What Is All The Fuss About Adaptogens?

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You might have noticed adaptogens have been popping up in health and wellbeing articles and posts recently. But, you’re not alone if you’re not entirely sure what an adaptogenic herb is and why people are hailing them as energy boosters and stress relievers. Here’s a straightforward guide to adaptogens and their health benefits.

What are adaptogens?

They are natural herbs that help to support and balance our hormonal equilibrium or our hypothalamic pituitary endocrine axis as it’s technically known. This equilibrium is split into three sections or axis, your brain adrenal, brain thyroid and brain gonadal. All three have to be balanced to ensure your mood, metabolism, immune system, libido and energy levels are all functioning optimally.

Who can take them?

Adaptogenic herbs have been used to help rebalance hormones and improve overall wellbeing for centuries. They’re generally deemed as safe for everyone to take. However, we recommend consulting your health practitioner if you’re taking medication or are pregnant.

What are the key adaptogenic herbs?

Maca

Wellbeing gurus and hipsters have helped boost the profile of this adaptogen with maca lattes. But, don’t be fooled into thinking that you’ll get the same energetic boost from the sprinkling you get on a coffee as you would from mixing a couple of teaspoons of good quality powder into your morning juice. Maca is renowned for helping to supercharge energy levels and the root is also thought to help with fertility and libido concerns.  

The supplement: Organic Maca Root Extract by Viridian

Moringa  

Another great option for those who want an energy boosting pick-me-up, moringa is the healthy alternative to your mid-afternoon caffeine fix. It also helps your body deal with stress, and impressively contains more than 90 nutrients and over 40 different antioxidants. It’s no surprise that it’s also known as the miracle tree. Moringa powder has an earthy, peppery flavour, which makes it perfect for mixing in with soups and juices.     

The supplement: Moringa Green Superleaf Powder by Aduna

Astragalus

If you find that you’re always feeling under-the-weather with depleted energy levels, it is worth looking into astragalus. It’s renowned for its immune-boosting powers and helps to increase your interferon and white blood cell counts. Shabir recommends taking an astragalus supplement from autumn through spring to fight off any colds and infections.

The supplement: Astragalus Extract by Swanson

Ashwagandha 

This wonder herb helps support your HPA (brain-adrenal axis) and regulate your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. It’s also thought to help conditions such as arthritis thanks to its anti-inflammatory benefits. Ashwagandha should be your go-to if you’re battling with stress and anxiety. While ashwagandha won’t give you the instant high that prescription drugs do, you will notice a difference in a week or so if you take it consistently.  

The supplement: KSM-66 Ashwagandha Plus by Wild Nutrition

Rhodiola 

Another good adaptogen for those who suffer from stress regularly is rhodiola as the herb helps your body deal with physiological and psychological stress. Small studies have shown that rhodiola can support your brain when you’re stressed and reduce mental fatigue. 

The supplement: Magnolia Rhodiola Complex by VH

Holy Basil

Also known as tulsi, holy basil has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and helps to boost brain power. If you struggle to concentrate or regularly get a foggy brain, holy basil could help improve your cognitive function.

The supplement: Wholistic Holy Basil by Pukka

The Benefits of Vitamin D

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Despite all the press about vitamin D3, most of us have chosen to ignore the findings and hope we have sufficient levels in the bloodstream. Most of us don’t. In fact, according to the Department of Health, as much as 25 percent of the population has a vitamin D deficiency – and scientists estimate that this figure is actually low and could be nearer 60 percent.

What is vitamin D?

Vitamin D is not strictly a vitamin. A vitamin is a compound that cannot be produced by the body and since vitamin D is produced in the skin, as a result of exposure to sunlight, it is more accurately described as a hormone. Although we are capable of producing vitamin D, we rarely make sufficient levels due to the latitude we live in and the fact that we constantly being told to wear sunscreens, which of course block sunlight.

Small amounts of vitamin D is found in fortified foods including milk, cereals, oily fish and juices, but this amount is too small to make any significant difference. In fact, it is estimated that we would need to drink 20 glasses of milk everyday to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D. Read More…

Winter SOS Survival Guide

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The immune system is unlike any other bodily system in that it involves the complex interaction between physical structures such as the thymus gland as well as complex interactions between hormones and chemical substances in the bloodstream, which ultimately result in conferring of individual immunity.

Many of us will experience bouts of cold, flu-type symptoms, infections and so on during the winter months. Most of us will end up blaming bugs as the cause of our illness rather than our compromised immune systems. However we can all take charge of our bodies to protect ourselves and our families from these infections.

Both colds and influenza are caused by a wide variety of viruses and yet there are differences between these infections. The symptoms of a ‘common cold’ include runny nose, congestion, cough and a sore throat. The symptoms of flu tend to be far more severe as the virus is capable of infecting the lungs, affect your joints, causing pain, and at worse causing respiratory failure. Read More…

Zinc Supplements Uses, Side Effects & Benefits

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Zinc is an important mineral that is found in every single cell of the body. The red and white blood cells, our bones, retina, kidneys, pancreas and liver all store zinc. The tenth most common element in the human body, zinc is vital for the functioning of more than 300 hormones and countless enzyme systems in the body. Zinc is also vital for cells to divide and replicate during the production of new tissues. Most of us assume that we have sufficient zinc from our diet, however there is growing amount of evidence that approximately 20% of the world’s population is deficient in zinc, which equates to one in five of us. This deficiency is irrespective of where you live.

What are the health benefits of zinc?

Whilst zinc is best known for its role in fighting colds and flu, zinc has a wide range of effects on human health. I am going to highlight only some of the important roles of zinc within our bodies, but the list is extensive. Read More…