Adaptogens and Adrenals, Your Holiday Guide to Managing Stress
The holidays are coming! Sounds exciting, eh? To some people, the holidays are a time of fun & festivity, but who are we kidding? This is 2020, so anything could happen!
While I love everything fall, especially pumpkins, witches and chili, it leads up to Black Friday and the stress that comes with it. There's the family gatherings, the cooking and the unwanted guests who overstay their welcome.
How to deal? In a word - Adaptogens!
Adaptogens, Chronic Stress, and the HPA Axis
To understand how adaptogens work we must understand how the “HPA axis” works to keep us balanced, and what we need to do when we get off balance.
"Your hypothalamus is the part of your brain that recognizes stress. When you are stressed, your hypothalamus signals your pituitary gland, and they both in turn signal your adrenals to produce and release stress hormones. This is known as your HPA (Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis.
Chronic stress keeps your HPA axis constantly engaged. Not only is this bad news for your overall health–affecting your mood, sleep, libido, immune system, blood sugar, appetite, thyroid, and much more–it’s also terribly taxing to your adrenal glands and micronutrient reserves.
Your adrenal glands have to work incredibly hard to keep up with the demand of being constantly engaged, which can fatigue them and lead to adrenal dysfunction and burnout.
Adaptogenic herbs support a more balanced response to ongoing stress, regulating stress hormone and cortisol production in order to prevent adrenal fatigue and HPA axis dysfunction.
Adaptogens also help modulate cellular sensitivity to stress hormones, thereby encouraging a healthier response to stress overall," says Dr. Amy Meyers MD.
So, what herbs can help you restore that delicate balance when you feel wired yet tired yet can't sleep?
After all, sleep is when our bodies rebuild, repair and restore. Without sleep, we lose our innate ability to heal ourselves. That's where adaptogenic teas come in handy.
NUMBER ONE ADAPTOGEN FOR STRESS & SLEEP -ASHWAGANDHA
"Decreases anxiety and stress: Several human studies show that ashwagandha decreases anxiety, stress, c-reactive protein and cortisol. The decrease in cortisol is worth talking about, especially when you compare the effects of ashwagandha to those of other stress-reducing supplements. Studies show ashwagandha decreased stress 14.5-27.9% in healthy but stressed people.
Improves memory: Another cool thing about ashwagandha is that it shows promise in improving memory formation. This could be important in research for treating Alzheimer’s patients. More large human studies are needed to show how and why this adaptogen might be effective, but there is research to suggest that ashwagandha could reverse the effects of neurological toxins associated with neurodegenerative diseases," according to Bulletproof coffee founder Dave Asprey.
Top three benefits we love about ashwagandha:
reduces stress and anxiety
lowers cortisol, the "stress hormone"
ASHWAGANDHA STRESS RELIEF SMOOTHIE
1 frozen banana
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup almond butter
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp. cinnamon powder
1 tsp. honey or sweetener of your choice
Add ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
Pour smoothie into a glass and enjoy!