Do you ever feel weighed down by the day-to-day stress? Do you wake up feeling primed and ready for the day, or are you groggy? Are you chronically fatigued from the day before and the day before that but have difficulty falling asleep at night because you suddenly feel energetic just when it's time to get to bed? Well, let's start off by saying you are certainly not alone, and even better, there is something out there to help combat all of those feelings. All of those things you feel are built-in responses for times of high stress, often known as the fight-or-flight response or cortisol. You know the drill - heart rate and blood pressure increase, stomach is in knots, and your brain is on hyper-alert status. And while at times this is normal, our bodies weren't meant to have these floods of cortisol pumping through them all the time. It's just too much!
Here at Grown Strong, we've found the secret weapon: adaptogens. And if you're anything like us when we first heard the word, you're probably asking yourself, "What the heck is an adaptogen, and why do I need it?" Adaptogens are a class of herbs that have been used to help us respond to the metabolic imbalances caused by persistent or chronic stress. In human terms, they stick to the nature of their name by helping us to "adapt." They've been shown to have a 'balancing effect' on our bodies' processes and mitigate the effects of chronic stress such as:
Difficulty falling and staying asleep at night
Waking up foggy-brained, groggy
Cravings increased (salty or sweet)
Blood sugar dysregulation
Poor recovery from workouts
Difficulty losing weight/weight gain despite 'proper' nutrition and exercise
The symptoms above could be a sign that stress has gotten the best of you, and rather than trying to ride them out, adaptogens are a great way to help support your body.
If you are thinking, "Okay! Cool! I'm sold on adaptogens. So where can I find them?
Luckily, there are many different kinds of adaptogens out there, both in food and supplement form. And while it's great that we can find them all over, that can be overwhelming. Don't worry though, we're here to break a few down for you so you can find what's right for you.
If you're someone who is experiencing the "wired but tired" feeling of fatigue, this is a good choice for you. Ashwagandha may also be beneficial in some hypothyroid conditions, aid in fatigue and sleep, along with reducing stress and anxiety. All around wins! Oh, and did we mention this is especially good for your health and hormones.
How to take: suggested dosage is 250mg-500mg/day. Some can be sedating, so you would want to take at night, others can be stimulating, so morning is optimal.
2.) Rhodiola Rosea
Beneficial for those who train heavily and feel under recovered (athletes, we are looking at you). Rhodiola has also been shown to enhance mood, so can reduce anxiety and possibly depression. This adaptogen can increase energy and concentration in those with adrenal insufficiency.
How to take: suggested dosage is 200mg-500mg/day. Most are stimulating, so take this in the morning.
Actually comes from a mushroom! While primarily used as an aid for low libido, it can also reduce negative stress effects in the body and improve sex hormone production. And on top of all that, it's been shown to boost energy!
How to take: suggested dosage is 1,000-3,000mg/day. (Start on the lower end and see how you react).
Assists the body to cope with stress but also works as a stimulant to increase nervous system function and boost energy levels.
How to take: the standard dose is 300mg-1200mg, although the 2-4 gram range is traditionally recommended.
In addition to those already discussed, other options are maca, ginseng, milk thistle, holy basil, licorice root, astragalus root, and many more. But regardless of which adaptogen you take, it's important to discuss these with your Physician prior to taking any of them.
Adaptogens are a great way to kick start your road to feeling your best self, but it's also not a miracle herb that will fix all of your issues on its own (trust us, if there was something out there that did, you would be the first people we'd tell). But, we LOVE adaptogens so much that we've even incorporated them in our Grown Strong Super Greens! Here at Grown Strong, we believe in embracing the whole lifestyle of fitness, health, and balance. We want to provide you with all the right tools to support you and your goals! Making changes to your lifestyle habits is also key to both short-term and long-term success. It's important to maintain a healthy, active, and positive lifestyle to make sure you're always feeling your best.