Do you find yourself doing crazy things? Like putting the milk away in the pantry? Finding your car keys in the fridge? Driving along, not realizing you are lost in thought, then finding yourself somewhere and not realize how you got there? As you have been reading here, stress is getting the best of you. There are some changes you can make in your life to help ease the burden on your weakened adrenals.
Some of these changes are related to food and this is where adrenal fatigue diet comes in. One easy change is to NOT skip meals, especially breakfast. Your body is in constant need of energy to maintain all of its functions, so it needs a constant source of fuel (food). Your body even needs a constant source of fuel when it sleeps to maintain normal functions. Sleep is also the time when growth and healing occur.
So food is important, but how does it get used as fuel? Well, food gets broken down into the simplest of parts and the glucose (sugar) provides the fuel for your cells to do their jobs.
Foods for Adrenal Support
A proper adrenal fatigue diet is a well balanced diet that aims to support your adrenal gland by reducing adrenal stress by increasing your energy levels naturally so your body won’t eat through your stored nutrients.
Most foods to support your adrenal glands looks like a typical healthy diet consisting of lean sources of protein, leafy green vegetables, and whole grains.
If you are looking for foods to support your adrenal health here are some foods for adrenal support;
Organic meats are great source of high quality protein like free range chicken or turkey. Organic turkey meat is also known to be a good source of tryptophan. This amino acid is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for balancing your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety that can help you feel calmer, reducing your ongoing stress.
Eggs are a great source of protein they supply about 8 grams of protein for every egg. And in addition they are also rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin A, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid and choline.
Sea foods such as oyster, salmon and sardines are also great for your adrenal fatigue diet.
Salmons and sardines are a great source of protein and they are also loaded with healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce inflammation and promote better brain health.
Oysters are loaded with zinc. A healthy balance between zinc and copper ensures your neurotransmitters are function properly. This can also help you adapt to stress more easily and be less prone to anxiety. They are also rich in vitamin D and vitamin B12 as well which are necessary nutrients for your adrenal health.
Vitamin and Mineral Sources
Patients experiencing adrenal fatigue symptoms also need to consume enough healthy fats aside from protein to help your body heal.
Low-fat diet is not recommended for people with hormonal issues like adrenal fatigue since fat and cholesterol is necessary for your body to produce hormones.
Avocados are rich monounsaturated fats (healthy fats, are a great food to incorporate into your adrenal fatigue diet. They are also rich in fiber that can help your digestion.
Coconut oil is a versatile source of healthy fat to incorporate in your adrenal fatigue diet. They are rich in triglycerides that are necessary for healthy brain function.
Ghee is a great fat source alternative to dairy which may contain pesticides and hormones that can alter your adrenal hormones.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Leafy greens works wonders if you are suffering from adrenal fatigue symptoms. Vegetables like spinach, kale, and Swiss chard are rich in magnesium. This mineral is necessary for your good night sleep since it plays an important role in helping your body relax and balance you adrenal hormone cortisol levels.
This vegetable is a great to incorporate to your adrenal fatigue diet. Asparagus is a good source of B vitamins and folate. Folate is necessary for your neurotransmitters that may help ease your adrenal fatigue symptoms.
Aside from organic meat, it is also great to incorporate organ meats to your adrenal fatigue diet. They are a great source of vitamin b12, zinc and vitamin D that are needed by your body to manage stress levels properly.
Pumpkin seeds are great snack option for your adrenal fatigue diet. They are rich in zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, and vitamin E which are great for restoring you healthy adrenal function.
Patients that experience adrenal fatigue often experience electrolyte imbalances due to aldosterone deficiency. Incorporating sea salt to you adrenal fatigue diet will help your entire body to balance your electrolytes and minimize blood pressure related adrenal fatigue symptoms.
Foods to avoid
- Caffeine and alcohol-containing beverages such as energy drinks – increases cortisol (stress hormones) production.
- Sugary Foods (Refined Carbohydrates) – increase inflammation and worsens adrenal fatigue symptoms
- White flour – can be quickly converted to sugar which leads to weight gain and stress
Adrenal fatigue Diet Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner Timing: When You Actually Eat These Meals And Snacks, Is Important
Not allowing yourself to get too hungry will help to ease the burden on your adrenals to maintain a constant blood sugar level. In the morning, eat breakfast by 8am and within an hour of getting up will restore your blood sugar to the level it needs to be to meet the day. Then your adrenal glands don’t have to produce extra cortisol to meet that demand. A nutrient dense snack around 9am or so will help to prevent a drop in blood sugar before lunch.
