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7 Everyday Tonics That Help Your Body Adjust to Stress and Anxiety
By Tiffany La Forge
We've all been there — feeling like there's just some pep missing in our step. Thankfully, there's a natural (and tasty!) solution in your pantry.
So instead of reaching for that third cup of coffee for an energy boost or a nightcap to de-stress, we rounded up seven natural tonics filled with everyday ingredients that are known as powerful remedies for fighting fatigue, anxiety and stress. Think: apple cider vinegar, matcha, ginger and turmeric to name a few.
Keep reading to discover your new favorite flavorful drink.
Drink ginger to sharpen your brain and beat stress.
Ginger has benefits beyond flavoring your favorite stir-fry recipe or easing an upset stomach. This powerhouse plant contains 14 unique bioactive compounds and antioxidant properties. These compounds have been found to sharpen cognitive function in middle-aged women and may even protect the brain, per a study in rats, against oxidative stress-related damage.
- improved brain function
- antioxidant support
- treatment for stress
Brew this healthy ginger tonic (hot or cold) for a dose of powerful antioxidants. Fresh ginger is the way to go, but if you're planning on supplementing, recommended doses vary.
Possible Side Effects
Ginger doesn't have many serious side effects. Just make sure you're not overdosing (more than 4 grams) as it could irritate your stomach.
Brew maca to balance your hormones.
Maca root is increasingly popular lately — and for good reason. This native Peruvian plant has been shown to increase sexual desire in men (and possibly sexual function, too). It's also shown promising results for boosting exercise performance in male cyclists.
This hormone balancer is also a strong supporter against stress. Maca's plant compounds (called flavonoids) may promote a positive mood and reduce blood pressure and depression(as shown in postmenopausal women).
- increased energy
- balanced mood
- reduced blood pressure and depression
Simply mix maca powder into your daily smoothie, cup of coffee, or hot cocoa (here's a tasty recipe!). You can also try this Good Energy Drink featuring the root. To truly see an effect, you may need to drink about 3.3 grams every day for 8 to 14 weeks.
Possible Side Effects
Maca is generally safe for most people unless you're pregnant, breastfeeding or have a thyroid problem.
Need a new pick-me-up? Switch to matcha.
Sip matcha for a clean, jitter-free buzz. Matcha contains flavonoids and L-theanine, which is historically known for its relaxing effects. L-theanine increases the brain's alpha frequency band, relaxing the mind without causing drowsiness.
Combined with caffeine, L-theanine may have positive effects on mood and cognition. Considering matcha is also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients, it can be a powerful tonic for beating fatigue and boosting your overall health.
- positive effects on mood
- promotes relaxation
- provides sustained energy
Possible Side Effects
Just as you can be over-caffeinated on coffee, it's possible to drink too much matcha. While it may be healthier, stick to just one or two cups a day.
Try reishi for natural anxiety relief.
Reishi mushrooms, nicknamed "nature's Xanax," are a great natural way to de-stress. This mushroom contains the compound triterpene, which is known for its calming properties. It also possesses anticancer, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant qualities.
This magic mushroom may also promote better sleep (as shown in studies on rats), leaving you more rested and focused throughout your day.
- promotes more restful sleep
- has antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties
- possesses powerful calming agents
Possible Side Effects
While research around the benefits of reishi's is still lacking, what's available shows that they may be associated with liver damage. Other than that, the side effects are minor (such as an upset stomach). Talk to your doctor if you're considering supplementing with these mushrooms as people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, those with a blood problem, or anyone needing surgery should avoid it.
Reach for apple cider vinegar to boost energy.
Apple cider vinegar has uses beyond that tasty vinaigrette. This vinegar can have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels, helping you maintain even energy and preventing fatigue. Apple cider vinegar also contains essential minerals like potassium, which has a direct correlation on our energy levels.
Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits
- controls blood sugar
- maintains even energy levels
- may help promote overall health
Possible Side Effects
Large doses of apple cider vinegar may cause some side effects, including digestive issues, damaged tooth enamel, and throat burns. It may also interact with your medications, so talk to your doctor if you're planning to drink it regularly.
Try turmeric for overall mental health.
Turmeric lattes are all over the internet, but are they backed by science or just trendy? We're happy to report that turmeric stands up to its popularity — especially in terms of mental health.
Curcumin, the bioactive compound found in turmeric, has been linked to treating anxiety, depression, and more — possibly due to it boosting serotonin and dopamine levels. Research has suggested that it may actually be just as effective as Prozac with far fewer side effects.
- boosts serotonin levels
- can help relieve anxiety and depression
- may be just as effective as antidepressants
Try this refreshing anti-inflammatory Turmeric Tonic for something a little different. The results may not be immediate, but if you drink it 1000 milligrams daily for six weeks, you may start feeling a difference then.
Possible Side Effects
For the most part, turmeric is safe to eat. But you may want to avoid too much of it and make sure you're getting it from a trusted source. High doses of turmeric may cause kidney stones, and untrustworthy sources tend to have fillers.
Ashwagandha: Your new go-to adaptogen
If you're not familiar with this adaptogen, it's a good time to learn. Adaptogens are naturally occuring substances that help our bodies deal with and adapt to stress.
