You might have heard about adaptogens while scrolling on the internet or read health supplement labels that touted adaptogens in their title while browsing the aisles of the supermarket. Have you ever stopped and wondered – what exactly are adaptogens? For the answer to that question, as well as the who, what, when, where, why and how on adaptogens and whether they’re right for you, keep reading. In this article, we’ll be covering a wide range of topics including:
Adaptogens might sound like an element on the Periodic table, and, well, that wouldn’t be super far off from the truth. Adaptogens are a plant compound derived from specific herbs and mushrooms, and they’re believed to provide a variety of health benefits if taken consistently over an extended period of time. The ingredient is thought to help combat stress by allowing the body to adjust to stressors that are physical, chemical, or biological. Over time, this can help the body to adapt and remain more consistently at a balanced stress level.
While adaptogens have been an up and coming health trend in the United States for the past few years, the history of adaptogens goes way back to traditional medicine practices in areas like the Middle East and East Asia. One theory surrounding how adaptogens work centers on how the chemical in the compounds target the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, also called the HPA, in order to adapt the body to stress responses. The HPA axis is the interaction between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands, which are all central to stress responses.
These parts of the brain are in charge of the secretion of epinephrine and norepinephrine, which are hormones that send signals to the body when you experience a stressful situation. When the chemicals found in adaptogens target the HPA axis, the secretion of these stress hormones can regain balance.
Adaptogens can come in many different forms, both naturally and in health supplement products. Out in the wilderness, you can stumble upon adaptogens if you go mushroom hunting, though we recommend not eating the mushrooms you find without consulting a verifiable source. Adaptogens can also be found in herbs and spices like turmeric, maca, nettle, and wild blueberries.
Outside of the wild and into the grocery store or a wellness shop, adaptogens can be found in the form of powders, pills, and integrated into other health-boosting foods. Here at Healthy Skoop, our favorite way of incorporating adaptogens into a balanced diet is through the Healthy Skoop Plant-Based Adaptogens Sweetgreens.
Mixing the Healthy Skoop powder with water, plant milk, dairy milk, juice, or in a smoothie is the perfect way to implement adaptogens into your daily life and maintain homeostasis. The plant-based supplement consists of organic veggies, greens, and grasses that not only contain adaptogens, but also probiotics and fiber to promote gut health.
So now that you have a little bit of a better idea of what exactly adaptogens are, you might be wondering if they’re right for you. Adding adaptogens into your diet might be right for you if you’re hoping to lower your stress levels and maintain a more balanced lifestyle. Adaptogens are not a cure-all to stress and anxiety, but they might help you to relax and unwind.
You have the ultimate say on whether adaptogens are right for you, and if you’re not sure, always consult your doctor before adding a new supplement to your daily routine. If taken in high doses, adaptogens can be harmful to the body so always make sure to check with a healthcare professional to see what dose of adaptogens works best for you.
What time of the day should you be taking your adaptogens? Does it make a difference? There are all different kinds of adaptogens on the market today, including stimulating adaptogens that help to give you the boost of energy that can help you to get through your day and calming adaptogens that can help you to relax after a long day.
Health supplement experts recommend that those taking stimulating adaptogens should take their supplement before 3pm in order to reap the most benefits. This can help you to get through a chaotic day and maintain your energy well into the afternoon. If you’re taking your adaptogen supplement in the morning, an easy and tasty way to add it to your routine is by incorporating it into a breakfast smoothie. For an easy-to-follow guide for how to craft the perfect adaptogen-packed morning shake, check out this post from Healthy Skoop.
For adaptogens that have a calming effect, like holy basil, the time that you take them does not impact their efficacy much. Because they’re calming, they can be taken in the daytime or in the evening right before bed. Depending on your preference and lifestyle, it can be calming to have a nighttime routine involving an adaptogen-filled hot tea right before bed.
Now that we’ve covered the time of day to take adaptogens, you might be wondering what point in your life an adaptogen might be beneficial to your health. Because adaptogens are a naturally forming compound found in many common ingredients like mushrooms and spices, there is no age limit to consume natural adaptogens. In fact, it can be nutritious for children and young adults to be incorporating these types of spices and foods into their diet. Some doctors have even recommended adaptogens for toddlers struggling with allergies.
