Heavy eyelids, cement block legs and lethargy are all normal feelings that we experience in the wee hours of the morning. These productivity barriers tend to subside after we’ve downed our first cup of coffee for the day. Even though coffee rushes into our bloodstream giving us our instant morning kick – we still experience jitters and a palpitating heart.
Once a week or more, give your body a rest from the regular caffeine intake (it’ll thank you later). Switching to smoothies for your morning breakfast is a quick fix if you’re on the go and haven’t much time to prepare. Why not chuck in some superfoods and adaptogens while you’re at it, to add more points to your health? I’m sure Super Mario wouldn’t say no to Maca if it could give him more lives.
What the heck are Adaptogens?
Dr. Brenda Powell a co-medical director of the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Wellness Institute says that “adaptogens help your body handle stress.” Each apoptogenic herb provides a specific function ranging from uses for long-term stress to immune health. Integrating adaptogens into one’s diet is a huge step to caring for your temple. There are many ways to ingest adaptogens, you can buy the powder, tincture or pill form. Personally, the powder form works best for me because I can ration how much goes inside my smoothies. Here’s my top five go-to adaptogens and superfoods that help me perform.
That green stuff that’s darker than seaweed that looks like grass pumped with loads of nutrients? It’s spirulina! Spirulina is a type of cyanobacteria, that’s part of the single-celled microbe family. It’s loaded with protein, Vitamin B1, riboflavin, Iron and more. It also contains a decent percentage of magnesium, manganese and potassium. Adding a teaspoon of spirulina powder to your smoothie mix will give it a deep green color. Did I mention there’s also blue spirulina?
On occasion, I’ll skip a cup of coffee and replace it with a matcha smoothie. Contrary to popular belief, powders have much more antioxidants, minerals and vitamins as opposed to loose leaf tea. Its condensed form provides more benefits because with loose leaf teas you’re simply steeping the tea into the liquid. Matcha is in its condensed form which is the best way to consume green tea. Matcha is considered an anti-oxidant powerhouse teeming with green tea catechins. The catechin EGCg (epigallocatechin) counteract the effects of free radicals from the likes of pollution, UV rays, radiation and chemicas which can lead to cell and DNA deterioration. Throw in a little bit of matcha in your smoothie for an added caffeine kick without the jitters.
The maca plant, known scientifically as Lepidum meyenii, is sometimes known as Peruvian ginseng. It usually resides in the Andes of Central Peru as a cruciferous vegetable and is commonly shares similar DNA to broccoli, cabbage and kale. Other people might claim that maca is a magical aphrodisiac and they aren’t from the truth. It can also tweak sexual desire and function. I haven’t experienced any feelings in this way but make sure not to take too much!
Raw Cacao powder
Cacao, is known to be an Amazonian superfood that’s found in almost every chocolate. Chocolate. You need to add some to your smoothies. Need I say more?
Cordyceps is one of the strangest looking superfoods but have no fear! This alien looking fungus is a powerful immune booster. It stimulates the immune system by increasing the number and boosting the activity of natural killer cells that help counteract bacteria and viruses. With cordyceps, take it slow. Start with smaller doses between ¼ and ½ tsp of the powder. I would also use this sparingly, so twice-thrice a week would suffice.
Most importantly, have fun with these superfoods and adaptogens. Don’t mix all of them at once and take them separately (or mix 3 at a time at most) to get the best effects for your health.