Diet And Adrenal Fatigue- Some Do’s and Don’ts
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. 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. This glucose goes into your blood stream where it goes to all the cells of your body. Your pancreas then produces insulin so the glucose can get into the cells to be used as fuel. The sugar that is present in your blood stream is referred to as your “blood sugar”.
Cortisol Is Important To Maintain Blood Sugar
Cortisol is important to maintain your blood sugar, especially at night, when there is no source of fuel coming in. Cortisol takes the stored sugars (glycogen) in your body and breaks them down so that your cells have the energy they need to function. When we skip meals in the daytime, we need extra cortisol to raise the blood sugar so our cells have energy. Therefore, it is important to make every attempt to eat three nutrient dense meals and 2-3 nutrient dense snacks during the day to maintain the levels of blood sugar needed for your cells to do their jobs.
The Timing Of Your Food intake, 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, eating 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 adrenals 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 nutrient dense 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.
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. Learn more about the 8 Dietary changes needed if you suffer with adrenal imbalances or Thyroid
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. You can learn about the stages of adrenal fatigue here.
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.
The Importance Of Rest
The last thing we will talk about is rest. This is really what your body needs when our adrenals are sending signals to us that they are over stressed. We need to identify all the areas that are stressing our systems and identify the ones we can change.
For example, we can’t change the fact that we just lost our job, but we can change our response to that. We can identify our self-limiting thought patterns and change those when we hear them popping up. We can choose to eat breakfast first thing in the morning and get to bed at a decent hour. Rest is very important.
Going to bed at the same time every day will help us to wake up at the same time and this helps to stabilize that circadian rhythm that controls our day and night.
Unless you are in the very beginning stages of adrenal fatigue, you will need more help to fine tune your system than just a few lifestyle changes.
Treatment For Adrenal Fatigue
If you feel that your response to stress is affecting your health, call Dr. Hagmeyer to go over an Adrenal Stress Index Panel to determine a course of action, which includes lifestyle changes, to heal your adrenals today.
Our Chronic Stress Recovery Program is a Great Way to Reboot Tired and Worn Out Adrenal Glands.
The Personal and Individualized Stress and Recovery Program is a Natural Treatment for men and woman who suffer with fatigue, anxiety, sleeping problems, adrenal fatigue, chronic pain.
Our office utilizes nutritional supplements, Dietary modifications, Nutritional Counseling, Advanced Testing, Hormone and endocrine support formula, Dietary assessment, and lifestyle guidance.
Our Personal Fatigue, Stress and Anxiety Recovery Program is Customized to the Individual. We don’t have a cookie cutter approach to your health problem. We believe that each person develops sickness and disease for a variety of different reasons. This is why our approach not only tests each person based on their case history, but our treatment is then customized to the individual.
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3. Still have questions? Our Free 15 minute personalized Phone consult is a great place to start. We’re here to listen and help you through this frustrating and confusing time. Call for a free 15 minute personalized phone consult to find out more about balancing your adrenals and your life.
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