Adaptogens: Foods that Manage Stress
When one get’s stressed, one seeks comfort foods. Usually a craving for carbohydrates satiates the brain when stressed. Adaptogen is a category of natural medicine such as herbs or foods that help the body deal with stress. The idea of adaptogens is that certain plants live in really harsh environments and have adapted to not only survive but thrive in such harsh conditions. Some of the “superfoods” that can help the body deal with physiological stress include those high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.
Antioxidant rich foods that are adaptogens include blueberries, pomegranate, dark leafy greens such as spinach or kale, and dark chocolate. I personally like a handful raw almonds every day as well as two to four ounces of dark chocolate.
Several herbs are classified as adaptogens. The most common adaptogenic herb is ginseng (American or Asian). Some health food stores will carry herbal extract blends for stress. Ashwagandha, Licorice Hawthorn, Green Tea, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, and Eleuthero are also used for their adaptogenic properties.
Foods to avoid because they cause stress:
refined sugar / flour
high sodium foods