In honor of National Stress Awareness Month, let’s talk about how drinks can help reduce stress.
Stress–it hits all of us.
And there are many ways to alleviate it.
One, perhaps unexpected, way to reduce stress and it’s harmful effects is with strategically chosen beverages.
Some drinks, such as alcohol, make the bodily effects of stress more pronounced. Alcohol affects the liver and increases cortisol production, which in turn impairs the normal functioning of the adrenal axis. Coffee, too, can exacerbate the strain on the adrenal axis by causing more cortisol and adrenaline to be produced, hampering the normal production and clearing of those hormones. Sweet drinks increase the fat-storing effects of stress.
What, then, are good drinks for reducing stress and its negative consequences?
Drinks to Help Beat Stress
Relaxing Herbal Infusions
Some herbs are popularly known to help induce calm, relaxation, and even bring on sleep. And many of them taste good simply steeped in hot water and drunk as an herbal tea.
Look for chamomile, chysanthemum, hawthorn, lemon balm, linden, or passionflower.
Adaptogenic Herbal Infusions
While relaxing herbs are good for calming you down from a stressful situation, adaptogenic herbs help prevent the physiologic consequences of stress, particularly in our chronic stress world. Adaptogens work by improving bodily resilience and helping support the balance and healthy functioning of the adrenal axis.
Though not all adaptogens work the same, they all help create balance. Not all of them taste good, so stick to these when choosing which to drink as a single herb infusion: jiaogulan (gynostemma), licorice, tulsi (holy basil), schisandra, and goji berries.
This one may surprise you, as people frequently think tea, because of the caffeine, works the same way as coffee, increasing the effects on stress. A 2007 study in humans showed otherwise: participants drank black tea for 6 weeks straight then were exposed to stressful situations; the tea drinkers had lower cortisol and greater relaxation after the stressful event compared to control subjects.
Since green tea is frequently praised for its unique health benefits and this study was conducted using black tea, I think it’s safe to generalize that most true teas, including white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh would have similar effects.
One of the most important minerals for a healthy stress response and creating feelings of relaxation is magnesium. Magnesium helps prevent muscle cramps and spasms, and facilitates sleep.
Sure, there are many ways you can get magnesium, but one very easy and tasty way is by drinking Natural Calm, a flavored magnesium powder. Simply add 1-2 teaspoons to water. The raspberry lemon flavor is particularly appealing.
When stressed, we don’t have time (or patience) for complicated solutions, involved processes, and certainly not for selecting palatable herbs.
But we still need something.
That’s why we created BeBalanced, a blend of white tea, schisandra, licorice, another adaptogen, and for flavor, mint. The combination of tea and adaptogens makes it particularly adept at supporting a healthy stress response, so you feel… well, balanced.
Plus, it comes in an individually-wrapped pyramid tea bags, meaning it has a high convenience factor, and is with you anywhere the stress might hit.
As discussed above, tea and adaptogens work by building up the body overtime, so drinking their infusions daily for a few weeks will best help to combat the chronic stress in our lives.
Whatever approach you take to manage stress, consider the role of drinks in helping you better cope and feel resilient and healthy.