Stress. We can’t seem to get away from it. Whether through the tough project at work with hard deadlines or the emotional stress of handling a mental trauma. It’s inevitable that we will go through life with some kind of stress whether it be good or bad. Our body has a mechanism in response to a demand or threat used to protect us.
When our body is always in a state of fight-or-flight it has a hard time turning “off.” Sleeping becomes more difficult and fatigue ever looms in the distance. If only there was a way to handle stress better and not feel like your insides and brain are on fire all the time!
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What are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are plants, specifically herbs, that help our bodies handle stress better. They’ve been used for centuries in ancient medicines and today have been researched to reduce fatigue and increase mental work capacity.
Adaptogens in general help to manage all kinds of stress whether emotional or physiological. They work with the individual to bring their body back to homeostasis, or balance.
For example, when you are stressed the body releases cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for releasing blood sugar into the body for use of energy in the event. If it’s prolonged stress, what an adaptogen will do is step in to reduce the levels of cortisol in your body.
There are many types of adaptogens such as Chaga mushroom, reishi mushroom, ashwagandha, and ginseng that are more commonly known and used around the world.
What are the Health Benefits of Adaptogens?
Research has shown that adaptogens help the hormones responsible for chronic stress turn off when they need to. Cortisol specifically is a hormone that with prolonged exposure can cause bone and muscle breakdown, fatigue, depression, and memory impairments.
Adaptogens keep cortisol at levels that are appropriate for the body’s optimal functioning. It also helps protect the brain from any impairments as a result of stress enabling one to think more clearly with an improved attention span.
How do Adaptogens Help with Calmness?
What adaptogens do is work at the cellular level to “push out” the stress that is taking place within the cell. More specifically it starts in two glands that maintain your body’s unique balance and hormones that keep your body running the way it needs to.
When the body is in a state of stress it goes through three stages: alarm, resistance and exhaustion. For example, when you’re working at an incredibly demanding job with tight deadlines and a difficult boss. Your body releases specific hormones in response to those multiple events to help you get the work done.
Those hormones increase your heart rate and breathing, delivering more oxygen throughout your body to enable you to focus on the task at hand. When the stressful situation has removed itself the body returns to your prestressed state.
However, if the stress continues on your body will never know when to turn the stress response off, continuing the release of cortisol. This will place the body in a chronic state of exhaustion and fatigue making your body unable to cope with stress.
Adaptogens help your body to manage stress essentially calming your insides. They come in at the second stage of resistance helping your body to turn off the stress response helping you handle the stress better.
Research shows that adaptogens can help increase attention and endurance in periods of fatigue and improve the pathways within the endocrine system that respond to stress. Leaving you more rested and calm!
Can Adaptogens Help With Sleep?
If your body is in a constant state of exhaustion due to stress, sleep is absolutely essential in its repair and recovery. When adaptogens are consumed they help to reduce cortisol levels, which decreases your body’s stress response to ensure you’re getting a good night’s sleep.
Ashwagandha has been heavily researched showing improvements in sleep quality and one’s ability to get to sleep faster.
Others that have been researched show improvements in sleep quality and include: resihi, rhodiola and ginseng.
Are There Any Risks to Taking Adaptogens?
For the healthy individual who doesn’t exceed the recommended dosage amounts can easily take adaptogens. As always before taking any supplement it is advised to consult your doctor who can be sure it doesn’t cause specific harm to you.
With all adaptogens you won’t have to take it forever. Once your body is back to homeostasis, it no longer needs the use of adaptogens!
Adaptogen Smoothie Recipe
If you’re looking to get started and try adaptogens to help you manage your stress you can take them in supplement form or use the recovery adaptogen supplement from Naked Nutrition. You can add it to your favorite smoothie, beverage or juice blends.
Use the recipe below for some inspiration and be sure to use a blender:
- One to two scoops of Naked Recovery
- 8 oz of 100% orange juice (or any other fruit beverage)
- ½ ripe banana
- Water as needed to adjust for consistency