Hi guys, here’s Part 2.
As with my last post, I can only write about what applies to me. I really want to stress that if you’re struggling with anxiety (or anything for that matter) it’s so important that you speak to someone and make a plan that is right for you.
I always thought I drank a lot of water (maybe 1.5 litter day) but when the suggestion was made to up that to about 2.5 – 3 litres a day I really struggled. It wasn’t a problem to drink that much – though fitting more frequent loo trips has been a challenge 😉 The issue became how to remind myself to drink more water. There’s a store I visit a lot in Auckland that has a bottle swap initiative – basically you pay a bond for a 17 litre bottle that sits on your bench (where you can’t miss it) and you bring it back when it’s empty and grab a full one. This is not the easiest way to do it (there are delivery options or you can install a water filtration system) but the fact there’s this giant water bottle sitting on my bench, reminding me to hydrate has meant I’ve doubled my water intake. This has helped my digestion, my skin and energy levels. A really easy and cost effective option to try. I really believe that a lot of people can benefit from upping the amount of water they drink. Swapping out a coffee or black tea with a herbal variety is a good option too – caffeinated drinks do not count towards your fluid intake.
When I first heard about adaptogens I thought the idea of them was a little woo woo but gave them a go anyway. But nothing happened. I bought an expensive bottle of Ashwghanda, half-heartedly took them for two weeks, complained they weren’t working and threw them away. But the more I read the more I realised you need to give them a chance – you need to take them for a solid month to start to feel the benefit.
Adaptogens are a natural substances that helps the body adapt to stress, adapting their function to your body’s needs. Although you may be new to the term, some of the names of the herbs or roots may be more familiar to you. Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve been taking;
Ginseng; the most well-known adaptogen. Known to improve mental performance and your ability to withstand stress. I don’t personally take this – I choose to take ashwagandha instead but I wanted to include it here because lots of people are familiar with the name and that could prove a little less confronting for first time users of adaptogens.
Ashwagandha; often referred to as Indian ginseng. Often used in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha regulates the immune system and eases anxiety. Ashwaganda has been used in Eastern medicine for over 2,500 years and has immuno-modulating effects that boost your immune system and aid the body in lowering cortisol levels. It can take a little time to adapt to the flavour – my advice would be to start with small amounts in a smoothie and build up from there or (even easier) just take it in pill form.
Maca; Boosts the endocrine system while helping the body adapt to stress and countering the effects of tension and anxiety. Maca has a honeycomb-like flavour which makes it an easy addition to a smoothie.
Rhodiola; Rhodiola rosea contains a phytochemical known as salisdroside. This component helps relieve anxiety and (bonus feature) combat aging. Rhodiola suppresses the production of cortisol and increases levels of stress-resistant proteins.
Part 3 will look at exercise and therapy – stay tuned!