Top 8 Foods Packed with Adaptogens: Here's Why You Need Them Now - Real Simple

Top 8 Foods Packed with Adaptogens: Here's Why You Need Them Now - Real Simple

Exploring Adaptogens: What They Are and Where to Find Them

Adaptogens have recently become a popular health trend, with adaptogen-rich foods like mushroom coffee and tea surging in popularity. But what are adaptogens exactly, and what benefits do they offer? This article explores the world of adaptogens, providing insight into their uses and where you can find them outside of certain mushroom varieties.

What Are Adaptogens and How Do They Benefit the Body?

Adaptogens are plant-based compounds that help the body manage stress more effectively by moderating its response to cortisol and calming the nervous system. These compounds combat fatigue, enhance mental clarity and performance, and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. They can also help reduce inflammation, boost the immune system response, and improve physical performance.

There are over 70 naturally-occurring adaptogens known today. Foods high in these compounds are often referred to as "functional foods," as they offer health benefits outside of the nutrients they contain.

8 Foods High in Adaptogens

Turmeric is a powerful superfood that contains curcumin, a potent adaptogen that helps lower cortisol levels to reduce bodily stress. Adaptogen-rich lion’s mane mushrooms target brain health and reduce brain inflammation, while maca root offers neuroprotective benefits to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Reishi mushrooms support the immune system and reduced restlessness and low mood, while goji berries boost performance, energy levels, and mood. Shiitake mushrooms reduce cholesterol in the blood, improve gut health, and boost overall immune health. Holy basil protects the body from chemical stress and physical stress, as well as effectively treating chronic illnesses. Lastly, licorice root is loaded with bioactive plant compounds that reduce oxidative stress throughout the body and promote a healthy gut microbiome.

While adaptogens may seem "woo-woo," there is an impressive amount of peer-reviewed evidence backing their benefits. Incorporating adaptogen-rich foods, like these 8, into your diet can help you better manage stress and support overall health and wellbeing.

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