Adaptogens are plants that help the body adapt to life’s stressors, both physical and mental. Adaptogens have been used for centuries, and are currently in vogue, showing up everywhere.
You can find adaptogens in many forms – soft drinks, powders, pills, even gummies. Each adaptogenic plant has slightly different benefits, but in general they’re all used to help the body adapt to stress.
Please note that adaptogens are not right for everyone, and you should consult your healthcare practitioner before adding them to your diet.
What are the Best Adaptogens?
Ashwagandha is known for numerous benefits, including reducing cortisol levels, stress and anxiety, and inflammation.
Maca, sometimes referred to as Peruvian ginseng, is a well-known adaptogen for its balancing effect on hormones. Maca is known to increase fertility in men, increase libido in both men and women, and enhance mood. Maca is also a great source of vitamins and minerals – twenty eight grams of maca contains 133% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin C!
Adaptogenic mushrooms (mushrooms that act as an adaptogen) are everywhere. Although these mushrooms have been used for over 2,000 years in China and Japan, they’ve recently gained popularity in the Western world. Reishi mushrooms are more well-known and are most often used to relieve stress, boost immunity, and enhance sleep quality.
Chaga is an adaptogenic mushroom that’s packed with antioxidants and has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. As well, a study that used a water-based extract of chaga concluded that the mushroom exhibits antiviral activity against common viral infections like the cold and flu.
How Can You Make Adaptogens Work for You?
With the growing interest in adaptogens we’ve seen tons of new products like premixes to make your own adaptogen-infused beverages.
Four Sigmatic is a reputable brand that makes products like adaptogen coffee. Adaptogenic coffee is an organic instant coffee mix with tusli and ashwagandha. You’ll get your delicious coffee and your energy boost, but the calming adaptogens will help you cut out caffeine jitters.
Another popular premix is for hot chocolate like their Cosmic Hot Cacao. It’s loaded with multiple kinds of adaptogens – maca root, chaga mushroom extract, and ashwagandha. To enjoy this nourishing beverage, heat up one cup of your favourite milk and whisk in two tablespoons of cosmic cacao powder.
I find taking a supplement in pill form to be the easiest. I love a morning smoothie or latte, but despite how quick and easy they can be I’m not always in the mood for one.
This supplement contains adaptogenic herbs, including ashwagandha, rhodiola, and holy basil. It can help the body better adapt to stress and provide immune support.
If you make your own lattes or smoothies, using adaptogens in the powdered form can be an easy option. There are tons of great adaptogen powders that you can add to your own recipes.
Chaga can be found in a powder, which is easy to throw into your favourite smoothie or use to make a delicious latte. Chaga does not taste like a mushroom you would generally cook with. It has an earthy flavour that pairs well mixed in a coffee or hot chocolate.
My Favourite Chaga Latte Recipe
1 teaspoon chaga mushroom powder
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 shot espresso or 1 teaspoon Dandy Blend (a caffeine free coffee alternative)
2 tablespoons cacao powder
1 pinch of cinnamon
1 pinch of salt
maple syrup to taste
1.5 cups warm almond milk
Blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!
Aly is a Certified Nutrition Practitioner (CNP) who graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and holds a BA from Western University. Aly’s warm and approachable demeanor empowers her clients to take control of their health. She uses a realistic approach, with an emphasis on balance and whole foods to personally address your nutrition needs. Aly believes that eating healthy isn’t about being perfect, it’s about having a plan you can stick to that gives you energy while allowing you to eat the foods you love. Aly believes that with the right tools and guidance you can make positive lifestyle changes to enjoy a happier and healthier life!