The 10 Most Useful Adaptogens to Add to Your Diet Now

Diet

We’re calling it: 2017 has been the year of the adaptogen, the buzzy new supplements that came to the fore with the promise they will heal everything from our health to our skin. We first wrote about them back in January and have been sprinkling these medicinal herbs into our smoothies, teas and salads ever since. And no, we don’t plan on stopping that anytime soon.

Still not sure what an adaptogen is? Well, they get their name thanks to their ability to help our bodies adapt to periods of intense stress or to combat the perpetual fatigue we all face sometimes. Consider them like little personal assistants that live inside the body to make sure everything is in order. They also work wonders for the skin, a subject we have loads more on here, thanks to the strong link between the internal (our health) and the external (our complexion).

The only problem is, there are so many of these wonder supplements, it can be hard to know which to choose. So rather than suffer a meltdown of confusion in Holland and Barrett, click through for the 10 most useful ones to add to your diet now.

Best for: Skin elasticity. Better known as the Indian Gooseberry, Amla is a particularly rich in Vitamin C—approximately 30% more than oranges. This means it’s a super-strength antioxidant, which not only protects skin from ageing brought on by free-radicals, but it’s pretty good at speeding up cell turnover and tightening the skin too. The actual fruit is pretty hard to get hold of in the UK, so instead take one of True Veda’s Organic Amla Vitamin C Capsules a day to reap the benefits.
Best for: Reducing anxiety. If you’ve heard of adaptogens, it’s likely you’ll have heard of ashwagandha, that’s how iconic this herb is within ayurveda. It’s been proven to help lower cortisol—the hormone your body emits during stressful situations—making it the ideal adaptogen to turn to should you need a little bit of mind-massaging. You’ll find it inside Anima Mundi’s Lucid Dreaming Tea (£15) along with passionflower extract, which has been found to be a natural relaxant, and can help with sleep irregularities.
Best for: Boosting libido. Maca is one of the most pleasant-tasting adaptogens around, and its benefits include the preservation of energy levels, the strengthening of the immune system, and it’s pretty good at turning up your libido too. The Nue Co has piled the stuff into Energy Food (£55) a powder food supplement that also includes lots of magensium, Vitamin B12 and calcium. Just drop a spoonful into your morning smoothie or sprinkle onto your salad at lunch.
Best for: Boosting metabolism. As well as being brilliant at replacing lost energy, some of the active compounds that lie within rhodiola (or as it’s also known, goldenroot) extract have been linked with increasing metabolism, largely thanks to it’s ability to increase the circulation of blood and oxygen around the body. A study by Georgian State Hospital also found that it can supplement weight loss. To take, drop a vial-full into a glass of water.
Best for: Supporting the immune system. Astragalus extract has been used in Ancient medicine for centuries and comes from a type of bean. It is famed for it’s antioxidant properties, meaning it can inhibit the spread of free radicals around the body and defend the immune system from harm. It’s a great one to take when you feel a cold coming on.
Best for: An all round health-boost . Maitake mushrooms hail from Japan, where the name means ‘dancing mushroom’—apparently people were so happy when they came across one of these mushrooms in the wild, they would dance with joy as they have such powerful healing benefits. They’re rich in antioxidants, amino-acids, copper, potasium and Vitamins B and C, which are all great immunity boosters. The Super Elixir (£96) has plenty of the stuff, along with a long list of other adaptogens, which make this the perfect thing to sprinkle into your smoothie bowls.
Best for: Bolstering sensitive skin. This berry is believed to have monumental anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a natural skin tonic that can protect the skin from environmental toxins, harsh wind, and even the sun, but it’s also known for it’s ability to ward off skin allergies in particularly sensitive skin types, as well as preventing dermatitis. Try Swanson’s Full Spectrum Schizandra Berries (£10) that come in capsule form.
Best for: Soothing a sore stomach. Licorice root has been used for centuries as a remedy for all manner of gastrointestinal problems, like food poisoning, heartburn and even stomach ulcers. It has great anti-inflammatory properties and can ward off toxic bacteria. You’ll find it in Bodyism’s Serenity Shake (£20), which will put an angsty stomach at ease.
Best for: Reducing fatigue. You know those days when you feel so tired, despite getting a full 8 hours? Well, you could benefit from adding a little bit of eleuthero to your diet. Studies have found that it has the power to reduce cloudiness and bump up those energy levels. Moon Juice’s Power Dust (£39) contains eleuthero as well as ginseng, rhodiola and organic stevia—making it a brilliant powder to add to smoothies following a strenuous workout. Up next, the detox secrets celebrities don’t want you to know about.


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