What are adaptogens? Why are they important? How can we incorporate more herbs and spices in our lives to benefit our bodies?
These days, life can be ‘hard’ and stressful. You may not feel stressed, but is your body telling you otherwise? Are you abnormally snappy, cranky or emotional? Do you suffer from headaches? Do you have skin rashes or itchyness? Are you intolerant or allergic to gluten/dairy? Do you suffer from constipation or diarrhea? Do you have anxiety/chronic fatigue/depression/auto-immune diseases/thyroid conditions or find it hard to lose weight?
If you have just one or many of these symptoms, you could highly benefit from adding some adaptogens into your diet.
Our day to day life put plain & simple is just busy. There’s no denying we are more ‘connected’ via technology than ever, but that can mean we are over stretching ourselves & over commiting ourselves. We live in a world that multi-tasking seems great because we get so much more done, but do we really?
How familiar does this sound…alarm goes off in the morning, you’re rushing to your workout, rushing to get ready for work, rushing to fit in some type of breakfast, rushing to meetings at work, rushing around after the kids activities, rushing to the shops to get dinner sorted, all the while when we are running around doing all of these activities your brain is constantly ‘on’ and thinking about what is coming up next. Life is busy. We are under pressure, under nourished, over caffeinated and we are rushed and stressing our bodies more than ever.
Your body has a surprising ability to manage stress, yet on the inside your body is pleading for rest. Chronically elevated cortisol (the stress hormone) 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.
What can we do to help our bodies cope and regulate our hormones to help us feel better?
Adaptogens are a class of plants used for their healing abilities of balancing, restoring, and protecting your body.
Their name comes from their 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.
Examples of adaptogens:
Ashwaganda – easily found in capsule form in your local organic health food store
Maca Powder – a nutty flavour easily added to protein pancakes of your daily protein smoothie. I add mine to my alkalising and cleansing Glowing Green Smoothie every morning. You can get the recipe here.
Tulsi (holy basil) – can be consumed in capsule form or in herbal teas. Try Organic India Teas if you’re in Australia or Higher Living Organic Tea also has some amazing blends
Turmeric – I am predicting this as the buzzy ingredient of 2017. Turmeric is an adaptogen but also one of the strongest anti-inflammatory spices available. Have you seen all of the turmeric lattes at your local hipster cafe’s lately?! See my recipe here.
Esure you are buying organic herbs and spices to make sure you are getting the MAXIMUM benefits. You can use turmeric to marinade chicken/fish/tofu or use it along with curry powder and coconut milk for a curry sauce. Ensure you are using cracked pepper in your turmeric recipes so that your body can bind the pepper and turmeric together and absorb the benefits of the turmeric fully. (It only has to be a small amount of black pepper)
I also add my gold turmeric paste into my Glowing Green Smoothie.
- Image from Food Matters TV