An earlier lunch, between 11am and 12 noon, will continue to fuel your body since your morning meal gets used up fairly quickly to maintain the significant change in energy needs from sleep to waking as you engage your day. A nutrient dense snack around 2 or 3pm will help fuel you through the afternoon slump.
Dinner between 5 and 6pm should be the lightest meal of the day. Your energy needs are decreasing, so your need for fuel is decreasing. Eating a light, nutrient dense snack an hour before bedtime will ease the burden on your adrenals as they can wait longer to produce the extra cortisol needed to maintain your blood sugar.
So timing your food intake will help to balance your blood sugar and minimize the cortisol output that is needed so your adrenals can focus their attention and activity on functioning normally.
Listen To Your Body
It is important to pay attention to your body and listen to your body’s wisdom as you time your meals and snacks. If you find that your energy is waning at a certain point, then time that meal or snack earlier. It is important to use these times as guidelines, but not to replace the inner wisdom of your body. This should give you a steady supply of energy to go through your day.
What we eat is also important. Eating healthy foods will provide our bodies with substances that our bodies need, not just to grow, but to function optimally. Foods that are not (or minimally) processed are the most nutrient dense ~ foods that are the closest as possible to their natural state.
Nutrient dense foods will provide your body with essential micronutrients (vitamins, macro minerals, trace minerals and organic acids) as well as the macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates). We are more familiar with the macronutrients, which provide our bodies with fuel and building blocks as well as perform other functions in the body.
Adrenal Fatigue Nutrition
Micronutrients are needed in smaller amounts but are critically important to our cellular functioning and our physiology. Therefore, we need to look at the quality of our food and nutrient dense food provides us with both the macronutrients and the essential micronutrients.
Refined and processed foods are stripped of their natural vitamins and mineral and therefore need to be avoided. The refined carbohydrates and simple sugars will create tremendous spikes in your blood sugar. The increased sugar makes your pancreas send out more insulin to normalize the blood sugar and this pushes the glucose into the cells, suddenly dropping your blood sugar and sending your energy levels crashing.
This leads to a vicious cycle of high energy followed by crashes and cravings for those foods that will create that spike in blood sugar and high-energy feeling. As you’ve learned, though, this cycle can’t be continued indefinitely and eventually the adrenals will become overtaxed, fatigued and exhausted.
Avoiding caffeine is another important dietary consideration. Caffeine stimulates the adrenals that are already overtaxed. Most sources of caffeine contain sugar and often come in the form of drinks that are easily and quickly consumed and often over consumed. It is a double whammy for your adrenals.
These drinks and processed foods also have their own host of other problems with them that our bodies have to use energy to respond to so they are best avoided.
Salt cravings often happen in adrenal fatigue. The adrenals produce another hormone called aldosterone that regulates blood pressure by holding on to salt and water. These levels go up and down according to your circadian rhythm. When your adrenals are tired and aldosterone production is not adequate, your body craves salt.
It is ok to give into this. You are giving your body what it needs. That does not mean grabbing your favorite salty snack, though. You need to be aware of the type of salt you take in. Salt is vilified as elevating blood pressure, causing water retention and more, but our bodies need the minerals that salt provides us with.
The salt that is used in convenience foods and the table salt we buy at the store is a highly processed substance that is refined and stripped of its natural goodness. Using a good quality, high mineral content salt on your food is an excellent way to replace the salts that your body is calling out for.
Crucial Vitamins To Help Chronic Fatigue and Adrenal Fatigue
Vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients found in a pharmaceutical-grade supplements are essential to your adrenal fatigue diet for restoring adrenal health, and supporting the entire endocrine system. Not only can they help the healing process, but they can provide extra nutrition to our cells, and support proper adrenal functioning every day. Following are some of the most important to adrenal function:
- Vitamins C, E and all the B vitamins (especially pantothenic acid and B6) help regulate stress hormones.
- Magnesium provides energy to the adrenal glands (and the rest of your cells).
- Liposomal CoQ10 with PQQ- helps support mitochondria- the energy producers within the cell.
- Calcium and trace minerals including zinc, manganese, selenium, and iodine provide calming effects in the body. These mineral can reduce the stress of adrenal fatigue, which will help decrease unnecessary cortisol production.
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