What Adaptogens, Herbs, Tonics, and Antioxidants are My Favorites to Use For Longevity, Stress and Fatigue Relief?
Antioxidants and adaptogens can help support, and there are many benefits to our bodies against stress. Exhausted? Stressed out? Feeling anxious or depressed more than usual? If so, you might need to take care of your body with herbs, adaptogens, and antioxidants. Antioxidants and adaptogens can help protect our bodies against the effects of stress! Fruits and vegetables are nutritionally dense in antioxidants. This list of adaptogens, herbs, tonics, and antioxidants can guide you in how to incorporate them into your wellness diet for stress and fatigue relief.
Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress, hence the word “adapt” is the key part of the word adaptogen. Adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms can be beneficial to your health. There are several supplements that I like to incorporate into my diet. Antioxidants and adaptogens can help support our bodies against the effects of stress by protecting us from free radicals that can harm the body! Below I provide a list of adaptogens that I like to use.
What Are Adaptogens, Known as Adaptogenic Herbs?
Adaptogens are natural substances, such as herbs, with anti-stress, antioxidant, and immune-modulatory properties that help the body adapt to stress. They work by balancing and regulating bodily functions, which allows the body to be more resilient. Adaptogens also support organ function by boosting the immune system, increasing energy levels, and promoting feelings of well-being.
The Role Of Cortisol and Adaptogenic Herbs
Can adaptogens help with cortisol in the body?
Adaptogens are herbs that help reduce stress in your body. They do this by helping the adrenal glands produce less cortisol, which means there is more energy for other things, like digestion and a healthy immune system.
Are adaptogenic herbs beneficial to your health?
Adaptogenic herbs are not meant to replace your prescribed medication if you have an existing medical condition. However, they can help your body adapt to the stresses of life. Adaptogens also help fight free radicals, which can cause your body to produce more cortisol in response. Which is what you want this herb to do! Free radicals are byproducts of the body’s normal functioning. Thus resulting in cells aging and dying faster. Eating a healthier diet is the best way to reduce your cortisol levels. One way to add adaptogens to your diet is by drinking a calming herbal tea. Licorice, tulsi, rhodiola, and ashwagandha tea are all good choices for this. In addition, you can also add adaptogens to your diet by adding them in with other foods.
Immune Health and Antioxidants
How do antioxidants protect your immune health?
The natural world is full of antioxidants. Antioxidants are naturally occurring substances that counteract the damaging effects of oxidation, such as free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS). Oxidative stress can create free radicals, exposure to pollutants, and even while the body breaks down substances for energy.
When antioxidants are consumed or created in response to these free radicals, they react with them through a process called a “reduction reaction” to neutralize them. Antioxidants can protect the immune system by helping remove free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) from cells, which are the normal byproducts of cell metabolism. Antioxidants can also protect DNA, proteins, and lipids from damage caused by free radicals.
Adaptogens, Herbs, Tonics That Benefit Longevity, Stress, Strength, Stamina, and Fatigue Relief
Ashwagandha is a member of the nightshade family. Other nightshade vegetables include eggplants and tomatoes. This adaptogenic herb is one I use regularly. This is high on my list of adaptogens. “Ashwagandha root extract improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life” (1). Ashwagandha does many things, including improving resistance to stress. Well known for helping reduce fatigue.
This adaptogenic root is usually turned into a powder and added to teas, and even my all-time favorite way is by adding it to my moon milk recipes. I also like to use ashwagandha root powder in my smoothies and baked goods.
Turmeric, otherwise known as curcumin, is an herbaceous plant. Curcumin studies have shown to lower inflammation in the body. This root is typically used in recipes or ground up to add to flavor cuisine. I like to add freshly grated turmeric to my smoothies. But turmeric on its own will metabolize quickly before the benefits are made available to the body. So, the addition of black pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric. A pinch of black pepper and turmeric powder added to rice, smoothies, and golden milk are wonderful ways to incorporate this root into my diet. I personally love golden milk in my evening routine to help me unwind. Golden milk is a blend of turmeric, black pepper, and various flavors added to whatever warm milk you like.
Gaia golden milk is one of my favorite ways to incorporate turmeric and ashwagandha into my nutrition. This powder is a blend of turmeric, ashwagandha, dates, cardamom, vanilla, and black pepper. I personally love to add this powder to either warm almond milk or coconut milk.
Maca, well known adaptogenic herb used in Andean societies for longevity. This root powder is a wonderful adaptogen to help with energy, mood, and hormonal levels. It is also high in antioxidants and helps increase stamina. Maca has a natural taste. I add this adaptogenic herb powder to my green smoothies to give me extra energy during the day. I rate this one high on my list of adaptogens.
