Tag Archives: stamina

Invigorate and Protect with Cordyceps

When I added cordyceps to my morning supplements, I noticed a substantial increase in my energy levels. Other people have shared with me that taking cordyceps improved their endurance while exercising.  These experiences made me curious to investigate this medicinal mushroom further. Cordyceps falls in the category of traditional herbs known as adaptogens that increase stamina and help the body compensate for excess stress. While the only study showing it to reduce the stress response was done in rats, several human studies support the claims about endurance. During periods of exertion, cordyceps has been shown to increase the dilation of the aorta, the largest artery in the body, thereby providing improved blood flow to active muscles. In one study, 72% of long distance runners observed improved performance when using cordyceps. Another study demonstrated that older participants could work out longer before starting to build up lactic acid, a compound that contributes to muscle soreness.

Cordyceps is traditionally known as an anti-aging and rejuvenating herb. I think this claim is well supported by a multitude of research showing how it can protect our bodies from many different types of damage. Cordyceps contains antioxidant compounds that protect our cells from damaging free radicals. Several different compounds in cordyceps also show potential anti-tumor properties. Cordyceps even helps defend us against some viruses while simultaneously stimulating the immune system. Cordyceps benefits the heart by helping to reduce cholesterol and the oxidation of cholesterol, in turn reducing the deposition of cholesterol onto artery walls, which is what happens in atherosclerosis. Cordyceps was also shown to prevent damage to the kidneys from certain toxic substances. Finally, cordyceps has been traditionally regarded as a sexual tonic and libido enhancer. This claim is supported by research that shows that cordyceps can help modulate hormone production as well as improve blood flow and energy.


Coping with Stress

Many New Year’s resolutions focus on being healthier by quitting smoking or eating healthier. Another important aspect of maintaining our health is improving how we cope with stress. It would be ideal if we could eliminate some of the stress causers in our lives, but this is not always possible especially when the stress is tied to our incomes or all too often these days our lack of income. Excess stress is a significant contributor to short-term and long-term health issues. It can cause headaches, body pain, stomach upset, and increase our susceptibility to colds and other illnesses. In addition, stress may be a contributor to insomnia, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, dementia, and even cancer.

So what can we do about stress? I know there are some stressful circumstances we can’t change, but pay attention to where you might be putting unnecessary stress on yourself. Become aware of when you use the word should. If you are “shoulding” yourself about something that is unrealistic, replace it with a more manageable goal such as a concrete step you could complete that day. Or just drop that unnecessary demand on yourself all together. If your shoulds are about another person, instead try to accept that person for the wonderful if imperfect person they are. Since you can’t change another person, don’t stress yourself out by focusing on what they are not.

In addition to this emotional and mental work, add some healthy lifestyle habits to keep your body strong and mind balanced. Look for fun ways to fit exercise into your day. Ideally, get a workout buddy so you can also benefit from having a friend to talk things over with. Remember to take deep breaths, even if it is just a few when you are stopped at a light. Eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables and whole grains. There are also herbs like Ashwagandha and Siberian Ginseng that can help the body deal with the effects of long-term stress. These herbs can help balance the body’s output of stress hormones, as well as improve energy and stamina.


            If you want more tips on dealing with stress, check out Managing Stress at healthfinder.gov.