‘Adaptogen’ is a key buzzword for 2017, as there’s a big focus in the superfood world on them, with other notable adaptogens being ashwagandha, chaga, reishi, cordyceps (one of the best things I’ve found recently for boosting energy, strength and endurance before exercise!) and ginseng.
Adaptogens are just as the name suggests; they help the body and mind adapt to stress – physical, emotional and mental. Specifically, they work with hormones, and can be incredibly useful for relieving fatigue, stress, and helping to improve focus, memory, mood, libido, physical strength and endurance, and can also help strengthen the immune system.
This recipe combines some wonderful ingredients that help relieve inflammation, and also boost mood levels and energy, whilst relieving stress. Two of the key ingredients here are maca and curcumin.
Maca is the extract of the root of the lepidium meyenii plant, an adaptogen which is part of the cruciferous family and usually grown high in the mountains of South America, most notably Peru. Maca is a wonderful mood-booster, hormone balancer, and energy enhancer. It can also increase both libido and fertility in both men and women, increase memory and focus, and many people say it has helped improve their overall sense of wellbeing after continued use. With over 20 amino acids, vitamins B1, B2, C and E, and plenty of magnesium, calcium, copper and zinc, it’s definitely a superfood worth investing in.
Curcumin is the active component of turmeric, which you may already have at home in your kitchen cupboard! It has strong antioxidant properties, can help ease pain and inflammation, can reduce blood sugar levels and enhance liver function, and studies show that it not only reduces the amount of unhealthy and disease-holding cells in the body, but actually encourages healthy cell growth in both the body and brain!
Ingredients (Serves 2)
- 2 cups home made cashew milk (click here for the recipe – and omit the cardamom)
- 2 tsp maca powder
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp black pepper (to activate the turmeric)
- The contents of 2 capsules of Pukka Ashwagandha
Optional: 2 tsp agave, cococonut nectar or honey to sweeten, although the cashew milk and maca do add a sweet taste already.
Add the cashew milk and ½ cup of water to a pan and warm
After a couple of minutes, add all other ingredients and heat everything well, being careful not to completely boil the liquid in order to keep all the nutrients intact. (Ensure you open the capsules of ashwagandha and pour them into the liquid, and discard the casing).
Turn off the heat and use a whisk to froth the milk, add a sweetener if you need
Top with a sprinkling of raw cacao or cocoa powder if you have it available
Pour into 2 mugs, relax and enjoy!