I do not know about you but the current state of affairs (Corona Virus) has taken my low grade anxiety to the next level. Fortunately, there are some natural and effective nutrients we can use to help us in these times. I will talk briefly about my two favorites nutrients that help provide a calm throughout my day: Matcha and Ashwagandha.
What is Matcha? Matcha is the finely ground powder of new leaves from shade-grown
Camellia sinensis green tea bushes. Matcha tea has forever been a haven for health benefits with mental health being one of them. After prolonged research, scientists were able to find out that this particular green tea can enable people to treat a number of mental health problem such as depression, panic, post-traumatic stress disorder and most importantly anxiety.
Matcha contains L-theanine amino acid. L-theanine is a rare amino acid found in high concentrations in matcha that crosses the blood-brain barrier and promotes a feeling of relaxation while reducing mental and physical stress. L-theanine works with caffeine to provide a stable extended boost of energy with none of the usual jittery side effects of caffeine and stimulants. It’s a mouthful, but l-theanine has a lot to do with the relaxed state of mind you experience when you’re on matcha.
There are so many ways to enjoy a MATCHA. Here is one of our favorites.
MATCHA ICED LATTE
12 ounces unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (or another milk of your choice)
1 1/2 teaspoons matcha green tea powder
2 teaspoons honey, pure maple syrup or other sweetener ((or more to taste))
splash pure vanilla extract
Add ice, twist lid on and shake Nourishing Tip: I like to pre-make my matcha into matcha shots and store in the fridge. That way, all you need to do is pour the desired amount in your glass and add the other ingredients.
Another one of my favorite stress busters is Ashwagandha. The ashwagandha plant is a small shrub with yellow flowers that's native to India and North Africa. Its use dates back three millennia to the time the Ayurvedic practitioners in India began using it for people with anxiety, low energy, and the ravages of aging. In holistic medical care, ashwagandha is seen as adaptogenic, meaning it will help increase effect when activity is low but will block excess stimulation when activity is too high. This is a very good choice for the wild hormonal variations that occur with anxiety.
Clinically, ashwagandha is found to be very helpful to calm anxiety, and specifically, help agoraphobia(anxiety especially in open or crowded places). One 2012 study, of 64 randomized volunteers, asked subjects to take either ashwagandha or a placebo twice a day for 60 days. The treatment group given the ashwagandha root extract exhibited a significant reduction in anxiety scores after two months relative to the placebo group, without side effects.
There are several ways you can enjoy your ashwagandha; capsule, tincture or powdered form. One of our favorite methods is through creating an evening Moon Milk using ashwagandha.
SLEEPY TIME MOON MILK
8 ounces unsweetened vanilla coconut milk (or another milk of your choice)
1/4 teaspoons ground ashwagndha
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ghee
1 teaspoon honey, pure maple syrup or other sweetener ((or more to taste))
Warm milk, add ground ingredients, whisk vigorously to incorporate any clumps, add ghee and serve.
Since ashwagandha can effect your cortisol level, you may need to play around with the appropriate time to consume. For some people, maybe it is the morning, while others, may benefit from taking it before bed. Working with your Health Coach, you can test your diurnal cortisol levels for assess the best time for you!
Other stress busters that we love are: Deep Breathing, Mediation or Prayer, stimulating the Vagus Nerve, listening to soothing music and being with loved ones.
Have a Nourishing Day!
Bhattacharya et al. Anxiolytic-antidepressant activity of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides: an experimental study. Phytomedicine. 2000; 7:463–469
Chandrasekhar et al. A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.Indian J Psychol Med. 2012;34(3):255-62.