Have you been hearing the term “adaptogens” everywhere lately? Not sure what all the hype is about? Well you’ve come to the right place!
Adaptogens are currently the buzz word of the health industry. Acclaimed for their “feel good” properties, these compounds work to fight against all types of internal and external body stressors!
The truth behind their function is in the name; they help your body adapt to the varying conditions its exposed to everyday. The support they provide works on maintaining your homeostatic balance, meaning when something happens in your body they bring it back to equilibrium.
To give you an analogy, if you’ve ever been a little over enthusiastic when adding cacao to your smoothie, you’d know that one spoon too much will throw the whole flavour out! On the other hand, not adding enough will just leave your drink plain boring! Well, your body works much the same with homeostasis! Every state of disease or illness is merely the result of a disparity in the body that went on unattended to.
In this non-stop world where work deadlines are constant, family commitments daily, and 8 hours sleep exists only in fairytales; physical, mental and social stressors tend to mount up quickly. This is where adaptogens are able to work their magic!
The adaptogens that have become a hot topic in today’s wellness industry are nothing new to ancient health practices. Ayurvedic, Traditional Chinese, and Humoral Medicine have all been utilising the benefits of adaptogens for centuries. Existing in a variety of plant, food, and herbal compounds, nature is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to adaptogens and their therapeutic properties!
So, which adaptogens do you need?
There are a plethora of adaptogens out there each prized for supporting a different bodily function. One specific type isn’t necessarily better or worse than its counterpart, they are simply all useful in their own unique way!
At first, it may seem a daunting task to figure out which adaptogens will be of most benefit to you, so to help you along, we’ve compiled a list of our top 5 adaptogens for health, based on the different areas and issues in the body that they work on!
1. Maca – For ENERGY
Maca is a plant used predominantly for its energetic, nutritional, and fertility enhancing properties. Also praised its protection against osteoporosis, it is particularly useful for post-menopausal women! The star compounds of Maca praised for providing the adaptogenic effects are known as macamides. These substances are yet to be found in any other plant species on the planet, making their therapeutic effects unique to Maca itself!
Tip: Try adding a table spoon of Maca powder to your morning smoothie or latte if you’re feeling a little tired and sluggish in these Winter months. It will help keep you jumping out of bed with the all-day energy you’re looking for!
2. Ginseng – For CALM
When placed under pressure, your body responsively produces stress hormones to help cope in these conditions. Ginseng is an ancient herb used for regulating the hormonal and immune responses to stress, allowing the body to best deal with these imbalances! Working on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (which is the area of the brain that responds to stress), Ginseng not only helps support your mental state when dealing with stressors, but it also protects against any stress-induced chronic inflammation that is known to accompany this. With chronic low-grade inflammation a factor in almost every known disease state, the daily incorporation of Ginseng into your diet is an investment in your long term health.
Tip: Enjoy a daily cup of any Ginseng tea that can be found at your local supermarket, tea shop, or health food store! One that we enjoy is Planet Organics Ginseng Plus!
3. Tulsi – For POLLUTANTS
Tulsi (aka Holy Basil) is an ancient herb acknowledged in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-stress affects on the body at a chemical, physical and psychological level. Evidence shows Tulsi protects the body from environmental pollutants, heavy metals, physical exertion, climate/temperature changes, and even excessive noise! In a world where these toxins are impossible to avoid, Tulsi shields your body’s organs from these harmful substances, allowing them to carry their vital functions!
Tip: Similar to Ginseng, Tulsi can be easily enjoyed as a morning tea beverage, or, incorporated into your coffee as a powder form! We love mixing the Four Sigmatic Adaptogen Coffee Mix (containing Tulsi and Ashwagandha) into our morning coffee!
4. Ashwagandha – For STRENGTH
This adaptogen is a herb known primarily for its ability to improve body composition, enhance physical strength, and lower body fat percentage! Acting as a useful addition to your diet, Ashwagandha has the ability to provide your body and muscles with the vitality it may be missing, especially when exercising or in times of high physical stress! This super herb also works to lower cortisol levels, regulate blood glucose levels, improve sleep quality, and reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
Tip: Try having your morning Adaptogen Coffee Mix or Glow Bar’s Ashwagandha in your pre-workout caffeine hit or smoothie, to give your body the best results in training, endurance and recovery!
5. Rhodiola – For IMMUNITY
The list goes on when it comes to the benefits of Rhodiola, with it possessing anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, anti-oxidant, anti-stress, and anti-microbial properties! Aside from these however, it is the immunomodulatory effects of Rhodiola that are of most interest when it comes to your Winter health! Salidroside is the main compound within Rhodiola that seems to provide most of its therapeutic benefits. Incorporating this adaptogen into your Winter wellness routine will help protect you from all the nasty cold and flu germs floating around, keeping you as your happy and productive self!
Tip: Rhodiola is most commonly consumed in either tablet or liquid form so if you’re looking to buy some we recommend either Herb Pharm for liquid drops, or Now Foods for tablets!