Stress, in particular elevated adrenal hormones effect so many aspects of our physical health, mood and wellbeing. To fully understand one of the key drivers of disease (adrenal stress), catch-up here.
As a person who is passionate and determined, I have found managing that intricate balance between family and work commitments, often taxing and overwhelming. Having suffered enormously at the hands of stress in my lifetime (more about that here), I understand the need to make amends when my stress levels increase (before I actually become sick again).
So if you believe adrenal stress is the underlying cause of your particular health concern, then here are some important strategies to regain balance. There is no single ‘cure’ or fast track to restoring adrenal function. But by implementing small, deliberate changes, you will notice a difference…
When we go for long periods without food, our body is programmed to respond by releasing cortisol and adrenaline to alter our metabolism and stabilise our blood sugar levels. Without going into detail, irregular eating is very taxing to the adrenal glands and causes more stress and more fatigue!
So eating regular, whole foods is crucial to supporting adrenal function and keeping your blood sugars stable. Three meals and healthy snacks between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner are critical.
If poor sleep is an issue or if you are waking fatigued, eating a small snack (like a few almonds) before bed is essential too. NEVER miss meals!
Breakfast needs to be the biggest meal of the day. It needs to always include lots of protein and be consumed within an hour of waking which will help to balance your metabolism and cortisol throughout the day ahead.
But what if you have no appetite in the morning? This is not uncommon in adrenal fatigue where the liver is not functioning to capacity (your naturopath can advise on ways to improve liver function). If you’re bored by breakfast ebook “Rise and Shine” will inspire you no end.
A word on snacking
By this I mean, maybe a carrot stick or five or six nuts for example – not a mini meal or a sweet treat. Once your blood sugars are stable and your adrenals are working well, you may well drop the snack altogether.
Cut the crap
It should go without saying, but I can’t help but warn that processed, highly refined, additive and sugar-laden foods are not foods that our bodies recognise or have evolved to eat. Whilst I have largely discussed the effects of psychological stress on our bodies, the burden of chemical stress and poor nutrition further depletes the adrenal glands (and liver). Aim to eat a variety of clean, whole foods.
Just a word of warning. If you adrenally fatigued, this is not a time to undertake radical fasts or restrictive detox diets. They will only worsen your symptoms. A kind, gentle, nurturing approach is best.
Blood sugar round about
When our blood sugars are low and we are adrenally (physically and mentally) exhausted, we, unfortunately, crave refined carbohydrate, sugar, and stimulants. Whilst this is SO tempting and will give you a quick ‘pick-me-up,’ it will also trigger the release of more adrenal hormones and set you in a very viscous cycle. What goes up, must come down and you will, often with a thunderous crash.
The good news is that you can avoid cravings by eating good food regularly, avoiding stimulants, exercising gently and practicing stress management techniques.
Hard, prolonged physical exercise drives UP cortisol release and needs to be avoided if adrenal fatigue is at play. If you are struggling with your weight and in adrenal overload, intense exercise will not help you to lose weight (quite the opposite).
Gentle movement like walking, restorative yoga or tai chi is much more healing and beneficial to your health. Find a physical outlet that suits you and schedule it into your week.
Personally, eating well and regularly comes easily to me; but valuing myself enough to relax is my greatest sticking point. In the course of a busy day, it is the one thing that gives – my challenge is reversing this pattern and putting myself on my ‘to do list.’
Here, psychotherapist Jane Faulkner shares 5 simple steps to stress less now. Changing negative patterns associated with feeling constantly stressed is possible. Jane’s powerful technique is amazing!
There are SO many amazing, restorative herbs for the adrenal glands and nervous system. If you believe stress is affecting you, I’d urge you to consider taking a skillfully formulated herbal tonic. Herbs obviously can’t remove the stressors in your life, but they definitely assist in improving the way you and your body copes and adapts.
B vitamins and magnesium are two nutritional supplements that are often indicated to support adrenal health. Please speak to your naturopath or herbalist about the best herbs and supplements for you.
As depression is sometimes linked with adrenal stress, if you feel you need to reach out, contact…
Lifeline – Phone 13 11 14
Beyond Blue – Phone 1300 22 4636
This is a massive subject which is why I have chosen to break it down into bite size bits. Take the bits you need and focus on them – don’t overwhelm yourself. Slow and steady always wins the race in overcoming adrenal related illness.
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Disclaimer – this information is not intended to diagnose or take the place of medical advice. If you feel unwell, please seek the advice of your health care practitioner. Full terms and conditions below.