Dealing with grief can really wear you down - mentally, emotionally and physically. As such, its no surprise that depression and anxiety are rampant in the wake of loss.
After losing my mom, I found that eating donuts on a daily basis really helped me get through the day. But in the end, the sugar took a toll on my mind and body and it would have been helpful to have some supplements in the mix (in lieu of just a sugar high).
In that spirit, the lovely Zach Berman - co-founder of The Juice Truck - shares the 8 herbs and supplements they suggest for combating the "debbie d's" that can be caused by grief.
Mad love to Zach and The Juice Truck for sharing! xo R
Don’t Stress it - A Guide to Herbs and Supplements that will Help Keep you Calm!
Ok…let’s all just take a breath. Inhale. Breathe in…count with me 1..2…3 and exhale.
Stress can get the best of us. Has anyone ever told you to relax only to feel the exact opposite result? This is a good sign that your adrenals are near capacity and you could use a little extra support.
Western society has a habit of keeping busy. We’re constantly overwhelmed, overstimulated and overworked. It can get to the point where even making a choice in the “Suggestions for You” section in Netflix can become a stressful activity.
Here at The Juice Truck, we're big fans of meditation (try Headspace or head to Moment Meditation if you’re in Vancouver), hot epson salt baths and long nature walks as ways to de-stress, but sometimes your body needs just a little bit more. Adding certain herbs and supplements to your routine will help you beat stress and maintain a more balanced, calm state of being. Many of the supplements that are best set to beat stress are Adaptogens. A word we love saying… say it a few times over and you’ll feel yourself falling into a state of relaxation. Make it your superfood mantra! Add them to your teas, smoothies and cereals.
Adaptogens are amazing healing plants that help in balancing, restoring, and protecting the body. Interestingly, adaptogens don't have any specific action. They help your body in responding to influences and stressors, normalizing your reactions and your body functions. They improve the health of your adrenal systems, where the body runs its hormonal response to stress. Healthy adrenals boost the body's ability to cope with anxiety in a slow and gentle way…so you don’t have to expect crashes or highs and lows that you get from stimulants such as caffeine. They’re the superhero of foods. Adaptogens adapt their function according to your body’s specific needs. Boom… superfoods!
Eating a clean diet, getting a good night's sleep, having a daily form of movement or exercise and practicing gratitude all help in combating stress. Adding adaptogens and superfoods to your diet can keep your cortisol levels low and keep stress away.
8 Great Herbs and Supplements for Stress and Anxiety
Maca is a root vegetable native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru. Maca, one of our favourite superfoods for energy and harmony balancing, is also our go to for stress. It’s been used for thousands of yours and infamously was taken by Incan's before battle to remain calm. Maca helps the body to regulate stressors in its environment. With a large range of nutrients, Maca benefits your overall well-being, which, when we’re overall being well…stress is less of an issue.
Maca, which is usually taken in powder form, has over 20 different fatty acids, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin B12 and B1 & B2, vitamin C, plus minerals, essential amino acids, and enzymes. Maca supports the nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system and helps reduce adrenal stress to bring our bodies back into that happy place we all long for.
#2. Holy Basil
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is a member of the mint family and is celebrated in India for it's anti-aging properties. Holy Basil helps in fighting fatigue and stress; boosting the immune system; and regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, and hormone levels. It’s great as a tea or as a powder to be added to smoothies.
Ashwagandha is our favourite adaptogen. It’s a real stress killer and one of the more popular adaptogens on the block. Its a long time favourite in Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwagandha helps regulate the immune system and ease anxiety by boosting the immune system and helping the body lower its cortisol levels. Herbalists recommend it for people with high blood pressure, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and impotence associated with anxiety or exhaustion. Studies have shown it enhances endocrine function, especially in the thyroid and adrenals.
Chamomile, our favourite bed time tea is a top performer at easing the mind. Before bed, brew up a nice cup of Chamomile. It has a mildly-sedating effect. Chamomile Tea is a nice and gentle relaxant that acts both as a nerve tonic and a sleeping aid. After a long day, if you’re mind is busy and you can't quiet the mind or slow down, brew yourself a hot cup of Chamomile Tea and feel the tension just float away.
#5. B Vitamins
B Vitamins…something most of us could use more of. Many people are deficient in B Vitamins...and B Vitamins are one of the best vitamins for combatting stress and anxiety. B Vitamins play a major role in mood regulation, maintaining nerve health, in helping the body create serotonin, which aids the body’s ability to deal with depression, anxiety and stress and in producing melatonin which is essential to your overall mood, relaxation and sleep. If you eat a plant-based diet, this is one supplement you definitely want to add to your regiment.
Magnesium is great for sleep, it helps relax muscles and is great for digestion and gut health. Magnesium also helps lower blood pressure and stress levels. You can find magnesium as a powder, a topical spray or in pill form. Magnesium deficiencies often result in feelings of stress and anxiety. Adding to our nightly habit of a cup of Chamomile Tea…taking a Magnesium supplement after dinner will bring you better sleep, relaxed muscles and less stress. That’s a habit that we’re down for.
#7. Kava Kava
Kava Kava might be the most mystical supplement on this list. It also might be the most relaxing, calm inducing drink out there. Typically the Kava Kava roots are brewed down to create a tonic that is potent for calming anxiety and stress. You might feel a bit buzzed, in a nice, dreamy kind of way.
Ginseng is one of the most celebrated adaptogens and stress fighters our there. Asian Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) is considered to be the most potent form of ginseng. Studies show that Ginseng helps increase mental performance while also helping cope with stress. It is also high in antioxidants and boosts antidepressant effects, which can help lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Ginseng is also a potent little libido booster…so no need to stress about any "after hours" business.
All in all…life can be overwhelming and stressful at times and we can all use a little help with stress and anxiety. Whether it be meditation, Ashwagandha…or a little bit of both, there are foods and daily practices that can help bring and maintain a level of calm and well being to your day to day.
This is our hit list for when things get a little overwhelming. Next time you feel yourself getting stressed, take a break, drink some Chamomile or Kava Kava and watch the stress just fade away!
If you're in need of some healthy lovin' for your brain and belly, check out the Juice Truck's blog for delicious recipes and helpful tips for your mind, body and spirit.
For more kick-ass tips, tools and resources including the FREE e-book The Shit You Need to Know About Grief sign up for loss&found below.