As the holiday season ramps up and adds bullet points to our to-do lists, the importance of good nutrition becomes paramount. From our mood to our energy levels, what we eat has a serious impact on how we feel both physically and mentally. And few foods support us during stressful periods better than adaptogens! This month, we answer some of the most common questions about these powerful superfoods.
If I heat or cook with adaptogens do I lose their benefits?
Some superfoods contain fragile ingredients—like vitamin C—that quickly degrade when exposed to heat. Happily, that’s not the case for our favorite adaptogens, like maca, reishi and ashwagandha! These powerful plant foods contain a matrix of nutrients that can withstand the steamy heat of a latte, a piping hot bowl of oatmeal or your oven's blazing heat, baking a batch of sweet stress-busting treats. In fact, cooking can actually make these ingredients more digestible for our bodies; our gelatinized maca has undergone a cooking process that breaks down the tough root vegetable starches within, making it easier to absorb and gentler on the digestive tract.
How many milligrams of adaptogens am I getting per serving?
We get this question about many of our products and the answer is simple—with a bit of nuance. All our superfoods contain a recommended serving size at the top of the nutrition facts panel. For example, our maca powder has a serving size that says: 1 tsp. (5g). From this, we know that a one teaspoon serving contains 5000mg of maca. Simple!
When comparing our superfood serving sizes to supplement dosages, it’s not always apples to apples. Many supplement companies extract or isolate certain compounds in a plant food and eliminate the rest, resulting in a specific and concentrated version of that food. We at Navitas have always embraced whole food nutrition, believing that the complete and natural form of food offers the best version for our bodies. This means that a supplement’s 5000mg might be providing a different nutrient spectrum than our 5000mg of the same food. While we can’t speak to the specifics of what another company’s dosage supplies, we can vouch for the whole food nutrition in ours.
How do I know what adaptogen is right for me?
There’s no wrong answer here! While each adaptogen works slightly differently within the body, all of them are plant-based foods that have been shown to support and balance the endocrine system—including the adrenal and thyroid glands. In times of stress and scarcity, the functions of these glands are often suppressed, resulting in symptoms like low energy, slowed metabolism, a decrease in vitality and a lackluster immune system.
When adding an adaptogen to your diet, it’s best to incorporate them daily; unlike stimulants (think: coffee) adaptogens do their best work in our bodies over time. Some health professionals recommend giving an adaptogen at least three months to really take effect.
And what does “take effect” mean? For some, it’s noticeable—a more regular menstrual cycle or an increase in stamina, for example. For others, it’s subtle and may simply be felt as more sustained focus throughout the day.
The best part? Most adaptogens, including ours, are created from whole food products, making them safe to try whenever and however you’d like. With the potential benefits in physical wellbeing and the delicious flavor notes they add, we can’t think of a good reason not to enjoy them every day!
Other Adaptogen FAQs:
Wondering what color maca we use? Find the answer HERE.
Confused about what “gelatinized maca” means? We explain the details HERE.