STRESS: HOW ANTIOXIDANTS & ADAPTOGENS CAN HELP YOUR BODY COPE
Antioxidants and adaptogens can be quite beneficial to protecting our bodies against the effects of stress. Antioxidants help protect against free radicals that can harm the body. Fruits and vegetables are nutritionally dense in antioxidants. Adaptogens help the body adapt to stress, hence the word “adapt” is the key part of the word adaptogen. There are several supplements that like to incorporate into my diet.
Ashwagandha: “Ashwagandha root extract improves an individual's resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life” (1). I like to use ashwagandha root powder in my smoothies and baked goods.
Turmeric: Turmeric, otherwise known as curcumin, is a herbaceous plant. Curcumin studies have shown to lower inflammation in the body. Turmeric root is typically used in recipes or ground up to add to flavor cuisine. I like to add freshly grated turmeric into my smoothies. Turmeric on its own will metabolize quickly before the benefits are made available to the body. To addition of black pepper increases the bioavailability of the turmeric. A pinch of black pepper and turmeric powder added to rice, smoothies, and golden milk are great ways that I 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: Maca is a herbaceous plant used in the Andean societies. Maca root powder wonderful adaptogen to help with energy, mood, and hormonal levels. It is also high in antioxidants and help increase stamina. Maca has a very earthy taste. I add this powder to my green smoothies to give me extra energy during the day.
Medicinal mushrooms: Medicinal mushrooms can help with inflammation and stress in the body. Reishi mushrooms help lower stress, improve the immune system and provide a sense of calm to the body. Reishi can also help the detoxification process within the body.
Spirit dust by Moon Juice is a personal favorite of mine. You can mix this powder into water, milk, smoothies, coffee or teas. This powder is a specific blend of medicinal mushrooms, ashwagandha root, and Astragalus root.
Spirulina: Spirulina, otherwise known as blue-green algae, is such a powerful antioxidant that I refuse to live without. The benefits of spirulina are widely known, but if you are new to this superfood, this supplement will change your life. According to Selmi C, Leung PS, Fischer L, et al, spirulina is “amongst the most ‘nutritionally packed' dietary supplement available” (2). 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 vitamin and minerals.
Pitaya: Pitaya or commonly known as dragon fruit is such a colorful and yummy supplement. The color alone is a gorgeous bright pink. Don’t be fooled by the pretty color alone, this is a powerful antioxidant that leaves most other fruits in the dust. You can slice up some pitaya for a fruit salad or blend into a smoothie bowl. The flesh of the fruit resembles that of a kiwi and the seeds can help aid in digestion. I love pitaya powder to give an antioxidant boost to my baked goods or smoothies. This magical fruit can strengthen immune function, helps to detox the body and provide a fair dose of vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin B.
(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
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