Adrenal Glands, Stress and Your Diet

adrenal glandsWhen it comes to the subject of stress and how it affects your body, there’s a lot to cover.

Even when we narrow that subject down to your adrenal glands, there’s a lot.

We’ll try to stick to the basics.

 

Here’s what you really need to know about how depleted adrenal glands change your body and how you can change your whole worldview with your diet.

The Facts About Adrenals, Cortisol and Stress

Adrenals are walnut-sized glands that produce a plethora of hormones that regulate our bodily functions, including the infamous cortisol.

Cortisol levels are high when stress is high, but they should remain high only in a short-term fashion, to respond to emergencies. When they stay high, that messes up all sorts of things: sleep, digestions, other hormone production, etc. Your mood will certainly be affected.

Adrenal fatigue is the term for your glands’ ultimate exhaustion: they can’t produce as much cortisol if they are stressed long term. Instead, they produce added adrenaline. Added adrenaline causes anxiety, irritability and that general, on edge feeling. It perpetuates the fatigue cycle.

Most important fact of all: You can heal adrenal fatigue and replenish your stores. With your diet.

How To Get The Most From Your Diet For Restoring Adrenal Health

To address adrenal fatigue with your diet, timing is everything. That’s because your cortisol levels have a rhythm all their own. Eating a hefty, protein-laden breakfast and heavier meals during the early hours of the day, then light meals toward bedtime, can help you maintain hormonal balance. It’s hard to eat in the morning sometimes, yes, but it’s so much better for you. Follow the timing schedule here:

Go for a meal with protein within one hour of waking. Eat a snack about two hours after that. If that’s around 9 am….

… Try to eat lunch between 11 and 12 to deal with a large dip in cortisol that naturally occurs around this time. Then opt for a healthy snack instead of caffeine or sugar around 2-3 to deal with the way-too-common afternoon dreariness.

Eat dinner early, and eat it light.  Aim for before 6 pm.

Eat before you sleep, but nothing with unnatural sugars. Fruit is fine. Natural peanut butter is great.

Of course, another element of the diet is choosing the right materials to get your body good energy. It makes sense that you crave sweet things when you have low blood sugar, and that higher stress makes a simple, fast solution more appealing to you.

But it’s not the right choice, despite your craving. What’s worse? Stress and hunger both cause you an inability to make great decisions based on long-term results. We might not choose the right food because that process is hindered.

What foods will help?

Fresh foods, whole, unprocessed foods, and lean protein at every meal can help. Caffeine, alcohol and sugary sports drinks are not the right choice; herbal teas and vegetable juices are. If you can’t give up coffee (and let’s be honest, who can, really), just have one cup in the morning with your nutritious breakfast.

Multivitamins are also a good bet for keeping energy levels in line.* Check out our selection here. FoodScience also offers an Adrenal Balance product for more specific support.* And always check with your healthcare practitioner before starting any big regimen change!

 

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