Adapta-what? Meet the new stress, fatigue and age fighting super-herbs
By Jasmin Lim
In an age of stress and fatigue, we all too often turn to caffeine and sugar to get us through those morning and afternoon slumps. Those days of a morning fix-me-up long black and afternoon trip to the bakery are all too familiar to me... But as we all know, all too well, caffeine and sugar don’t actually work. They may offer a quick lift, but the crash is never far behind, leading to another trip to the local café or convenience store – turning your day into a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows. Since my days of caffeine and sugar loaded rollercoaster rides, I have since discovered a much healthier and steady way of getting through the day. Introducing adaptogens.
These super-herbs aren’t called adapt-ogens for no reason. They help improve the health of your adrenal system, the system in charge of managing your body’s hormonal response to stress, and by doing so they help you adapt to stress and enhance your ability to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue – now are those some serious X-men skills or what?
So what’s it all got to do with ageing?
There are two metabolic mechanisms involved in ageing that are constantly operating in our bodies called anabolism and catabolism. Anabolism is a restorative, healing, balancing process, while catabolism is active and degenerative. Chronic stress, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, unhealthy relationships, excessive sugar, excessive caffeine, excessive alcohol and smoking are all factors that increase catabolism; leading to fatigue, depression, insomnia, anxiety, weight imbalance and overall signs of ageing. Adaptogens increase anabolic mechanisms, countering those harmful catabolic mechanisms and restoring your body to a positive homeostasis – helping us age more gracefully!
So… what exactly is an Adaptogen?
Now you might be thinking that all sounds great, but where the hell do I get my hands on this weirdly named new herb that I have never heard of? Well, you might be surprised to find out that Adaptogens are actually older than your daily cappuccino, having been used in Chinese and Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to boost energy and resilience in the face of stress. Common adaptogens include Ginseng, Reishi, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Turmeric, Moringa and Cordyceps – all of which can be found in many of our organic cold pressed juices and nut mylks, as well as organic health food stores.
So there you have it, our guide to avoiding that rocky rollercoaster - and no, I am not recommending that you drink, smoke, eat candy, have the most stressful job ever and just pill-pop Adaptogens all day, errday… It’s all about balance. Adaptogens will help remove your reliance on unhealthy quick fixes like caffeine and sugar, and have you well on your way to adapt-ogen-ing your way to a more stress free, energetic and youthful you.