The world of health and wellness is full of constantly changing buzzwords, it’s hard to keep up. Matcha had it’s moment, turmeric is still trending and we’ve heard a lot of talk about adaptogens. But what are adaptogens, anyway, and why should I know about them?
Lucky for you, my curiosity got the best of me after seeing every health guru and wellness blogger write and Instagram about how they’re implementing adaptogens into their daily routine. They claim to aid in everything from anxiety relief, sustained energy, better focus and increased memory to name just a few of the benefits talked about.
So what exactly are adaptogens?
Adaptogens have actually been around for centuries and are commonly used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. They are herbs that help your body adapt (hence the name). Or, in other words, they stabilize your body to maintain a level of homeostasis. But, what does that really mean? Adaptogens help your body stabilize it’s hormonal response to stress. Rather than feeling energy highs, anxiety or a mid-afternoon slump, adaptogens help facilitate the cellular response in your body to feel more balanced.
How they work:
Adaptogens specifically support the adrenal system in our body which is responsible for managing our hormonal response to stress. When we experience stress, our adrenal glands release hormones to help our body deal with it. Stress can be a result of checking email, going through a hard workout, racing through a busy schedule or having a conversation you’ve been dreading.
Different levels of hormones are released to help our body manage the severity of stress, however our bodies don’t always react appropriately. Adaptogens help manage our body’s reaction to stress to find the proper balance of hormones for the situation, so you don’t have too many or too little hormones triggered from your body’s response. This matters because when our body is working too hard to react to stress we can feel fatigued.
Where to start:
There are a variety of different adaptogen herbs that are said to have different health benefits when consumed. A few of the most popular adaptogens you may have heard before, or have seen popping up on shelves and in different products include Ashwagandha which helps reduce stress, Siberian Ginseng which is said to improve endurance and fight fatigue, and lastly, Rhodiola Rosea which helps balance the cortisol levels in your body.
Adaptogens come in powder form and can be purchased as a mix of different herbs, or just one single herb. Based on your body, you’ll want to find the adaptogen or mix of adaptogens that is right for you.
How to implement them into your routine:
The great part about mixing these herb powders into your everyday diet is that you can mix them into anything such as nut milk, coffee, tea or a smoothie. I personally like to mix adaptogens into my daily smoothie which includes spinach, collagen peptides, adaptogens, cinnamon, nut butter, blueberries and almond milk.
Adaptogens, like superfoods, haven’t gone so mainstream that you can find them anywhere, but a few of my favorite brands and places to shop for them are Moon Juice, a brand of product that is also a shop in Los Angeles, and the Sun Potion brand. Both of these you can find on Amazon, too.