I turned 50 last year and people often ask me what I do and eat to keep my youthfulness. Actually, I am quite a naughty girl: I am partial to dairy (milk and cheese!) and to the odd bottle of wine. And though I live an active and healthy lifestyle, my body does need additional nutritional support (especially in the last two months, where I have been stressed out – and in the next few months, when I go back to work!). Here’s what I take:
Our body needs so many things, especially if you live a busy, stressful lifestyle in a polluted city. You’ve heard of co-enzymes, but what about adaptogens? These herbs and mushrooms have been used for centuries in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine.
Though it is not “hard science” yet, there is increasing evidence that these group of nutrients have the effect of normalising the body’s imbalances (adverse effect of stress, pollution and poor nutrition) and slowing down ageing effects.
Personally, I incorporate adaptogens into my diet to balance out inflammation caused by dairy, alcohol, sugar and stress. I also use very little products on my skin, choosing instead to nourish it from the inside.
The most well-known adaptogen is of course, ginseng.
For women, these are particularly good:
- Ashwagandha: Soothing.
- Rhodiola: Calming.
- Holy Basil: For vitality.
- Shatavari: The Hormonal Harmoniser, Queen of Women’s Adaptogens.
- Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng): For brain alertness and stamina.
- Reishi Mushroom and astragalus: For the immune system.
Photo: astragalus, licorice root, ginseng and holy basil stems.
I just throw the roots and barks (of what I need) into a slow cooker and boil overnight with some organic chicken carcass and vegetables. Seen here: fresh stalks from the holy basil.
Living in Asia at the moment, I can get hold of these roots and barks very easily from traditional herbal shops.
Whilst home in the UK, I use the powder form.
But it doesn’t have to be that complicated. For example, holy basil, which I put in my green smoothies and raw on my spaghetti, is a powerful adaptogen. Turmeric is another powerful one, which functions as an anti-inflammatory.
If you are not feeling 100% but can’t quite put your finger on why, then perhaps adaptogens might be what you need to bring your body back into balance. That’s what people in the olden days do to maintain wellness, instead of pill-popping. So do your research, speak with a few specialists and maybe try this.