I first discovered what Adaptogens were when researching best practice to help reduce effects of stress on the body. I have previously mentioned the impact the stress hormone Cortisol has on preventing fat loss, (see article on Cortisol).
Adaptogens are a unique group of herbal ingredients used to improve the health of your adrenal system, the system that's in charge of managing your body's hormonal response to stress
Here are some of the best Adaptogens.
Top Adaptogen Herbs
Ginseng is the most well-known adaptogen and Asian ginseng is considered the most potent. It can be used for improving mental performance and your ability to withstand stress.
Holy Basil is known in India as the "elixir of anti-aging". Studies suggest that holy basil can help you fight fatigue and stress, boost your immune system, and regulate blood sugar, blood pressure and hormone levels.
Ashwaganda is often referred to as Indian ginseng. Often used in Ayurvedic medicine, ashwaganda regulates the immune system and eases anxiety. Ashwaganda has immuno-modulating effects that boost your immune system and aid the body in lower cortisol levels.
Astragalus root is used in Chinese medicine. It boosts immunity and buffers the effects of stress. It increases the amount of anti-stress compounds our bodies use to repair and prevent stress-related damage. It may also reduce the ability of stress hormones like cortisol to bind to receptors.
Rhodiola is a potent adaptogen that has been the focus of much research. Rhodiola provides a buffer to stress-related mental and physical fatigue.
Rhodiola suppresses the production of cortisol and increases levels of stress-resistant proteins. Studies have found that it restores normal patterns of eating and sleeping after stress, combats mental and physical fatigue, protects against oxidative stress, heat stress, radiation and exposure to toxic chemicals. Rhodiola protects the heart and liver, increases use of oxygen, improves memory and may extend longevity.
Give them a try and reduce your STRESS!
James Clare BSc Nutrition
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