When the New York Times wrote an article about adaptogens, and Health Magazine interviewed me asking me to answer some questions on adaptogens for their November article "Adaptogens Explained", I realized that finally, plant-based medicine is becoming more main stream. This got me excited and I wanted to write about something that adaptogens do that most people don't know about: Shrink belly fat!
First of all, what are adaptogens?
Adaptogens are a group of plants that can help our bodies adapt to physical, chemical, and environmental stressors. As you probably know, your body is built to release the hormone cortisol to respond to stress, but elevated cortisol levels over long periods of time and chronic stress can affect every physiological system in your body, including your thyroid and adrenal glands.
Cortisol is also known as the aging hormone. When cortisol levels rise, you experience the “fight or flight” response, which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system to release adrenaline. Usually you experience this response, your body and brain respond to the stressor, your cortisol levels even back out and your body adapts back to normal.
How does stress effect my belly fat?
When you are constantly releasing cortisol from too much stress, there is a decrease in your digestive secretions and an increase in blood pressure. Some people at the highest risk for this include young parents, university students and primary caregivers, like nurses or family members who care for invalid relatives or patients.
Which adaptogens should I use?
My favorite of these stress-reducing power plants are Asian Ginseng, Holy Basil (also called Tulsi), Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng), Ashwagandha, Astragalus Root, Sea Buckthorn, Licorice Root, Rhodiola rosea, and Cordycep Mushrooms.
Each of my proprietary blends in IN:PEACE, IN:MOTION and IN:DREAM contain adaptogens, including Eleuthero, Astragalus, Licorice Root, and Rhodiola Rosea. These herbs help manage stress levels, reducing cortisol levels, which effect retention of fat!
We all know that it is unlikely that we can simply rid our lives of all things stressful. But we can help our bodies better manage constant stress, reduce cortisol levels, and in turn potentially have a positive effect on stubborn belly fat. We can all take common steps to help manage stress, like regular exercise, getting sufficient, restful sleep, meditate, breathing exercises, keep up an active social life, and using adaptogens.
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