Just What's In This Stuff Anyway: A Primer to Ayurveda

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WANNABE What's in this stuff anyway

At WANNABE, we believe that health is so much more than numbers on a scale. To us, it’s about your overall health: mental, physical, emotional—the whole shebang.  

Many of our protein blends, which can play a role in your overall health, contain Ayurvedic herbs. If you practice yoga, you may have heard of Ayurveda—both practices (yoga and Ayurveda) originated in India and have related philosophies. If you haven’t heard of Ayurveda, don’t fret. You’re not alone!

The practice of Ayurveda (which comes from the Sanskrit words ayur, life, and veda, science or knowledge) began in India over a thousand years ago and has also been used in China for hundreds of years. It’s recently gained popularity in the United States as we’ve learned more about the herbs and their usefulness. “The reason is simple: Science,” says says Shaheen Majeed, Worldwide President, Sabinsa. “Increasing evidence from clinical studies has provided much needed support for Ayurvedic herbs and their myriad health benefits, which were scarce earlier.”

Ayurveda focuses on the interconnectedness between our individual make up (physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional), the universe, what it calls “life forces,” and how harmony (or the lack of it) among those facets affects our overall health. In the practice of Ayurveda, herbs are often used medicinally but in many western countries they’re also used as a complement to more traditional Western practices and lifestyles. We love what some of the Ayurvedic herbs have to offer, which is why we use them as one ingredient in many of our protein blends. Which herbs, you wonder? We thought you’d never ask! Here are a couple of our favorites:

Ashwaganda. This one’s a biggie! First of all, we love saying the name, which is pronounced ash-wah-ghan-duh. Try it—awesome, right?

Ashwaganda is a common Ayurvedic herb that’s often referred to as “Indian ginseng.” It’s been used since ancient times for a wide variety of restorative benefits and rejuvenating properties, including boosting users moods and immune systems, as an aphrodisiac, and for relieving stress. “It is considered to rejuvenate the body at a cellular level and helps to increase the stamina, endurance, and improve overall health and longevity,” Majeed explains. “Additionally, several studies have also reported its role to support healthy inflammatory response, antioxidant benefits, joint health, etc.”

Does that mean that when you use it, you’ll suddenly enjoy unloading the dishwasher or picking up your kid’s socks. Come on. It’s great, but let’s get real.

You’ll find it in: WANNABE BLISSED

Collagen. Collagen is made up of amino acids. Amino acids are the components that make up protein and help repair muscles, bones, and joints - as well as support healthy skin and hair. Collagen, specifically, is found in connective tissues of our bodies and, did we mention, skin & hair (along with muscles, bones, and even blood vessels). Medical professionals suggest collagen accounts for up to one-third of the body's structural protein and up to 75% of our skin.

While our bodies naturally produce collagen, that production rate starts to decline in our mid-20's (yep, TWENTIES) and continues to reduce by about 1% every year. So our bodies don't repair themselves as quickly and easily as they did when we were younger.

Because of this decline in production and the potential for replacement or improvement, several studies have been done on the benefits of ingesting collagen supplements. One study, conducted with college athletes, showed that collagen supplements could help lessen joint pain. Another study, published by the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, suggests collagen supplements might help lean muscle health. Women's Health magazine notes yet another study that suggests ingestible collagen can improve your skin and skin's hydration.

With all these potential benefits, collagen seemed like a perfect addition to our functional protein blends. You’ll find it in: WANNABE FIT

Triphala. Triphala means “three fruits,” and it comes by its name honestly. (The “tri” in the name is a bit of a giveaway.) The traditional Ayurvedic herb formulation consists of three native Indian fruits, the Indian Gooseberry (aka Amalaki), Haritaki, and Bibitaki. Triphala has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years to detoxify the system and promote digestive regularity.

“Traditionally, though Triphala is used as laxative in chronic constipation, colon cleansing, digestion problems, and poor food assimilation it has several potential benefits as well,” says Majeed. “Studies have shown that Triphala possesses properties like antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulating activity, appetite stimulation, gastric hyperacidity reduction, and protection against dental caries.”

We know, we know. Talking about digestive issues and regularity feels weird. But it’s totally not weird to want to have good gut health and have things work more regularly in the bathroom. Let’s be real: people have been dealing with those issues since the beginning of time.

You’ll find it in: WANNABE GUTSY

Wakame. Wakame is an edible seaweed, or kelp. It's incredibly high in nutritional value and some studies claim it actually helps to burn fat.

You'll commonly find Wakame in dishes from Japan, Korea, and China. And you'll find it packed with magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, E, K, and D. With all those letters, it's like the Wheel of Fortune of Ayurveda.

You’ll find it in: WANNABE FIT

WANNABE also cares about where our ingredients come from and we know that’s important to you, too. Rest assured that our suppliers are vetted and fabulous. We’re proud to include Sabinsa among them. Founded in 1988, Sabinsa has a strong belief in the principles of tradition, innovation, and research. “Over the past 20 years the company has introduced more than 100 standardized botanical extracts that are not just ‘Ayurveda-inspired’ but ‘validated by science’ as well,” Majeed says. “This is a testament to our commitment to provide high-quality ingredients, which consumers may trust without any doubts.”

In addition to providing us with high-quality ingredients, our suppliers source their herbs from systems that offer women opportunities to farm, providing those women with economic opportunities and independence. Can you say win-win?!

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