Eating This Can Help Reduce Stress
It’s called an adaptogen and you’re probably already eating it.
What would this month be without a seemingly never-before-discovered and absolutely crucial superfood you must (MUST!) include in your morning smoothies? It would be nothing!
Okay, not really. But let’s bring you up to speed on the term you’re about to see on health food menus everywhere (and eventually on beauty product labels, too—because, marketing): adaptogens. Naturally, like with any super-scientific-y term that’s popped up on our Google search, we had questions. Like, what the eff is this “magical” extract? How does it work? How can we get more of it? Wait, will our life go on without it?! Friends, the answers lie below.
What Are Adaptogens?
To put it simply: super-herbs and mushrooms. “Adaptogens are plant extracts that improve the body’s ability to adapt to physical, chemical and biological stress (i.e. intense workouts, inflammation, and hectic work days),” explains LA-based nutritionist Shira Lenchewski, M.S., RD. “Adaptogens work as powerful antioxidants to minimize the adverse effects that prolonged stress.”
There are three different “types” of adaptogens (all of them non-toxic, offering multiple far-reaching assistance to bring the body back to equipoise):
Maca, ginseng, panax ginseng, and rhodiola.
Ashwagandha, basil, moringa, and reishi.
Licorice and astragalus.
How They Work
“Adaptogens enhance the body’s resistance and resilience to stress by strengthening the immune, nervous and glandular systems (involved in hormonal control),” says Lenchewski. Think of it like ying to your yang—you’ll end up more balanced.
How To Work Them Into Your Diet
Just like most superfoods, adaptogens are available in a myriad of forms—from pills and supplements to powders, tea, and tinctures—they're easy AF to slip into your coconut water or smoothies.