Stress represents our reaction to the factors that offset our mental and physical equilibrium; you know, what we feel when life gets too busy, messy, or taxing at times. Unfortunately, stress not only worsens health problems, it can also cause them. The negative effects of stress on the body are unique and vary greatly from person to person, but are very much so present regardless. To a certain extent, we can try and reduce stress in our lives, but we all may experience some form of it, as we cannot control everything that happens to us. Sometimes we may need a little assistance with coping or working through certain struggles in life.
This night-shade plant, particularly the root, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Ayurveda is an ancient holistic medical system that originated in India and is centered on the importance of balance and harmony between the body, mind, and spirit.
Compounds found in ashwagandha act as a sedative and help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. “Indian Ginseng”, as it’s sometimes referred, is considered an adaptogen, or a healing plant that equips your body to better handle stress. Both Ginseng and Ashwagandha, although not from the same plant family, are hailed to fight stress, the former through stimulation and the latter, tranquility. Ashwagandha has been shown to be successful in reducing overall stress levels in participants in various different studies and has also been attributed to protecting the brain from neural tension and possibly reconstructing nerve cell components. Recent studies have even shown that its extracts may also possess anti-cancer properties. Ashwagandha root or root powder can be purchased online or at health food stores; the root can be used to make tinctures and tea, while the powder can be used to make capsules. You can also buy pre-made capsules from many different places online and in stores as well. In the West, it is not advised to take ashwagandha while pregnant. The root powder can also be added to foods like smoothies, juices and chia porridge. This recipe combines Aswaghanda, Maca and Lucuma with dried apricots, coconut milk and almonds for a filling, nutritious adaptogenic dish. The dried apricots soak up the milk and become plump and tart while the almonds add a nice crunch. Lucuma is a Peruvian fruit that can be dried into a fine powder and used as a low-glycemic sweetener. It has a maple-like flavor, and it’s not necessary to add to this recipe, but we had some in the cupboard so I thought I would add it for some extra flavor and nutrients – beta-carotene, iron and niacin (vitamin B3) in particular. Maca is another gem from Peru although it’s not a fruit, it’s a root vegetable. Ironically, it’s sometimes referred to as ‘Peruvian Ginseng’ and may be beneficial for hormone function. It may also help improve adrenal fatigue and reduce stress hormones as well. Maca should not be taken while pregnant.
- 2 bananas, mashed
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 10 dried apricots, diced/quartered
- small handful of almonds, soaked overnight
- 1 tsp. maca powder
- 1 tsp. lucuma powder
- 1 tsp. ashwaghanda powder
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- Combine all of the ingredients besides the almonds and mix well. Let sit for a few hours or overnight.
- Let almonds soak overnight and chop up in the morning. Place chopped almonds on top of or mix into porridge.
With love, Note: Ashwagandha has varying effects on different people. Some people notice a difference from consuming it, some do not, and others may experience side effects. You should always consult your physician before trying any new supplements, especially if you have other health conditions. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.