As for adaptogen-based supplements, the right age for them depends on whether you have a need for the supplement. It’s safe to incorporate natural adaptogens into your diet at any age, but if you’re thinking about upping your daily intake through the form of a supplement, you should consult your doctor and consider whether it could help you relieve chronic stress. If you begin taking adaptogen supplements and are considering switching to a different type, contact your doctor about the switch.
If you’re starting your hunt for adaptogens and aren’t sure where to begin, the best places to go are either online or to a local health grocery store. Browsing the Healthy Skoop website is a great place to start if you’re looking for healthy, well-rounded supplement options that are a tasty addition to any diet. For natural options, most grocery stores should carry a variety of adaptogens – you might just have to search for them.
Browse your store’s herb and spice section to look for adaptogen-rich options or head over to the produce aisle for some mushrooms to add to your meals. Some grocery stores might also carry health supplements that contain adaptogens, though the range of selection varies by location.
These are just a few of the ways that you can begin to incorporate adaptogens into your daily routine, but there are a variety more out there. Explore what works best for you and what your preferences are to get the best possible adaptogen experience.
The most common ways that adaptogens are consumed is through adaptogen-filled foods and health supplements that come in the form of powders, pills, or tinctures. These methods are the easiest way to ensure that you’re getting a healthy dose of adaptogens, as well as other vitamins and minerals at the same time.
One of the tastiest ways to take your daily adaptogen serving is by incorporating it into a greens breakfast smoothie. These smoothies are the perfect way to get a healthy serving of vegetables and fruits to start off your day. Adding an adaptogen powder to your shake will be virtually tasteless but you’ll still reap the same benefits of eating a food with adaptogens in it.
The beauty of crafting your own breakfast blend with adaptogens is how much you can customize your drink to your preferences. Like your smoothies thicker? Add a thickening agent like bananas or oats to add texture. Like your smoothies with a strong kick of citrus? Squeeze a lemon or a lime right into your creation. Want a creamier blend? Try out some nut milk to get a flavorful blend with nutrition. There are no wrong ways to make a breakfast smoothie, so long as you start with a leafy green as your foundation and add some vitamins either naturally or with a health supplement.
For some more ideas on how to create the ultimate breakfast shake with adaptogens, check out this guide from Healthy Skoop.
Adaptogens have been touted for their stress-relieving benefits and calming qualities – and for good reason. But if you’re still wondering, so why should I start taking adaptogens? We’ve got you covered.
As mentioned before, adaptogens target the HPA axis, and therefore the Hippocampus, which can reduce the impact of this stress and help to lessen the impact of the stress hormone cortisol in the long-term.
Aside from stress’s impact on the brain, the hormones released from extended periods of distress can contribute to high blood pressure, fat accumulation, insulin resistance, and inflammation. These conditions can reduce a person’s lifespan by years and cause conditions like type II diabetes and other cardiovascular conditions. Reducing your stress can help you save years of your life, so don’t wait until it’s too late to relax!
While adaptogens can help to reduce stress when used consistently over a long period of time, they cannot make your stress disappear overnight. Adaptogens are best used alongside a healthy lifestyle and diet. Making choices that support your health – like eating balanced and vegetable-packed meals, getting enough sleep each night, consistently exercising, and taking time to relax and unwind each day – will allow you to see the most growth in yourself.
More and more research is coming out about the health benefits of adaptogens each day, but there is still a hearty amount of testing that must be conducted before its benefits can be confirmed. If you’re looking for a quick fix to reduce your stress, adaptogens might not be your answer. Slowly changing your lifestyle choices and adopting new habits is your best option towards reducing your worries and leading a happier life.
Now that you know the who, what, when, where, and how of adaptogens, it’s time to race to the supermarket and find yourself some adaptogen-packed foods or health supplements. Again, to make sure that it’s the right option for you, consult a healthcare professional before incorporating adaptogens into your lifestyle.