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A variety of hormone-balancing drinks made with Navitas Organics Maca Powder and Cacao+ Longevity Blend
May 30, 2022

The Best Adaptogens for Supporting Women’s Health, According to a Registered Dietitian

Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN explains how utilizing adaptogens can support women’s health and improve the way in which their bodies react to daily stressors.

By: Megan Faletra, MS, MPH, RDN

Women carry a lot on their plates, and unfortunately, they are more likely to experience high levels of stress because of itwhich is one of the biggest causes of hormonal imbalance. As a registered dietitian focused on women’s health, I’ve seen and felt this myself firsthand as women consistently try to balance everything from work, family and kids to pregnancy, fertility and household managementthe lists go on and on!

Eventually, this fast-paced way of life and constant stress result in many women beginning to feel the negative impacts that an overwhelming mental load and chronic stress can have on a person’s body. While some stress is a normal, an essential part of life and something our bodies are well-designed to manage, the degree of external stressors to which so many of us are being exposed today is not something for which our bodies were ever really prepared.

This is why I am so passionate about helping educate more women on the ways that stress impacts their hormones, along with some of the tools that can reduce stress in our daily lives and improve hormonal balance. One of my favorite ways to do this is by utilizing a group of plants called adaptogens, which have a long-history in herbal medicine around the world of supporting women’s health and improving the way in which our bodies react to daily stressors.

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are a broad group of herbs, roots and other plants like mushrooms that have been used for thousands of years in herbal medicine throughout the world. These plants have been found to contain adaptogenic substances which aid in helping our bodies manage stress on a daily basis and restore a more optimal state of balance. While there are many adaptogenic herbs and plants, a few of my favorites that I find myself recommending over and over again for women are: reishi mushroom, maca and ashwagandha.

While research is still limited and in its infancy when it comes to the impacts of adaptogens, these three adaptogens are also among some of the most well-studied and longest used adaptogens historically for supporting stress reduction and hormonal balance.

Reishi Mushroom

This adaptogenic mushroom has been used in Chinese and Japanese medicine for more than 2,000 years, where it coined the name “the mushroom of immortality.” When it comes to women’s health and hormonal balance, reishi has been shown to help support the immune system, while also helping to calm the nervous system and lower the body’s stress response. This is especially important for women whose adrenals can be easily impacted by stress, which can then impact a woman’s hormonal balance.

Maca

Maca is a Peruvian root that has been used as a food and natural medicine for thousands of years; however, it has only been within the past few decades that maca has gained popularity worldwide. Like all adaptogens, maca helps the body fight stress by supporting the endocrine system and limiting the rise of stress-induced cortisol levels, which can have a positive effect on overall hormonal balance and help reduce symptoms of fatigue.

Specifically, for early-postmenopausal women, maca may aid in hormonal balance and the reduction of post-menopausal symptoms. Maca can also be beneficial for women trying to re-regulate their cycles post-birth control or after pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is always best to consult with your personal healthcare provider in these situations, though, as they can provide the best recommendations for your specific needs.

Ashwagandha

This ancient herb has been a staple in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries and is most commonly referred to as Indian Ginseng. For women specifically, what I love about utilizing ashwagandha, is its ability to aid in the reduction of stress and anxiety. When stress is reduced in the body, stress hormones (such as cortisol) also decrease, which can help improve blood sugar and sleepall of which can have a positive impact on a woman’s menstrual cycle, reproductive hormonal balance and libido.

How to Incorporate Adaptogens into Your Lifestyle

It’s important to remember that adaptogens are just one part of supporting a healthy body and hormonal balance, which should always begin with prioritizing adequate sleep, consuming nourishing whole foods and consistent movement. With this foundation in mind, adaptogens can play an incredible supporting role in reducing the impact that stress has on our bodies daily and improving hormonal balance.

Some of my favorite ways to add adaptogens into your lifestyle for stress management and hormonal balance is to consume them intentionally and regularly for a minimum of three months, as that often is the time required to see real, long-lasting results.

I personally love adding adaptogenic powders into smoothies, homemade energy balls and homemade muffins. Certain adaptogens like maca and reishi also taste delicious when combined with cacao and can make for a nourishing alternative to coffee when blended together into a superfood latte (see my current favorite recipe below).

A superfood cacao adaptogenic iced latte made with Navitas Organics Maca Powder and Cacao+ Longevity Blend

Superfood Cacao Adaptogenic Iced Latte

INGREDIENTS

8 oz. coconut milk or oat milk
2 heaping tsp. Navitas Organics Cacao+ Longevity Blend
1 tsp. Navitas Organics Maca Powder
Pinch of sea salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
Optional: 2 oz. decaf coffee/espresso

DIRECTIONS

Mix all ingredients together in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Pour over ice and enjoy!

Makes 1 serving

Two strawberry banana cream smoothies made with Navitas Organics Superfood+ Adaptogen Blend and Chia Seeds on wooden boards with fresh strawberries

Adaptogenic Strawberry Banana Cream Smoothie

INGREDIENTS

1 frozen banana
5 frozen strawberries
1 Tbsp. almond butter
1 tsp. Navitas Superfood+ Adaptogen Blend
1 tsp. Navitas Organics Chia Seeds
6 oz. non-dairy or organic milk of choice
4 oz. full-fat yogurt

DIRECTIONS

Mix all ingredients together in a high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
Pour into a tall serving glass and enjoy!

Makes 1 serving

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