5 Adaptogen Superfoods to Combat Stress

July 2019 - Nutrition

Stress can impact our lives in several various ways, including taking a toll on the quality of our sleep. This actually makes sense; when we are stressed, we may slip under the covers feeling anxious and worried, making it difficult to fall asleep. This explains why chronic stress sufferers typically experience difficulty beating insomnia. Remember, deep sleep and the production of stress hormones, are controlled by the same brain chemicals. Thus, if you miss out on quality sleep, stress hormone production levels may become abnormal, leading to stress. Once you become stressed, you may experience difficulty sleeping, which could, in turn, result in more stress. This cycle may continue, leading to chronic stress and other complications.

The Super World of Adaptogens
So how do we prevent this cycle of stress and lack of sleep? For many years, superfoods have been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Today, these adaptogens enjoy the full backing of scientists as one of the safest stress, fatigue, and anxiety relievers. Here are some adaptogens to help send your stress and its effects packing:

1. Moringa
Moringa is one of the most amazing adaptogens. It is loaded with a unique combination of nutrients, including antioxidants, amino acids, and vitamins, which are suitable for trouble sleeping and stress. Theoretically, it is possible to find these nutrients in other foods, but you will need to consume a combination of various different foods and supplements to get the same nutrient concentration which moringa offers. With moringa being one go-to solution, it is little wonder that many people prefer this adaptogen to many food supplements.

The leaves of the moringa contain a type of amino acid known as tryptophan, which, together with vitamin B6, riboflavin, and iron (which are naturally found in moringa), can be converted into serotonin, not just for healthy sleep but for mood stability as well. Serotonin, which is especially famed for its role in anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications, is also known to treat anxiety-related insomnia.

2. Maca
When you’re under a period of stress, your body uses a lot of energy. Since the energy derived from food may not be enough to deal with the pressure, the body will be forced to rely on its energy reserves. This may result in a draining state, which could get worse. Fortunately, maca can help your body to develop tolerance to stress. Of course, it won’t bring a rush of energy such as coffee would do; being an adaptogen, maca takes time to fight stress healthily.

Known to be a hormone balancer, maca balances the body hormones by controlling the functioning of the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus. Once the entire hormone (endocrine) system is balanced, your body will be able to effectively keep stress and its effects at bay, despite the presence of stressors. Your mind will be able to relax, and you will sleep healthily. Besides maintaining the body’s equilibrium status, maca contains flavonoids, which act as mood boosters. Being a stimulant, maca also increases body stamina and keeps your well-being in a pleasant state.

3. Ashwagandha
Ashwagandha is an incredible adaptogen that is very popular, especially in the Ayurvedic tradition. As confirmed by studies, it calms stress by reducing the secretion of cortisol from the adrenal glands. Ashwagandha is also known to contain anti-inflammatory properties. One great thing about it is that can both boost energy levels and calm you. For instance, if you’re deprived of sleep as a result of say, jet lag, you can use Ashwagandha to get through the day. Always look for a root form of Ashwagandha like KSM66 for potency and quality.

4. Turmeric
Turmeric, which is also known as Curcuma longa, is a herb, which has for a long time been used as the main component of two Chinese stress and depression medicines: Xiaoyao-san and Jieyu-wan. Turmeric contains curcumin as the active component, which improves hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis dysfunction related to stress. HPA axis is our body’s central stress response system. A properly functioning HPA maintains our body’s ability to adapt to stress.

5. Chinese Hawthorn
Chinese Hawthorn has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy and is known as a key part of traditional Chinese medicine.  This small red berry contains high amounts of polyphenols, which is a powerful antioxidant found in plants known for its ability to lower the risk of type 2 diabetes, asthma, premature skin aging and some cancers. Studies indicate hawthorn may reduce blood pressure, and blood fat levels, in addition to also boosting your immune system, Chinese Hawthorn can anxiety and aid in digestion. In the end, managing stress and sleep is not simply taking powder or pills. We must practice proper stress care, which often begins with our thoughts, daily nutrition and relationships with others. Creating healthy sleep hygiene habits such as reduced evening blue light, consistent bedtime, meditation and magnesium rich foods are all strategies to achieve the recommended 8hrs of sleep. However, adding adaptogenic superfoods to your daily regime is an excellent way to assist your body in finding balance and overall health.

Aeryon Ashlie is the founder of Aeryon Wellness, #1 Best Selling Author, On-air Radio Personality and Holistic Fitness Specialist. Aeryon is a strong believer in the Holistic Intuitive Approach, and her latest venture of support supplements are a result of personal experience with adrenal, weight management and sleep issues. The intention of Aeryon Wellness is to create products that offer support and provide education regarding the importance of the connection between mind, body and spirit to overall health and wellness. For more on these products, books, or upcoming events please visit www.aeryonwellness.com.

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