As I am sure a lot of you’re are aware I am a huge proponent of creating and maintaining happy healthy bodies through the use of whole, live and natural foods. That being said there are items we can add to our healthy diets and lifestyles to help support our body in times of stress and demand.
One of those things are adaptogens. Adaptogens help to balance, restore and protect the body. They are by no means a new thing and have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries, it is very likely that you have even seen them on the shelves of your local health food.
Adaptogens are a mix of herbs, mushrooms and products from nature that function as regulators in our body. They help to support healthy energy levels, combat stress and exhaustion and support the immune system. A simple way of thinking about adaptogens is to liken them to a thermometer. Our body is always fighting for homeostasis, this is where it is happiest and thrives. Adaptogens help to “set that temperature” they assist the body to get it back to that homeostasis.
So now that we know about these mystical plant supporters where do we find them? How can you bring them into your life?
5 of the most commonly available adaptogens:
Probably one of the most commonly known adaptogens as it received its turn in the spot light in the mid to late 90’s. This root has been associated with improving mental performance and the body’s ability to withstand stress. Some varieties of ginseng have also been known to help lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar levels and have an antioxidant effect. All of these leads to healthier looking skin, a healthier heart, and a more energy which means you won’t be reaching for that 2pm cup of coffee.
Is a root and belongs to the cruciferous family, yes that’s right the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. Unlike it’s sulfuric smelling cousins maca root has a pleasant almost burnt caramel like flavour. This root is often associated with promoting vitality and energy, it is associated with these benefits because of its hormonal balancing tendencies. Maca has been known to assist in increasing energy, support immune health, increase stamina and increase the potential for fertility in both men and women.
Turmeric assists the body in its natural detoxification process, and with all that our liver does for us I am sure a little help is appreciated. By supporting the body’s detoxification systems turmeric also actively works to assist in maintaining cortisol levels in our bodies. Additionally, its active compound curcumin is excellent at reducing inflammation, which means this is a great addition to any active individual’s lifestyle.
Reishi is probably one of the most commonly known fungi adaptogen. Reishi has been associated with helping to calm the nervous system, balance out blood sugar levels and strengthen the immune system, making it a great addition to any winter flu fighting kit!
Probably more commonly consumed in Canada than all the above combined cacao is the unprocessed no sugar added sister of cocoa that we consume in the form of chocolate bars. Raw cacao is slightly more bitter than its more processed sister and with that bitterness comes a whole lot of healing. Raw cacao assists the body in lowering oxidative stress (i.e. wrinkles), it provides a generous serving of magnesium, vitamin B and more antioxidants than blueberries.
If you are interested in more information, here is a link to that time I talked about adaptogens on CTV. I hope you are able to find something that might fit into lifestyle and diet to help assist you in continuing to be the healthy happiest version of you.
My name is Brittany, I am a Holistic Nutritionist, Yoga Teacher and Certified Personal trainer. My hope is to help inspire, encourage and motivate others to live their happiest and healthiest lives.