If you’re like me, you’ve been seeing adaptogens trending in the health community for a while now. One, in particular, Ashwagandha, is really having a moment. But what is it and why am I seeing it everywhere!? So, I’m here to break it down for you.
So, what are adaptogens?
Adaptogens have been around for, well basically forever. Literally, they have been used in Indian culture for over 3,000 years. Adaptogens are a class of plants thought to help fight stress and promote homeostasis in the body. In an article from Time, Dr. Brenda Powell, co-medical director for the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute explained, “adaptogens help your body handle stress. They’re meant to bring us back to the middle.”
Dr. Powell continues, adaptogens may do for your hormones what exercise does for your muscles. That’s something I can get behind! Strengthen my hormones and bring them to their optimal functioning! Yes, please! Gimme some of that!!!
There are so many different adaptogens, depending on what ails ya. But the one I’m all ? over these days is ashwagandha.
This lil number is such a natural powerhouse that I’m so pumped to have in my arsenal. I’m pretty sure the list of benefits of ashwagandha is about a mile long, but here are some of my faves I want to share with you!
Natural Stress Reliever
Ashwagandha helps support adrenal function and what that means for you is it helps regulate adrenaline and cortisol as a response to stress. Ashwagandha helps relieve the fatigue your adrenal glands can have and therefore helps you process stress in a better way. I think we can all use a little helping hand in this department, right?! And it totally reminds me of how ashwagandha does for your hormones what exercise does for your muscles! ?
Get THIS! There are literal studies that compare ashwagandha’s effectiveness for anxiety to that of an actual anxiety medication. Plus, there aren’t any adverse side effects of taking ashwagandha while there definitely are side-effects from prescription meds.
Supports Thyroid Function
Not only is it a natural stress reliever, but also it helps support an underactive thyroid! You all know my struggles with hypothyroidism, so this is such a great way to help kick my slacking thyroid into gear! There is evidence to suggest it helps with both hypothyroidism (like I have) as well as hyperthyroidism, but most of the studies are focused on how it’d help people like me. And I’ll take all the help I can get in this department! ?
Balances Blood Sugar
Consuming ashwagandha can help balance your blood sugar levels, which is helpful for those suffering from diabetes, as well as those without. Keeping your blood sugar from spiking or dipping is helpful for everyone, and will really help with those cravings and crashes we all can feel throughout the day!
Improves Brain Function + Memory
Stress wreaks havoc on the body, and the mind! Ashwagandha is so high in antioxidants that it has proven effective to help improve memory and attention span. In this digital age where we’ve seen all of our attention spans plummet to the length of a SnapChat, this is such a great tool in your arsenal.
Ashwagandha’s ability to help the body combat stress means your body is less inflamed. Less inflammation is AMAZING! As a society, we are chronically inflamed which leads to a plethora of diseases or ailments. One of the amazing benefits of a decreased stress response is lack of inflammation and therefore improved immunity. With how bad the cold and flu season has been this year, any little bit helps, am I right!? ?
Improved Muscle Strength + Endurance
There are studies that indicate that ashwagandha can be a huge difference maker in increasing muscle mass and strength. Heck yes!!! ? The study also noted that the users of ashwagandha lost more fat, gained more muscles, and recovered better from exercise-induced muscle damage. ?
If that weren’t enough amazingness in itself, it’s also helpful in boosting endurance during exercise through improving brain function and reducing pain. WHAT?! Help me perform better, feel sharper mentally while doing so, help me recover better, and gain more muscles?! I’m here for that! ?
How Do I Get in on the Ashwagandha Action!?
There are so many ways to love ashwagandha, but one fave I just shared over on my Instagam is Moon Milk, so I wanted to share it here, too! Besides ashwagandha, Moon milk is loaded with other ingredients that promote relaxation and will help you fall and stay asleep so you can wake up refreshed and ready to take on a new day!
? Moon Milk ?
- 2 Cups of Almond Milk, or plant-based milk of your choice
- 1 packet of Vital Proteins Collagen Creamer (adds a tiny bit of sweetness and some collagen protein for that beautiful skin ?)
- 1 teaspoon of butterfly pea powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
- Honey (Optional)
Directions: Heat almond milk in a small saucepan until just boiling. Blend with all dry ingredients for 30 seconds to combine and add froth. Add honey to taste (but you really don’t *need* it). Cozy up with a good book and get your relaxation on!
**I do feel it’s important to note that, of course, I am not a doctor. So, if you’re looking at introducing any supplement, ashwagandha included, into your regimen, and especially if you’re combining it with prescription medicine, you should be sure to check with your doctor.