are higher than ever before due to the high intensity lifestyles we live”.
What are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are substances found in plants or herbs that have been used for centuries in countries like India and China, to help the body handle stress, build up resilience and boost energy and fight fatigue. They specifically support the adrenals, the glands that manage the hormonal response to stress. Sounds like something most of us need from time to time, right?
So where can we find adaptogens?
Ginseng is one of the most well known adaptogens used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It’s one of the best plants to balance the body, decreasing fatigue, balancing blood sugar levels (less energy crashes!) and boost mood and energy. It also has immune boosting properties, which is great when you’re going through a period of intense workload, as your immunity tends to decrease when you’re under stress.
Another really effective adaptogen is ashwagandha, used mainly in Ayurvedic practices. Studies show that this plant reduces stress and anxiety, decreases cortisol levels (the stress hormone!), improves memory and brain function, and can prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
Moringa works to bring the body to a state of balance. It’s a natural multivitamin that helps tackle fatigue, boost energy levels, strengthen the immunity and fight stress.
Maca is a root that comes from the highlands of Peru and is known to have been the fuel for the Inca warriors, giving them stamina and endurance. This adaptogen balances hormones, helps the body cope with stress, boosts energy and mood and helps treat PMS symptoms.
Astragalus has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as an adaptogen for thousands of years. It boosts the immune system, helping avoid getting sick in times of stress, in addition to being a potent anti-inflammatory, and prevents oxidation and premature aging of the body, the two side effects provoked by stress.
How to take adaptogens?
Adaptogens can either found in capsule or powder form. The amount you should take depends on your body’s needs and state of health. However, all of the adaptogens mentioned above, can be taken on a daily basis, once a day. Maca and moringa for example, can be found in powdered form and the recommended daily doses can range between 1-3 tablespoons.
If you’re interested in taking adaptogens and finding more balance in your life, visit your local health store and choose the one that (or as many as you like) suits your needs. When in doubt, consult your health practitioner to know what dosage you need.