Eat to cope

Edible Yoga? Well, kinda! Introducing, Adaptogens!

By : Nicki Formica

When you’re under stress, the stress hormone cortisol is pumping—no, raging! We need cortisol, don’t get me wrong, but as with “all things in moderation” this is not an exception. We are a a nation are under chronic amounts of stress which skyrocket our cortisol and lead to a whole mess of issues….

Back in the old days (way, waaaaay back) normal meant our cortisol spiked while under temporary stress in a “fight or flight” type response, and then, for it to fall back to normal levels once the stressor was alleviated. For instance, while your great great great great grandpa was hunting for food or trying not to be someone else’s dinner!

In 2014, our stress can last for hours, days, weeks or even YEARS ; Heartbreak, Credit card debt, being overworked—This is a recipe for disaster for our health and inevitably has devastating consequences on our bodies!

(By the way, Cortisol is also known as the “aging hormone”, I really don’t think I need to explain that! Chronically elevated Cortisol can affect every physiological and psychological system)

-An inability to lose weight- (think pesky belly fat that won’t budge)

-Hormonal imbalance 

-Colds

-Sleep disruption

-Fatigue

-Cancers

-Anxiety and Depression

-Autoimmune diseases (ex : IBS, Colitis, Chrones, Alzheimers)

-Thyroid issues

 

 

….all from too much Cortisol?!

Yep.

So here’s where adaptogens come into the picture. Adaptogens, being the name because they help you “adapt” to whatever situation might be stressing you out. Sounds like magic, does it not?

These healing botanicals aid your body in balancing and recuperating via your adrenal system, while helping you properly respond to stressors. And by stressor, it could be anything from a bad break up, to battling the flu.

Adaptogens normalize your physiological functions, and while it might be subtle and take a bit for them to help you, these medicinal foods have been used and trusted for centuries. Adaptogens work to calm your nerves but also help you access more energy, a double whammy that coffee can’t promise. Your body receives better access to oxygen and thus strength and endurance, and it eliminates toxic by-products with ease. If you notice nothing else, it will be that of a sense of well-being and mental clarity!

 



The following is a very concise list of what I deem to be the most accessible adaptogens. *all of these are available in pill form, and if you plan on seeking them out, please note that I am not a doctor and to speak with yours before taking herbal supplements*

1. Maca – “Peruvian Ginseng” a powder made from a crushed root native to Peru, contains 20 amino acids and 7 essential amino acids and fiber, phytonutrients vitamins and minerals. It also contains 5x the amount of protein as a potato and is perfect for smoothies. Nourishing to the endocrine system and can help you balance your hormones. BMC complementary and Alternative Medicine 2006 found it effective for anxiety and depression in post-menopausal women.

2. Licorice root – Beyond being a candy flavor, licorice root has been known to help with SO many ailments including brain fog, depression, mood swings, circulation and energy. I personally take this in pill form daily.

3. Ginseng – Claimed as the most effective and potent adaptogen, ginseng also works to boost fertility and regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, its been known to have anti-depressant effects and aid in mental clarity.

Here’s a broader list for those who are curious :
-Holy Basil
-Ashwaganda
-Astragalus
-Rhodiola Rosea
-Eleuthero Root

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