- reduces body's stress hormone
- relieves anxiety
- prevents stress-related fatigue
Possible Side Effects
There aren't enough studies to say exactly what the side effects of this herb are, but those who are pregnant will want to avoid it, as it can cause early delivery. Another risk of taking ashwagandha is the source. Untrustworthy sources tend to have harmful additives.
As always, check in with your doctor first before adding anything to your everyday routine. While most of these herbs, spices, and teas are safe to consume, drinking too much in a day may be harmful.
So, with all of these amazing stress-fighting tonics to choose from, which one are you most excited to try first?
Medically reviewed by Natalie Olsen, RD, LD, ACSM EP-C.
Tiffany La Forge is a professional chef, recipe developer, and food writer who runs the blog Parsnips and Pastries. Her blog focuses on real food for a balanced life, seasonal recipes, and approachable health advice. When she's not in the kitchen, Tiffany enjoys yoga, hiking, traveling, organic gardening, and hanging out with her corgi, Cocoa. Visit her at her blog or on Instagram.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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Global Banks, Led by JPMorgan Chase, Invested $1.9 Trillion in Fossil Fuels Since Paris Climate Pact
By Sharon Kelly
A report published Wednesday names the banks that have played the biggest recent role in funding fossil fuel projects, finding that since 2016, immediately following the Paris agreement's adoption, 33 global banks have poured $1.9 trillion into financing climate-changing projects worldwide.
By Patti Lynn
2018 was a groundbreaking year in the public conversation about climate change. Last February, The New York Times reported that a record percentage of Americans now believe that climate change is caused by humans, and there was a 20 percentage point rise in "the number of Americans who say they worry 'a great deal' about climate change."
England faces an "existential threat" if it does not change how it manages its water, the head of the country's Environment Agency warned Tuesday.
By Jessica Corbett
A new analysis revealed Tuesday that over the past two decades heat records across the U.S. have been broken twice as often as cold ones—underscoring experts' warnings about the increasingly dangerous consequences of failing to dramatically curb planet-warming emissions.
By Madison Dapcevich
Ask any resident of San Francisco about the waterfront parrots, and they will surely tell you a story of red-faced conures squawking or dive-bombing between building peaks. Ask a team of researchers from the University of Georgia, however, and they will tell you of a mysterious string of neurological poisonings impacting the naturalized flock for decades.
The initial cause of the fire was not yet known, but it has been driven by the strong wind and jumped the North Santiam River, The Salem Statesman Journal reported. As of Tuesday night, it threatened around 35 homes and 30 buildings, and was 20 percent contained.
The unanimous verdict was announced Tuesday in San Francisco in the first federal case to be brought against Monsanto, now owned by Bayer, alleging that repeated use of the company's glyphosate-containing weedkiller caused the plaintiff's cancer. Seventy-year-old Edwin Hardeman of Santa Rosa, California said he used Roundup for almost 30 years on his properties before developing non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Today's verdict reinforces what another jury found last year, and what scientists with the state of California and the World Health Organization have concluded: Glyphosate causes cancer in people," Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said in a statement. "As similar lawsuits mount, the evidence will grow that Roundup is not safe, and that the company has tried to cover it up."
Judge Vince Chhabria has split Hardeman's trial into two phases. The first, decided Tuesday, focused exclusively on whether or not Roundup use caused the plaintiff's cancer. The second, to begin Wednesday, will assess if Bayer is liable for damages.
"We are disappointed with the jury's initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer," Bayer spokesman Dan Childs said in a statement reported by The Guardian. "We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto's conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman's cancer."
Some legal experts said that Chhabria's decision to split the trial was beneficial to Bayer, Reuters reported. The company had complained that the jury in Johnson's case had been distracted by the lawyers' claims that Monsanto had sought to mislead scientists and the public about Roundup's safety.
However, a remark made by Chhabria during the trial and reported by The Guardian was blatantly critical of the company.
"Although the evidence that Roundup causes cancer is quite equivocal, there is strong evidence from which a jury could conclude that Monsanto does not particularly care whether its product is in fact giving people cancer, focusing instead on manipulating public opinion and undermining anyone who raises genuine and legitimate concerns about the issue," he said.
Many regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, have ruled that glyphosate is safe for humans, but the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer found it was "probably carcinogenic to humans" in 2015. A university study earlier this year found that glyphosate use increased cancer risk by as much as 41 percent.
Hardeman's lawyers Jennifer Moore and Aimee Wagstaff said they would now reveal Monsanto's efforts to mislead the public about the safety of its product.
"Now we can focus on the evidence that Monsanto has not taken a responsible, objective approach to the safety of Roundup," they wrote in a statement reported by The Guardian.
Hardeman's case is considered a "bellwether" trial for the more than 760 glyphosate cases Chhabria is hearing. In total, there are around 11,200 such lawsuits pending in the U.S., according to Reuters.
University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias told Reuters that Tuesday's decision showed that the verdict in Johnson's case was not "an aberration," and could possibly predict how future juries in the thousands of pending cases would respond.