Adaptogens | Nourishing
This month’s newsletter is going to share with you the benefits of adaptogens. The stress of modern society can leave many people feeling tired, exhausted and unable to sleep. Many o fyou may be familiar with adaptogens and their benefit, for those of you who are not, this month’s newsletter will help clarify their many benefits.
Unfortunately, many people restore to stimulants or try to keep themselves going, mistakenly thinking that energy drinks or coffee will give them more energy. These stimulants do not produce energy, they actually encourage the body to use MORE energy.
Over time the stressed person’s energy reserve gets so depleted that they become unable to relax and sleep properly. We sometimes refer to this situation as burnout, an appropriate term because it suggests the energy or fire of life is gone.
When you are burned out, you not only feel exhausted, you lose the joy and zest for life. There is less interest in hobbies, recreation and sex. Many of you are more easily irritate by family, friend and coworkers. Some will become more susceptible to pain, inflammation and infection. Your immune system doesn’t work as well, which paves the way for more serious chronic and degenerative disease. Learn more about adaptogens and how they can help in this month’s Sunshine Sharing. To lean more about adaptogens, two of my favorite adaptogens are Ashwaganda and Mineral Chi Tonic.
Overview of the Stress Response
This month is Stress Awareness Month. Given the current pandemic of COVID-19 many of us are uneasy to say the least. Stress has an effect
on our mental health, physical health, gut health, and weakens our immune system. In fact, stress has a major impact on our overall health. Stress increases inflammation in the body which often leads to health problems. When we are under stress the fight or flight portion of our autonomic nervous system known as the sympathetic nervous system kicks in. When the sympathetic nervous system kicks in the parasympathetic nervous system becomes less active interfering with the rest and digest functions of the body. It is this fight or flight response that tells our adrenal glands to release hormones that cause our hearts to beat faster, increases our respiration, dilates our blood vessels in our arms and legs, slows down our digestive process and influences our glucose levels. In other words, it prepares our body to take action until we find safety or feel safe.
Stress, Cortisol and Gut Health
The stress response also activates the HPA axis which causes our body to eventually release cortisol. The HPA axis involves the hypothalamus which releases growth hormones, helps to regulate body temperature, maintains the daily physiological cycles in the body, control appetites and regulates emotional responses. The pituitary gland secretes hormones into our blood stream and the adrenal glands produce hormones that help to regulate our metabolism (thyroid), immune system, and blood pressure. Are you starting to see the impact stress has on our body.
Our gut is also connected to our brain through millions of neurons, our immune system, and the vagus nerve. The stress response actually affects the neurons traveling through our vagus nerve to becoming less active which is what helps to create the issues with our gastrointestinal health. The microbiome also produce many of the same neurotransmitters as the brain such as serotonin as well as short chain fatty acids (created from digesting fiber) which also affect brain function. We all know the important role our gut microbes has in our immune system and subsequent increase of inflammation by trying to work to control what passes into the body via the intestinal barrier.
When the real or perceived threat continues, our stress response continues and becomes chronic and creates lots of inflammation. This increases our risk for heart disease, heart attacks, strokes, obesity, type 2 diabetes, headaches, problems sleeping, chest pain, muscle tension and pain, fatigue and stomach problems.
Tips for Living Healthy and Feeling Less Stressed
Everything is connected which is why being under chronic stress leads to major health problems. I hope the information above outlined why managing our stress is so important. I created this outline so you can think about our amazing body and what is actually going on. Below are several things you can do to better manage your stress so it has less impact on your health.
Diet and Promoting Gut Health
Diet – Foods high in processed sugar and caffeine stimulate our nervous system. When we are under stress, our nervous system is already stimulated working on promoting inflammation and reducing relaxation. Our nervous system and body love healthy fats. Now is a good time to start making sure you add a serving of healthy fat to each meal. Food sources of healthy fats include fish, nuts, flax, hemp and chia seeds. You can also add some healthy fats when you cook using coconut and olive oil. Eating lots of fruits and vegetables will also help your body because fruits and vegetables are high in phytonutrients and antioxidants which assist your body in reducing inflammation.
Keep your gut healthy eating fermented foods like probiotic yogurt, sauerkraut, kefer, tempeh, and kombucha. We need to take care of the gut brain connection and our the hundreds of millions of neurons living there. Being stressed out can trigger pain, bloating and other gut symptoms of discomfort. When stress continues it ultimately affects the health of the microbiome in our gut.
Trouble Sleeping \ Adaptogens
If you are having trouble sleeping and want to try an herbal product, I highly recommend my favorite adaptogens Ashwaganda or Qemp NightTime. You can also check out Healing Sleep Tones YouTube Channel. Their sounds give you a very relaxed and comforted feeling. You can play them when you are ready to sleep. During this pandemic, many of you also may be off your routine and are no longer going to bed at the same time each night. Being off your routine may have an affect on how you well you are sleeping. So if you are off your routine, now is a good time to create one! Try to go to bed at the same time each night and turn off ALL your electronics and the t.v. 30 minutes before your scheduled time and begin reading a low key book or listening to Healthy Sleep Tones instead.
Get up and Get Moving
Exercise for some of you may be a great way to let go of some steam. If you are one of those people like me, you may want to add some exercise to your day. I live in the MidWest which sometimes the weather this time of year is welcoming for a walk, other times not so much. I then chose one of my favorite youtube channels to Walk at Home, Stretch and Stress Relief Yoga,
QiGong with Lee Holden.
Deep Breathing turns off the fight or flight response of the nervous system. This allows you to calm down and quiet things down. Here is an article from WebMd on deep breathing techniques to direct you. I also found a very interesting Ted Talk you might want to listen to as well.
Talk it Out. Venting, a term we are all familiar can also help with managing your stress according to several psychologists. So now may be the time to give your friend or family member a call and ask them if they have time for you to vent.
SOQI Products and Essential Oils
Continue to use the SOQI Products including the Far Infrared Products and the Chi Machine daily to promote movement of the circulatory and lymph system as well as allowing you time to breathe deep and relax.
Essential Oils – Diffusing, Inhaling or applying certain essential oils topically can also help. Lavender, Nerole, Bergamot, Sweet Orange, Lemon, Rose and Ylang Ylang are also wonderful oils to use to brighten up your mood and relieve tension. One of my favorite essential oil blend is Refuge because it does such a great job of instilling calmness.