Last week I shared my personal experience with adrenal fatigue.  If you’ve been under chronic, long-term stress and you think it is impacting your health, I’m going to share some ways you can help to heal your body with food.  But remember, to truly heal, you need to heal your WHOLE self, and I highly recommend things like counseling, yoga, meditation, a support group, etc. in order to address the root cause of your stress.

The common symptoms of adrenal fatigue are: chronic fatigue, body aches and headaches, unexplained weight loss or weight gain, lightheadedness, hair loss, brain fog, moodiness, depression, skin ailments, sleep disturbances, and sweet and salty food cravings.[1]

Foods to avoid:

Caffeine

One of the best things you can do to help heal adrenal fatigue is to cut out caffeine.  I know it sounds daunting, and maybe even downright terrible, but I promise you, it is so important (and the terribleness only lasts a handful of days, max).  Anyone who experiences chronic stress knows how hard sleep is to come by, and since caffeine further interferes with the natural sleep cycle, it’s pretty clear why it’s so important.  Our body recovers and repairs while we sleep, and poor sleep just takes away time the adrenal glands need to recover.  Furthermore, caffeine stimulates the already over-stimulated adrenals and uses more of the already-depleted cortisol.[2]

Sugar

Energy levels are another key area of concern when it comes to adrenal fatigue.  If you are exhausted all.the.time., it is really important to stabilize your blood sugar so that you don’t experience the dips that come with blood sugar spikes and crashes.  The easiest way to do this?  Cut out sugar![3]  The adrenal glands kick into high gear when blood sugar crashes – and your adrenal glands are already tired, so give em a break.[4]  Starchy carbohydrates should also be eliminated or limited due to their effect on blood sugar.  Ironically, sugar is the first thing I turn to when I’m tired, so cutting this out in a fatigued state takes some willpower, but once you start feeling the effects, you’ll know it’s worth it.

Foods that cause Inflammation

This is a big category, but it is so important to bring down systemic inflammation in order to heal any system of the body.  Inflammatory foods are also more difficult for the body to digest, and since adrenal fatigue compromises digestion, you need to be sure you are putting food in your body that it can handle.[5]  Foods in this group include any processed foods and meats, hydrogenated oils and gluten.  Replace these foods with real foods that are rich in nutrients!

 

Healing Foods

Focus On:

  • Eating small meals often throughout the day to maintain stable blood sugar and energy levels.[6]
  • Macronutrients: healthy fats and quality proteins
  • Micronutrients: Vitamin C, B Vitamins, Vitamin D, Zinc, Magnesium[7]
  • Other: Probiotics and Adaptogens

Seaweed

Seaweed is extremely rich in magnesium, zinc, iodine, and Vitamin C.  It also helps maintain a healthy digestive system, and can act as an anti-viral.[8]  Remember, immunity and digestion are compromised under chronic stress (“fight or flight” mode), so we need to boost the function of these systems with food!  Some of my favorite ways to consume seaweed are sushi and miso soup.

Organ Meats (such as liver, from pasture-raised animals)

I will confess that I haven’t dabbled much in organ meats, mostly because I have no idea how to prepare them.  BUT it is worth mentioning here because they are SO rich in vitamins and minerals, and all of the constituents are great for healing the adrenal gland.  Liver contains all of the B Vitamins as well as healthy fats and cholesterol.[9]  If you aren’t down with organ meals, other pasture-raised meats provide beneficial protein, fats, and vitamins.  The higher levels of Omega-3s in pasture-raised meat (vs. factory farmed meats) are better for balancing hormones.

Spinach

Spinach is a top food source for both B Vitamins and Magnesium![10]  Here are a couple of my favorite recipes that use spinach: Ultimate Summer Salad and Pesto.

