Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just take a pill and all our worries would float away? While that might not be the case just yet, holistic health pro Elissa Goodman has a pretty close solution: adaptogens. These powerful plants are the closest thing to a “miracle cure” for stress that nature has to offer, lowering cortisol levels and giving your adrenals some much-needed TLC. Elissa and our friends at Food Matters fill us in on these stress-busing superfoods…
Your body is extremely resilient and adaptive under a variety of conditions, but it cannot accomplish the demands of whatever happens to be thrown its way without proper nutrition and physiological support. Stress and fatigue tend to be a huge struggle for just about everyone, causing detrimental effects to your physical and mental health. Chronically elevated cortisol levels can affect every system in your body like burnt out adrenal glands, overstressed digestive tract, rapid aging, anxiety, cancer, chronic fatigue, common cold, hormone imbalance, irritable bowel disease, auto-immune disorders, thyroid conditions, and weight loss resistance.
Instead of just reaching for a short-lived remedy, I want to introduce an effective, long-term alternative for your body that will increase your resistance to stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
Adaptogens are a class of plants used for their healing abilities of balancing, restoring, and protecting your body as a whole – little miracles, I call them. Adaptogens were granted their name because of their distinctive ability to ‘adapt’ their function according to your body’s needs. An adaptogen does not have a specific action, nor target a certain body region, rather it benefits the body as a whole, being able to respond to any influence or stressor that it needs to.
These rejuvenating plants improve and recharge the health of your adrenal glands, counteracting the harmful effects of stress. Cells are accessed more energy and the ability to eliminate toxic byproducts of the metabolic process to help the body use oxygen more efficiently. More cellular energy in combination with boosting the adrenal glands strengthens the body’s ability to cope with stress, anxiety, and fatigue – calming you down and boosting you up simultaneously.
While prescription drugs remain in your system and influence multiple organs, once an adaptogen has completed its job, those herbs are eliminated or absorbed into the body without any side effects. Adaptogens work slowly and gently, contrasting the instantaneous gratification of the caffeine cycle, you must be patient because they work subtly but the benefits are undeniable and long lasting. Here are 6 of my favorite adaptogens:
The easer of anxiety, depression and sleep issues. Ashwaganda has immuno-modulating effects that boost and regulate the immune system and lower cortisol levels. You can take Ashwaganda is supplement form, I recommend Organic India Ashwaganda.
Increases the amount of anti-stress compounds our bodies use to prevent and repair stress-related damage. By reducing the ability of stress hormones like cortisol to bind to receptors, astralagus boosts immunity and shields the body from the effects of stress. I recommend adding 20-30 drops of Astralagus Root Extract to your morning juices or smoothies.
Funguses with antioxidant properties include Reishi, Shiitake, and Maitake mushrooms. Each have adaptogenic, anti-tumor, and immune enhancing properties. You can easily add a scoop of Cordycep powder to smoothies. I like Mushroom Matrix Organic Cordyceps.
Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Referred to as the “elixir of anti-aging,” holy basil helps fight fatigue and stress, boosts the immune system, and regulates blood sugar, blood pressure, and hormone levels. My favorite way to enjoy Holy Basil is in a warm cup of Tulsi Tea by Organic India.
Rhodiola (Golden Root)
Contains the phytochemical salisdroside which helps resist anxiety and aging. Other benefits include suppression of the production of cortisol, increased levels of stress-resistant proteins, restoration of normal patterns of eating and sleeping after stress, resistance to mental and physical fatigue, and protection against oxidative stress, heat stress, radiation and toxic chemicals. Additional research has shown this adaptogen can protect the heart and liver, increase use of oxygen, improve memory and longevity, as well as aid in weight loss. One of the easiest ways to take is in supplement form – I suggest Gaia Herbs Rhodiola.
To read all six stress relievers, visit Food Matters by clicking through here!