TWC Basics - Superfoods & Adaptogens
Posted by RACHITA RAVI
What is a superfood?
Superfoods are nutrient dense foods that offer maximum nutritional benefits. They are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
By definition, a superfood is a whole (real, unprocessed, in its original form) food with high nutrient density. Usually plant-based, superfoods are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Eating a well-balanced diet
It’s important to note that while superfoods are good for your health and provide many nutrients you need on a daily basis, consuming them alone does not contribute to a healthy diet. Eating too much of one type of food can actually be detrimental to your health and prevent you from getting all of the nutrients you need. For this reason, superfoods should be added to a well-balanced diet, not replace one.
“No one food can provide you all of the essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants you need, it is very important to eat a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods to obtain the health benefits our bodies need. There is nothing wrong with eating a food item that provides you a good amount of a specific vitamin or mineral that you need, but our bodies require many vitamins and minerals to function properly, so don’t rely on one superfood alone to achieve this.”
A well-balanced and nutritious diet should include fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, legumes and nuts while limiting the intake of sodium, bad fats and refined sugar. When combined with exercise and regular physical activity, a healthy and nutritious diet can work wonders for your health. “Food IS medicine.”
Adaptogens and Healing Herbs
Buzz word alert. You’ve probably heard this word hundreds of times in the recent past. But what does it really mean?
Adaptogens include botanical herbs, berries, roots, mushrooms that support the body's natural ability to cope with emotional, physical, or environmental stress.
Simply put, adaptogens work by helping each unique body adapt to change. They work in a non-specific way to boost resistance internally from outside stressors. They help ease anxiety and stress and promote homeostasis/equilibrium of the body by regulating chemical changes - physical, chemical, or biological.
The best way of thinking about adaptogens is to go back to their original habitat. These plants have endured the elements, and had to adapt to outside stressors themselves, making them innately intelligent.
Adaptogens have been used by different cultures for centuries. Ayurveda, that focuses on elemental healing, is one of the more popularized modalities to use adaptogens to help bring the body and spirit back into balance. Chinese medicine as well. They have become increasingly popular in the Western world, especially for their multi-functional benefits. So although these remedies are ancient and have been passed down through tradition for many many years, there still aren’t many modern day "scientific" studies on their effectiveness. We urge you to try them for yourselves, since experience is the only true way to know if they’re working for you. They are safe and have a balancing effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-endocrine axis (known as the 'stress stem') which regulates communication between the brain and hormone system.
Once we achieve balance between the brain-adrenal axis (HPA), brain-thyroid (HPT) and brain-gonadal axis (HPG), we can successfully support the body's adrenal glands, enhance mood, regulate hormone responses, boost metabolism, strengthen immunity and reduce stress levels. Without this, we feel unbalanced and may experience hormonal issues such as libido issues, thyroid problems and adrenal fatigue.