Sea Salt

Many people suffering from adrenal fatigue have deficiencies in minerals and electrolytes. This is because another hormone that is produced in the adrenal gland, aldosterone, also becomes depleted.  Aldosterone is responsible for regulating salt levels in the body.[11]  It’s all connected, right?  I noticed when my aldosterone was being affected when I started craving salty foods (I normally crave sweet things).  Sea salt (as opposed to table salt) also contains many minerals needed to support the adrenal gland.[12]

Bell Peppers

Move over oranges, bell peppers are one of the best food sources of Vitamin C!  Vitamin C not only supports adrenal function, but it also supports the suppressed immune system.[13]

Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin seeds are the best food source of magnesium – one of the critical minerals in healing the adrenal gland.[14]  Magnesium is nature’s “chill pill” and may help reduce anxiety and depression – the very things that probably got you into this whole mess.  Try my Turmeric Spiced Pumpkin Seeds for the most satisfying sweet and savory anti-inflammatory snack.  I also sprinkle them on salads and on my Butternut Squash Soup.  Pumpkin seeds are also an amazing source of zinc, B Vitamins, and Vitamin E.[15]

Avocado

Good fats help your body heal, period.  They also help balance hormones and regulate energy levels.  Avocado is a delicious source of healthy fats.[16]  As if we needed more reasons to eat avocados?!

Fermented Foods like Kimchi and Sauerkraut

As I’ve said before, the digestive system is of secondary importance when it comes to survival.  Probiotic rich foods help keep a healthy balance of microflora that aids in digestion (and immunity too!).[17]  I love adding kimchi to my stir fry or sauerkraut to my Buddha Bowls or any Mexican dish!

Adaptogens

The name says it all – adaptogens help us to adapt to stress.  There are a group of medicinal plants, roots, mushrooms, etc. that have constituents that help to balance out our stress response (cortisol!).  Some examples of adaptogens are Ginseng, Holy Basil, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Maca, Eleuthero, Reishi, and Moringa.  These can be taken in supplement form or often incorporated into food.  Adaptogens worked very well to help balance out my stress hormones, and I noticed within a few days of starting a regimen, my face stopped breaking out.[18]

 

Hop on over to my recipe section for an adrenal supporting recipe that will make your tastebuds, your tummy, and your adrenal glands happy.  I developed my Cauliflower Rice Burrito Bowl to include as many healing foods as possible, and the results are delicious.

 

[1] Axe, D. J. (2017, September 20). 3 Steps to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://draxe.com/3-steps-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue/

[2] Hanson, F. (n.d.). The Adrenal Fatigue Diet Plan. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[3] Diet for Adrenal Fatigue. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2017, from http://adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[4] Hanson, F. (n.d.). The Adrenal Fatigue Diet Plan. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[5] Axe, D. J. (2017, September 20). 3 Steps to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://draxe.com/3-steps-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue/

[6] Diet for Adrenal Fatigue. (n.d.). Retrieved October 14, 2017, from http://adrenalfatigue.org/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[7] Mama, K. -. (2017, June 02). Adrenal Fatigue: Remedies, Supplements & Recovery | Wellness Mama. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://wellnessmama.com/55210/adrenal-fatigue-remedies/

[8] 15 Impressive Seaweed Benefits. (2017, August 23). Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.organicfacts.net/seaweed.html

[9] Wahls, T. (2016, July 24). 7 Foods To Eat To Heal Adrenal Fatigue. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25960/7-foods-to-eat-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue.html

[10] McAdams, M. (2017, October 03). Foods That Are High in B Vitamins. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/22253-foods-high-b-vitamins/

[11] Mama, K. -. (2017, June 02). Adrenal Fatigue: Remedies, Supplements & Recovery | Wellness Mama. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://wellnessmama.com/55210/adrenal-fatigue-remedies/

[12] Wahls, T. (2016, July 24). 7 Foods To Eat To Heal Adrenal Fatigue. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25960/7-foods-to-eat-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue.html

[13] McLaughlin, A. (2017, October 03). Foods High in Vitamin C & Zinc. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/240979-foods-high-in-vitamin-c-zinc/

[14] RD, M. T. (2017, October 03). Foods That are Highest in Magnesium. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.livestrong.com/article/22672-foods-contain-magnesium/

[15] Wahls, T. (2016, July 24). 7 Foods To Eat To Heal Adrenal Fatigue. Retrieved October 15, 2017, from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-25960/7-foods-to-eat-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue.html

[16] Axe, D. J. (2017, September 20). 3 Steps to Overcome Adrenal Fatigue Naturally. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://draxe.com/3-steps-to-heal-adrenal-fatigue/

[17] Hanson, F. (n.d.). The Adrenal Fatigue Diet Plan. Retrieved October 14, 2017, from https://adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet/

[18] Edwards, R. (2018, January 22). 7 Adaptogenic Herbs or Adaptogens that Help Reduce Stress. Retrieved January 24, 2018, from https://draxe.com/adaptogenic-herbs-adaptogens/

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