Unless you’re a monk living on a mountaintop, you’re probably pretty stressed out. Modern life equals non-stop stress, and stress causes your body to produce a hormone called cortisol.
Chronically high levels of cortisol causes all kinds of health problems and even makes you age faster.
Elevated cortisol levels causes premature aging by producing reactive molecules called free radicals. These free radicals damage your DNA and important dermal structures like collagen and elastin, causing your skin to thin, wrinkle and sag.
Stress also accelerates aging by shortening your telomeres. Telomeres are like end caps for your chromosomes that preserve your genetic code during cell division. Each time your cells divide, your telomeres shorten, and as your telomeres get shorter, you age.
If you think that’s bad, chronically high levels of cortisol have also been linked to as many as 90% of all illnesses and injuries. Basically, stress causes important body systems to shut down (like your immune system and metabolism), and keeps your body from repairing your tissue and making new, healthy cells.
Stress can take a serious toll on your health, causing high blood pressure and heart disease, weight gain and obesity, diabetes, and much more. Chronic stress even causes the pre-frontal cortex of your brain (which regulates concentration, judgement, and decision-making) to shrink in size!
But there’s good news: Ashwagandha, a powerful herb found in Ayurvedic medicine, is an amazing natural treatment for chronic stress.
Ashwagandha (pronounced osh-wah-GONE-duh) is an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps you adapt and maintain homeostasis even in times of emotional and physical stress.
Ashwagandha has been clinically proven to reduce cortisol levels by 28% and lower symptoms of anxiety by up to 50%. Ashwagandha is also a potent antioxidant that reduces free radical damage and halts rapid aging caused by telomere shortening.
For the past 6 weeks, I’ve been taking ashwagandha and I love the way it makes me feel: calm but energetic, clear-headed, and generally in a happier mood.
If you want to try ashwagandha for yourself, here is a link to the supplement that I like, plus it contains with black pepper extract (another great antioxidant) for increased absorption. I hope you love it as much as I do!