The nights are cold, the mornings are dark and winter is just under a month away. Whilst you’ll no doubt be making changes to your routine to accommodate the changing season (hibernation, anyone?), there are heaps of things you can add into your diet to help you get the best out of the colder months. Enter, adaptogens—the health community’s long-standing obsession.
Whilst the benefits of adaptogens have been well-documented, we relish the opportunity to toot their adaptogenic little horns, just for a second. Adaptogens relieve stress, improve circulation, normalise the functioning of our nervous systems, regulate the function of our endocrine glands and normalise our immune systems and the inflammatory response. Basically, these powdered plant and herb concoctions work to target the areas of your health that you feel are unbalanced; making them the perfect pick-me-up for winter.
‘Cause let’s be real; things like Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) are very much real. It’s extremely common for your mood, motivation and overall sense of wellbeing to take a serious plummet come wintertime, and adaptogens can be the ideal antidote to that.
And before you start frettin’ over how to reap all of these benefits, you should know that there are a range of ways that you can easily and accessibly incorporate adaptogens into your diet. You can get them in pill form for the gal-on-the-go, through tinctures (a liquid extract of the herb that you take by mouth), or in powders that are perfect for adding to your smoothies and teas. Whatever floats your adaptogenic boat!
Here are the adaptogens you should be using whilst the Aussie climate falls—rather dramatically—under 15 degrees celsius.
The Swiss army knife of adaptogens, ashwagandha is arguably the most popular and well-documented member of the adaptogenic gang. Perfect for combating the winter blues thanks to its ability to adapt to internal and external stressors, ashwagandha supports the immune system by protecting it from immunosuppressors, like stress.
This (decidedly non-lion looking) mushroom is jam-packed with antioxidants and immune-boosting benefits (are you sensing a theme here?) thanks to its rich-in beta-glucans, fatty acids and polypeptides profile. The little mites also contain oleanolic acids and adenosine, which helps to stimulate the modulation of the immune system and increase interferon production. These processes have exhibited anti-inflammatory activity and boosts white blood cell counts, which in turn aid many of the healing processes in the body.
Herbalists have long tooted ginseng as a ‘total body tonic’; meaning that it enhances every part of your health. It’s undoubtedly one of the most valued medicinal plants in the world, and FYI, it’s also one of the most expensive. Ginseng strengthens the immune system, promotes energy and enhances cell growth, making it an esteemed choice for colder weather. It’s also said to improve sexual function, so, you’re welcome.
This little herb packs a powerful punch when it comes to protecting the immune system; making it a premium pick for anyone that suffers with colds during the winter months. It ultimately works to rebuild a tired, weakened system whilst supporting digestive health and brain function. We’ll take twenty, thanks.
Not only does this powerhouse of a plant boost the immune system and strengthen the body’s defence against foreign invaders and external pathogens, it also works to trigger immune cells to go from a resting state into one of heightened activity. It fights inflammation and ardently supports the adrenal glands, so yeh—it’s a bit of a show-off really.