Adaptogens are plants that have been used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese healing traditions known for their ability to help the “body resist stressors of all kinds, whether physical, chemical or biological.” They have the “to help people to adapt, either by supporting the nervous system and easing nervous emotional tension or by working directly with the body’s own physiological processes to maintain health.” Basically, adaptogens are believed to promote overall well being from the brain to the toes.
Adaptogens have a unique ability to hack into the body’s stress response and “stretch out [the] ‘sweet spot’ in the middle — the phase of resistance — allowing us to hang out in the powerful [stress phase] longer.” In short, adaptogens shorten the “unhealthy stress responses,” while heightening the “healthy stress responses.”
Seeing as stress is a leading cause of many health issues and is one of the main deterrents for a healthy immune system, adaptogens are a powerful ally for immunity.
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Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is rife with antimicrobial properties and protects “against chemical stress from exposure to environmental toxins,” as well as “helps normalize levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood fats, and improves memory and mental function.” This Tulsi Chai Concentrate recipe by Courtney West uses a third of a cup of dried holy basil as a powerful infusion for your morning cup of chai!
This Healing Turmeric Smoothie recipe by Marquis Matson is rich with ginseng powder, one of the most popular and widely used adaptogen in the Western world. Ginseng has been found to enhance strength and stamina, “[improve] blood sugar and insulin function in type 2 diabetes, [protect] against cancer, and [enhance] immunity.”
Just because it’s an adaptogenic elixir, doesn’t mean it can’t be a bit luxurious as well! This Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Maca Smoothie recipe by Vicky Coates mixes together salted caramel protein, peanut butter and flour, and banana with a bit of maca powder — which improves “overall health, especially its power to fight free radicals” — to create this super tasty, super calming, and super immune-boosting shake!
There aren’t a whole lot of tasty recipes that include ashwagandha, yet this Adaptogenic Nut-Granola recipe by Katrine van Wyk doe the trick! Ashwagandha is an excellent adaptogen that can “calm the central nervous system,” reduce “unhealthy levels of inflammation,” helps “relieve arthritis,” and helps to balance the immune system.
Make this Raw Licorice recipe by Kibby Miller an adaptogenic meal by adding just a dash of licorice root! This ancient herb has been used to not only boost the immune system, but also soothe the stomach, cleanse the respiratory system, reduce stress, protect your skin and teeth, and has even been used in some cancer treatments.
This Raw Superfood Chocolate recipe by Emily von Euw could also easily be called “adaptogenic” chocolate as well! Along with a slew of superfoods, this chocolate calls for adaptogenic maca powder and reishi powder — also an immune booster, fatigue fighter, and has even been shown to regulate blood sugar levels.
Maitake might be a bit harder to get your hands on, but this adaptogenic mushroom holds the same immune-boosting powers as other mushrooms, plus it’s known to help “regulate blood pressure and to assist with weight loss and is even thought to help fight cancer.” This Blackened Maitake Breast recipe by Wicked Healthy is incredibly simple, yet can serve as a special, “fancy” meal.
This Chocolate Reishi Latte recipe by Maria and Alyssa Tosoni is a delightful way to get your dose of immune-boosting adaptogenic reishi into your diet on a daily basis. This latte has a mixture of healthy fat-filled raw coconut butter and anti-inflammatory raw cacao and cinnamon for the ultimate morning beverage.
Maca is not only great for your mind and body, but it also happens to be a super diverse ingredient! This Maple Maca Amaranth Porridge recipe by Claire Ragozzino integrates maca powder into your favorite hearty morning porridge.
There are lots of ways to make congee, yet this Comforting Shiitake and Kale Congee recipe by Annie Oliverio is not only super healthy, vegan, and rich in plant-based ingredients, it’s also rife with adaptogenic shiitake mushrooms that are a great savory addition!
Another maitake mushroom recipe! This Maitake Mushroom Sandwich With French Onion Soup Dip recipe by Carla Rendon and Jessica Ruiz is spilling over with spices and herbs including cumin, paprika, and sage, which add to the immune-boosting powers of maitake.
Alright, one more lovely shiitake recipe! This Shiitake Bacon! recipe by Tami Noyes is incredibly simple with only seven ingredients. Make a big batch and keep in the freezer for those “need some plant-based bacon” days.
While this recipe calls for salt licorice powder, to really make this an adaptogenic recipe, find your favorite licorice root powder and add a dash! This Raw Raspberry Licorice Mini Cakes recipe by Natalie Yonan is the perfect recipe to tackle on that lazy Sunday afternoon to have healthy goodies for the week to come.
This recipe not only has immune-boosting, vitamin-C rich apricots, but it also calls for immune-boosting adaptogen maca! This Apricot Maca-Roon Cookies recipe by Nikki Zuzana is super healthy, sugar-free, and body-boosting!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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