I’ve been a big fan of adaptogens ever since I was dealing with some cortisol imbalances and adrenal fatigue, and use them on a regular basis for both boosting my energy and for relaxation and managing stress. Whilst that may sound like a contradiction the beauty of adaptogens is that they can do both – they adapt to what the body needs, hence the name!
What is an Adaptogen?
An adaptogen is a compound from a herb or fungus that can both protect the body against the damaging effects of stress, whilst strengthening and boosting the body after prolonged periods of stress.
The difference between adaptogens and stimulants such as caffeine is that stimulants provide a short term energy boost (you can almost think of it as ‘false’ energy), whereas adaptogens strengthen the bodies energy production systems whilst simultaneously helping the body manage stress, helping your body produce ‘real’ energy.
Stimulants can often have negative side effects on the body too (such as extraneously raising cortisol levels), whereas because adaptogens give the body what it needs they have no side effects.
Adaptogens have been used in Eastern medicine for centuries, and came into use in Western society in 1947 when the Soviet Union started using them on their soldiers to help strengthen and protect them!
Some of the more common adaptogens you may have heard of are:
As well as having an amazing balancing effect on the body, regularly including adaptogens in your diet can improve your immune system, blood sugar levels, and mood and cognitive function!
So what are you waiting for?? Adaptogens can be amazing for your health without any downsides, and it is so easy to add them into your everyday diet and wellness routine.
Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes featuring my favorite energizing adaptogen, Maca Root, that I first discovered in its raw form when hiking the Inca Trail in Peru – its really packs a punch!
Maca and Cacao Smoothie
1 scoop chocolate vegan protein powder (I like True Nutrition Rice Protein)
1 teaspoon maca powder (I like Navitas Naturals Maca Powder)
1 teaspoon cacao powder
1.5 cups almond milk (I like Califia Farms)
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth!