If you are passionate about leading a healthy, happy life, then nutrients like vitamins and minerals may make it onto your daily shopping list, but… adaptogens? They sound unique, exotic, yet they are simply herbs and plant compounds that will give you more energy and balance important hormones. Adaptogens can also help you lose weight because they are powerful stress busters that take the anxiety out of dieting. Often, our greatest downfall when trying to lose weight, is the unbalanced way we approach it – either by counting calories excessively, following the latest fads, or stressing out when we don’t achieve our goals as quickly as we’d like to. In reality, long-term weight loss involves balance, the kind that adaptogens can help us achieve.
What Does It Take to Be an Adaptogen?
Adaptogens are a unique
group of herbal ingredients used to improve the health of your hormonal system. In order to be officially considered an ‘adaptogen’, a herb or plant must fulfil three criteria:
- It must be safe.
- It must battle stress in a non-specific way (i.e. it must help the body react to all types of stressors). As noted in evolutionhealth.com, “Essentially, the ability for the body to adapt to unfavorable biological, chemical and psychological conditions provides an effective defence and means for survival.”
- It tends to bring back any dysfunctional body system to homeostasis. When combined, each adaptogenic plant builds on the therapeutic attribute of the others, working in harmonious synergy.
Soviet specialist in the study of adaptogens, N Lazarev, notes that what makes adaptogens so unique is not just the high level of vitamins and mineral they contain, but also the complex way that these nutrients are combined.
How Can Adaptogens Help Us Lose Weight?
One of the biggest stumbling blocks when it comes to weight loss, is stress. Dieters tend to want big results, fast. Thus, they sometimes resort to desperate measures, hopping on the latest diet trend, hovering between cycles of starving and bingeing, getting frustrated and giving up when things don’t go as they wish. Focusing too much on the scale, eating too many or too few calories and neglecting important foods such as proteins and fiber are common diet pitfalls that need changing if real success is to be achieved. To lose weight, balance is key; this means following a sound diet made up of quality sources of proteins, fruits and vegetables and nuts, but it also means exercising regularly.
Balance is also essential; adaptogens can help us achieve this by giving us more vitality to work out and by lowering stress levels so we view dieting from a healthy, mindful perspective.
What Additional Benefits do Adaptogens Bestow?
Because adaptogens can ‘magically’ work out what your body needs, they are helpful for numerous systems, processes and conditions. For instance, they regulate the adrenal system, which balances out your body’s hormonal response to stress.
How to Take Adaptogens?
Adaptogens come in many forms, including pills, tinctures, and roots. One of the most popular is Siberian ginseng, taken in root form to sharpen the memory and deal with stress (avoid this one if you are trying to lose weight, though, since it increases the appetite). Also interesting are St. John’s Wort (which improves mood), Panax ginseng (one of the very best, since it improves mental functioning and lowers blood sugar and blood pressure levels), Ganoderma/Reishi mushrooms (another strong stress buster), and pine pollen (which is also rich in a wealth of vitamins, including Vitamins A, D, E and various B vitamins). There are many more adaptogens in the world, though, so it is important to do your research and discover which ones are most suited to your needs.
For a big boost in energy, just add a blend of adaptogens to your morning juice or smoothie. In addition to feeling more energetic, you will also find that your mood improves and you are better equipped to handle stress, both mentally and physically. Adaptogens will ensure that you never feel so anxious you need to nibble on unhealthy food or indulge in harmful habits – for they truly are one of nature’s greatest wonders.
Make sure you try to live healthy everyday, and your life will be happier always.
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Jane Sandwood is a professional freelance writer with over 10 years’ experience across many fields. After working as a nutritionist, Jane has a particular interest in issues relating to health, fitness and nutrition.