Adaptogens are herbal substances that help the body adapt to stress. Most adaptogens contain antioxidants, which help the body fight stress and free- radicals or cancer causing substances. Adaptogens are used more often in Eastern medicine and herbal medicine and are considered a more holistic substance. Taking adaptogens (when following the correct dosage from your doctor, dietitian, or naturopath) will likely not cause harm to your body, but will help heal it. There is emerging research on some adaptogens and how they positively impact the body, but more research is necessary to solidify the claims.
Examples of Adaptogens:
- Ashwaganda- contains anti-cancer properties and can help reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels
- Maca- high in vitamin C, copper, and iron, said to help balance hormone levels
- Turmeric- reduce inflammation, boosts activity of the body’s antioxidant production
- Ginseng- increase energy, reduce inflammation
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom- is said to improve cognitive function and has anti- fatigue properties
Adaptogens can easily be incorporated into your cooking. While you can often find them in supplement form, why not throw them into some of your favorite dishes? Most offer interesting flavor profiles; Turmeric is a beautiful bright yellow color that can be added to grains like quinoa or couscous and add a bit of spice. Maca can be thrown into a smoothie and you won’t even taste it.
Here are some recipes featuring some of these adaptogens:
- Golden Milk with Turmeric
- Peanut Butter and Jelly Smoothie with Maca
- Apricot Almond Chia Porridge with Maca and Ashwagandha
- Lemongrass Ginseng Tea
Adaptogens have been used by various cultures for thousands of years. Each has it’s own purpose for what it can help regulate, but overall, every adaptogen will help the body adapt to the stressors of daily living. Are you interested in trying adaptogens? Talk to your dietian!