With the world and our country in turmoil, many of you are possibly saying to yourselves, "How much more can I possibly take?". We know we are! Some days are better than others and that is normal, but what is all of this doing to our bodies? How is the daily stressors of the day affecting us really? The more stress we endure, the more our bodies struggle to adjust and the more tired we become.
"Adrenal fatigue" describes a disruption of the adrenal glands' ability to make cortisol (a stress hormone) in the right amounts at the right times. Your adrenal glands are essential for your everyday health. They produce hormones that help your body to:
-burn fat and utilize protein
-regulate blood pressure
-react to stressors
Common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are thought to include:
fatigue, particularly upon waking, with intermittent “crashes” throughout the day
poor stress response and mood regulation
cognitive issues or “brain fog”
increased energy levels in the evenings
cravings for salty and sweet foods
overuse of caffeine and other stimulants
a compromised immune system
If you decide to try an adrenal-friendly diet, doctors recommend limiting foods and drinks high in refined and processed sugar and unhealthy fats, while also managing blood sugar.
Some foods to avoid include:
Timing your meals is also important. It helps with regulating blood sugar and supporting adrenal glands. It helps to eat breakfast, and eat regularly throughout the day. Skipping breakfast and lunch forces your body to burn stored nutrients and reduces your energy levels. If you eat regular, balanced meals and healthy snacks, you can maintain your energy and cortisol levels all day.
Follow the adrenal diet.
The adrenal diet recommends contains lots of brightly colored vegetables, lean clean protein, and whole grain gluten-free carbs.
Go to bed early.
Getting to bed before 11 p.m. is a must if your hormones are off. Many people get a second cortisol surge after 11 p.m., which further disrupts sleep patterns.
Flood the adrenals with B vitamins. B vitamins are great food for the adrenals. B12 and folate also support energy production.
Opt for supplements that cool inflammation.Omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin (turmeric), and vitamin C are three that have anti-inflammatory properties.
Replace important nutrients.
Vitamin D, selenium, magnesium, and zinc are all important for proper thyroid function and adrenal function.
Focus on hydration.
This is just a good tip for anyone: Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice or Himalayan sea salt to up the hydrating benefits.
Build rest into your day.
When you're dealing with exhaustion, sometimes a high-intensity cardio session can just burn you out more. Instead, consider low-impact, hormone-friendly workouts such as Iyengar yoga and Pilates. They also recommend taking two 20-minute rest breaks a day. They don't necessarily need to be naps, but timeouts alone to breathe and restore.
Herbal remedies for treating adrenal fatigue may include:
Licorice:. Warning: licorice can raise blood pressure.
Rhodiola: Adaptogen–helps the body adapt to stress.
Shisandra: Also an adaptogen–helps the body adapt to stress.
Holy Basil: Also an adaptogenic–helps the body adapt to stress.
Ashwagandha root: Increases in T3 and T4, supports thyroid and adrenals, balances hormones.
Astragalus: Improves immune system, adrenal function, and reduces stress.
Ginseng Root: Revitalizes the adrenals and balances hormones.
As always, please ask your doctor before drastically changing your diet, or taking new supplements along with your medications.