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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