Medicinal mushrooms, otherwise known as adaptogenic mushrooms, can help with inflammation and stress in the body. For example, reishi mushrooms help lower stress, improve the immune system, and provide a sense of calm to the body. In addition, it can also help the detoxification process within the body. Reishi mushrooms are another one of those adaptogens with benefits that are high on my list.
Power dust by Moon Juice is a personal favorite of mine. For instance, you can mix this powder into water, milk, smoothies, coffee, or tea. This powder is a specific blend of adaptogenic medicinal mushrooms, ashwagandha root, and Astragalus root.
Chaga mushroom is one of the most powerful adaptogens. This adaptogenic mushroom grows on a type of tree found in northern climates, typically birch trees. This mushroom boosts your immune system, has cancer fighting properties, and can also help lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels. It is also effective in helping reduce inflammation within the body and alleviate arthritis. These are just some of the benefits of adaptogens that I love, so much.
Cordyceps, a medicinal mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. In the 1990s, it became popular because of its ability to increase aerobic capacity. Many people use cordyceps as an alternative for creatinine supplements, which are mostly used by athletes and bodybuilders.
Moreover, this adaptogenic herb has been known to help the body increase the production of ATP, adenosine triphosphate. So, this will help increase your energy and stamina. To clarify, it does this by increasing cellular oxygen absorption, significant effects on exercise performance and endurance under simulated high altitude conditions. As a result, it has been shown to increase nitric oxide levels in the body. Thus, leading to improved circulation and oxygen delivery during physical activity.
Turkey tail mushrooms have been known for its strong immune boosting, cellular regenerative, and gut supportive properties. On top of gut health, turkey tail is abundant in prebiotics, which feed the health bacteria in your gut microbiome. This results in better digestive health. Turkey tail, full of benefits from the antioxidants, which are important in boosting your immune function.
Spirulina, otherwise known as blue-green algae. Above all, it is such a powerful antioxidant that I refuse to live without it. Recently became a popular antioxidant addition to many recipes. Moreover, the benefits of spirulina have been widely known. But if you are new to this super-food, this supplement will change your life. According to Selmi C, Leung PS, Fischer L, et al, spirulina is “among the most nutritionally packed’ dietary supplements available”(2). Spirulina grows naturally in lakes and ponds, where it feeds on sunlight and organic matter. If you eat spirulina, it will provide your body with protein and essential amino acids.
But is spirulina good for you? Well, the answer depends largely on your diet and lifestyle. Smoothie bowls take on a wonderful blue-green hue when you add in some spirulina powder. The benefits one can gain from adding spirulina to their diet include greater immune system function, anti-inflammatory properties, a decrease in seasonal allergy symptoms, and vitamins and minerals.
Pitaya, commonly known as dragon fruit, is such a colorful and yummy supplement. However, it is an uncommon fruit to see in the United States because it grows best in tropical climates. Pitaya is made with fruit that comes from a cactus plant in South America. The color alone is a gorgeous bright pink. However, don’t be fooled by the pretty color alone. So, this is a powerful antioxidant that leaves most other fruits in the dust.
Is pitaya good for you? Pitaya is a type of tropical fruit that people eat as part of their diet to reduce stress and anxiety. For example, pitaya contains antioxidants, which can help your cells protect themselves from free radicals, boost your immune system, and reduce stress and anxiety.
I love to use pitaya for many of my recipes. For instance, you can slice up some pitaya for a fruit salad or blend it into a smoothie bowl. The flesh of the fruit resembles a kiwi, and the seeds can help aid digestion. I love pitaya powder to give an antioxidant boost to my baked goods or smoothies. I have a recipe for “pretty pink dust” that I sprinkle on oatmeal too. This magical fruit can strengthen immune function, help detox the body, and provide adequate doses of vitamins including vitamin C and vitamin B.
In addition, to learning about this list of adaptogens, if you’re ready to try some recipes with adaptogens? Check out my chocolate pumpkin pie spiced truffle recipe.
(1): Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 34(3), 255–262. http://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.106022
(2): Selmi, C., Leung, P. S., Fischer, L., German, B., Yang, C.-Y., Kenny, T. P., … Gershwin, M. E. (2011). The effects of Spirulina on anemia and immune function in senior citizens. Cellular and Molecular Immunology, 8(3), 248–254. http://doi.org/10.1038/cmi.2010.76
Connect and Let’s Discuss This List of Adaptogens and Their Benefits!
So, I would love to hear if you had ever included adaptogens mushrooms in your benefits and wellness routine. Did you find this list of benefits for adaptogens, herbs, tonics, and antioxidants helpful? Let me know what your experience has been with using adaptogens. You can also connect with me @Eat_Your_Nutrition on Instagram. I love seeing your photos. #EatYourNutrition #LauraVillanueva
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