The herb known as Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years in India and is now a staple of many people’s diets in other parts of the world, including the USA and Europe where its popularity has grown considerably in the last decade.
One of its primary uses has been the reduction of anxiety and the resultant impact on mental performance and energy levels. And these are clearly wonderful attributes, but with so many superfoods out there offering benefits to the body and mind, can one superfood ever claim to be the best?
The biggest benefit of Ashwagandha – and the reason for its prominence in Ayurvedic medicine – is its ability to both heal the body and the mind. As these components of the human form are inextricably linked, it would be doing the superfood an injustice to simply focus on the physical rewards you can get from consuming it.
Anxiety means different things to different people, but Ashwagandha has shown to be a potentially calming agent for those suffering from mild and moderate bouts of anxiety. Typically, anxiety is rooted in various aspect of your daily life – whether this is pressure from academic life, work or family.
The benefits of reducing anxiety offer the ability to achieve higher performance and a more focused state of mind when it comes to these various aspects of your mind. So by cutting out the stress before it starts to negatively impact your behaviour, Ashwagandha may be able to create a positive cycle where your ability to cope with your anxiety will lead to higher productivity, brain capacity and eventually, a greater sense of value.
Stress can arise from various different situations. As this happens, your body is registering that you are going through (or about to go through) a challenging situation and naturally releases a hormone called cortisol. As an adaptogenic herb, Ashwagandha can help you regulate your levels of cortisol and help you cope with stress
While some people can channel pressure into motivation and drive, often it can overload us and cause our bodies and minds to shut down – seeking comfort or an easy exit strategy.
And long-term exposure to stress can actually lead to lasting health issues as well as leave you susceptible to illnesses as your body’s immune system is also reduced during times of stress. Therefore, finding ways to limit anxiety and stress as soon as possible is essential.
Due to its ability to help you overcome anxiety, Ashwagandha can also allow you to achieve higher levels of mental and physical energy throughout the day. Much healthier than substances that contain high levels of caffeine or sugar – commonly used by people to fuel their daily lives – Ashwagandha can naturally increase your energy levels in a sustainable way.
Studies have also highlighted the superfood as a potential energy booster for athletes partaking in sports and other intense physical activities, improving the recovery process of their bodies and helping with the circulation of oxygen around the bloodstream.
As we all know, less stress means better sleep. And better sleep means more energy. Highlighted as a remedy for insomnia and sleep deprivation, Ashwagandha’s ability to calm your nerves and focus your mind can lead to more productive sleep patterns and a balanced distribution of cortisol – released in the morning as your rise to meet the day, rather than lingering in your system while you’re trying to nod off.
It’s fair to say that other superfoods are better at things like treating of pain or swelling such as Turmeric or Ginger, but Ashwagandha really leads the pack when it comes to offering sustainable benefits to your stress and energy levels. With a clear connection to your mood and mental health too, it should be considered by anyone building up their superfood arsenal this year.
When sourcing your superfood ingredients, make sure you always order from a reliable retailer who can ensure you are getting the best quality ingredient – and all the wonderful benefits of Ashwagandha.