Adaptogen drinks have been gaining popularity in recent years as a way to support overall health and well-being. But what exactly are adaptogens, and what makes them so beneficial? In this article, we will explore everything you need to know about adaptogenic drinks, including how they are made, the ingredients used and their potential benefits.
What Are Adaptogens?
Adaptogens are a class of herbs and mushrooms that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being. These natural compounds are thought to help the body balance and regulate various bodily functions.
They work by stimulating the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is responsible for regulating the body's stress response. When the HPA axis is activated, it releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which help the body respond to stress. Adaptogens help to balance the HPA axis and regulate the release of these hormones, which in turn can help the body better cope with stress and improve overall health.
How Are Adaptogenic Drinks Made?
Adaptogenic drinks can be made in a variety of ways, but the most common method is to extract the active compounds from the adaptogenic herbs or mushrooms and blend them with other ingredients to create a functional beverage.
Many of these beverages are made using water or alcohol extract of the adaptogenic herb or mushroom. The extract is then blended with other ingredients, this includes fruits, spices or sweeteners, to create a flavorful beverage. Some adaptogenic drinks use the powder form of adaptogens which is then dissolved in water or added to other beverages.
Ingredients Used in Adaptogenic Drinks
The ingredients used in adaptogenic drinks can vary, but some common ingredients include:
- Adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms, including ashwagandha, reishi and cordyceps
- Fruits and vegetables, such as berries, turmeric and ginger
- Spices, such as cinnamon, cardamom and black pepper
- Sweeteners, such as honey or maple syrup
- Liquids, such as water, kombucha and milk.
Benefits of Adaptogenic Drinks
Adaptogenic drinks are thought to have a wide range of potential benefits, including:
Supporting The Body's Stress Response
Adaptogens are a class of herbs and mushrooms that are believed to help the body balance and regulate its stress response.
They may help in controlling cortisol levels, which is an important stress hormone. High cortisol levels can have an adverse effect on overall well-being, including weight gain, mood swings and difficulties in sleeping. Adaptogens can help in modulating these levels and thus promote a better balance between the different hormones.
Enhancing Energy Levels
They have been used traditionally to help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being, and one of the potential benefits of adaptogens is that they may help to enhance energy levels.
There are certain adaptogens that are believed to have a specific impact on energy levels. For example, Rhodiola Rosea, an adaptogenic herb, may help to improve endurance and reduce fatigue. It is believed to work by increasing the production of anti-stress and anti-fatigue molecules in the body, such as catecholamines and beta-endorphins.
It's worth noting that research is still being conducted to fully understand the effects of adaptogens on energy levels, but early studies and traditional usage suggest that adaptogens may have the potential to boost energy levels and improve endurance, particularly when it comes to dealing with physical and mental stressors.
Supporting The Immune System
The immune system is the body's defense mechanism that helps to protect against infection and disease. It is complex and involves a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to identify and neutralize harmful invaders. Adaptogens are believed to have a beneficial effect on the immune system by helping to aid and balance the body's overall health and well-being.
Some adaptogens, such as ashwagandha and reishi, have been traditionally used to boost the immune system. It helps enhance the activity of white blood cells, which are critical for the immune system to fight off infection and disease. Reishi mushroom is also known to have immune-modulating effects, like increasing the production of white blood cells, helping in fighting infections, and also reducing inflammation.
Adaptogens have the potential to help balance the body's stress response and promote relaxation, which can lead to improved sleep quality.
According to research, people who take ashwagandha supplements have reported better sleep, reduced fatigue and better overall quality of life. Another example is valerian root, which is traditionally used as a sleep aid, and may help to promote relaxation and a better sleep experience.
It's worth noting that more research needs to be conducted to fully understand the benefits of adaptogens, and more specifically on the effects of consuming them in drink form. While more research needs to be done to gain more scope into the benefits of adaptogens, these functional drinks offer a convenient and delicious way to incorporate them into your diet and lifestyle. From adaptogenic mocktails to coffee, there are a variety of these drinks available to suit every taste.