Two weeks ago post I went over 8 Signs That You May Have Adrenal Fatigue. Last week I talked about how this adrenal fatigue could be causing you to not see results from your exercise program, and how you should exercise to both get results and allow your adrenals to heal. Now that you have the framework of what adrenal fatigue is I am going to talk about easy changes that you can make today to help your adrenals recover.
For anyone who is not up to speed on what adrenal fatigue is here is a quick recap. In adrenal fatigue, your body loses its ability to appropriately respond to stressors. In modern times we are bombarded by a tonne of low to medium level stressors on a day to day basis: rushing to pick the kids up from daycare, getting stuck in traffic, an unreasonable boss, having to answer emails at all hours of the day etc. Our bodies also interpret many physiological changes as stressful events: big blood sugar fluctuations, exercising too hard and not getting enough sleep, to name a few. For more info on the different stages of adrenal fatigue and to learn more about how your stress hormone cortisol works, click here.
It is estimated that up to 80% of women suffer from some degree of adrenal fatigue over the course of their lives. Common times that I see adrenal fatigue as a problem are
- Students- Both high school and college/university, although it tends to be worse in post-secondary students as the increased stress and demands of school are often coupled with moving away for the first time, poor eating habits, poor sleeping patterns and increased caffeine consumption.
- Young Professionals- They are often completing school already with some degree of adrenal fatigue that gets compounded by the stress/demands of trying to find their place in the workforce.
- Women Who Have Difficulty Getting Pregnant- These women have often gone through the demands of school and the workplace, recently planned a stressful wedding and now have the added stress of not getting pregnant quickly.
- New Mom’s- It is hard to find a new mom who is not suffering from some degree of adrenal fatigue. As I have said many times before, babies are “parasites” and will take whatever they need from mom. This often leaves mom very depleted nutritionally. Coupling this with the stress of new parenthood, sleepless nights and caffeine is a perfect recipe for adrenal fatigue.
The #1 issue I see patients for in my office is “not having the energy that they used to” AKA Adrenal Fatigue
14 Ways to Naturally Heal Adrenal Fatigue
Remove/Eliminate Foods That Put Added Stress On Your Adrenal Glands
- Coffee- If you have adrenal fatigue, coffee is working against you. In this article I go over why you should reduce/eliminate coffee, why it is so important, and how long you need to do it
- Remove Food Sensitivities- If you are eating foods that your body is reacting to, it adds unnecessary stress to your system. By identifying and removing these foods from your diet, you allow your digestive system to function much more efficiently.
- Reduce Sugar- This includes all forms of artificial sweeteners (they are a definite no), refined grains (think white bread) and a reduction of natural sugars. You can still eat fruit and have small amounts of maple syrup and honey
- Eat Regularly- You should be eating at least every 4-5 hours. Skipping breakfast and/or lunch is detrimental to your adrenal glands. Eating breakfast helps to stabilize blood sugar all day
Include Foods That Help With Adrenal Gland Repair
- Protein and Healthy Fats- Have protein and fats at every meal. This is particularly important for breakfast
- Water- Make sure to drink 6-8 glasses of water/day
- Bone Broth/Collagen- Packed with nutrients and helpful for reducing damage to the gut lining
- Foods High in Vitamin B5- Vitamin B5 is used by the adrenal glands to make hormones. Foods that are a good source of B5 include: sunflower seeds, salmon, avocado, broccoli, mushrooms and cauliflower
- Foods High in Vitamin C- Also use to make adrenal hormones. Good food sources: papaya, bell peppers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, strawberries, pineapple, and oranges
- Reduce/Eliminate High Intensity Interval Training- see last week’s blog post for why
- Rest When You Feel Tired- Listen to your body, and do not push it too much
- Sleep- Getting to sleep between 10-11 pm is what to aim for. According to Chinese medicine, this is the time when the most adrenal repair happens
- Deep Breathing- 10 deep belly breaths, 3 times/day has been shown to lower cortisol levels
- Self-Care- Taking time out of every day to do one thing that is just for you. It doesn’t need to take long, even 5 minutes. Epsom salt baths are a great self-care activity because magnesium is known as natures muscle relaxant and can help to promote better sleep.
As a starting point, pick 2-3 of these tips to implement into your daily life.
More information on food sensitivities and the available testing can be found here
Do you think you are suffering from adrenal fatigue? Post in the comments below
Dr Alexis practices in Kanata and is accepting new patients. To schedule your appointment, click here.