Hey there, friends! While I am away enjoying some much needed time with my daughter, who just graduated high school (yay!), I will be sharing some awesome guest posts with you all. Today, Sara from If Your Body Could Talk gives some great tips on nourishing your adrenals and getting your MOJO back. Be sure to check out her site for more healthy living tips and real food recipes. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as well.
4 Tips to Nourish Your Adrenals and Re-energize Your Life!
You have two adrenal glands which sit, like two little hats, right on top of each of your kidneys and play an integral part in your larger endocrine system.
Like every part of the endocrine system, the adrenal glands perform a number of important jobs in the body. They help regulate and stabilize your blood sugar, they affect kidney function, and – perhaps most importantly – they help you manage stress.
When you experience physical, emotional or psychological stress, the adrenal glands release the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones regulate energy production and storage, immune function, heart rate, muscle tone, and other processes that enable you to cope with the stress. You encounter something stressful, your adrenal glands kick into gear pumping out the hormones you need to deal with that stress, the stress passes and they relax.
This process works perfectly until your life becomes filled with never ending, chronic stress. Whether it’s the kids fighting, the bills piling up, the demanding boss, the terrifying reports on the nightly news or your never-ending To Do list, we’re all juggling so many balls all the time that we are almost never free of stress.
For the body this means that the adrenal glands never get a chance to rest and recharge and, over time, they actually weaken and start to shut down, resulting in a condition known as adrenal fatigue.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include:
- Feeling tired even when you slept well the night before;
- Trouble getting up in the morning, even when you go to bed at a reasonable hour;
- Feeling rundown all the time, or overwhelmed;
- Difficulty bouncing back from illness;
- Craving salty and sweet snacks;
- Feeling more awake, alert and energetic after 6PM than at any other time during the day.
So, short of quitting your job, selling the kids and moving to the Caribbean to sip on coconuts in the sun, what can you do to show your adrenals some love and help them get back into fighting shape? Here are four tips:
#1 Give Your Adrenals a Break
Nurturing your adrenals is a lot about lifestyle. Sleep is one of the best ways to give your adrenals a rest and help them recharge. Try to get a solid seven hours of sleep a night, and don’t feel bad about also adding a nap in the afternoon on days when you’re feeling especially drained. When you’re tired, your body is sending you a message – don’t ignore it.
It’s also important to give your adrenal glands a break by finding ways to reduce stress in your life. You can do this through regular, gentle exercise, making time to do the hobbies and other activities that you enjoy, and exploring practices such as yoga, tai chi and meditation that have been proven to help your body cope with stress and lower the stress hormones in your system.
#2 Adopt a Happy Adrenal Diet
In addition to specific foods that nourish your adrenals, which we’ll look at in a minute, the way your construct a regular diet, as well as how often you eat, affects your adrenal function.
Because the adrenal glands also play a key role in balancing your blood sugar, when you eat a diet that is high in sugars and simple carbohydrates (candy, soda, white bread, pasta, white rice, etc.) is sends your blood sugar on a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows and your adrenal glands need to kick into high gear to rein that in. It’s hard work for them.
Try to build meals based on foods low on the glycemic index. These are foods that have a less dramatic impact on your blood sugar, which means that your adrenal glands will have to do far less work to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Look for lots of vegetable and fruits, nuts, seeds, meats, eggs and a small amount of whole grains and legumes if you can tolerate them.
Also, make sure you’re getting small meals and snacks every 2-3 hours rather than just three large meals a day. This will also help to keep your blood sugar steady and mean less work for the adrenals.
#3 Avoid Adrenal-Busting Foods
Sugar, caffeine and alcohol are all very hard on your adrenal glands. Try to reduce or eliminate these as much as possible.
#4 Incorporate Adrenal-Nourishing Foods
Keeping your blood sugar stable is key, but there are also some specific foods you can incorporate into your diet to give your adrenals some extra nutrients and support.
The B-complex vitamins are excellent for the adrenals. You can find B vitamins in many foods including Brewer’s yeast, bell peppers, spinach, chicken and turkey.
Antioxidants such as vitamin C (berries, bell peppers, tomatoes, leafy greens, and citrus fruits) and vitamin E (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, eggs and organ meats), and choline (Brewer’s yeast, fish, liver, organ meats, leafy greens and egg yolks) are all excellent support for the adrenal glands.
Bee pollen is incredibly rich in B vitamins as well as amino acids, enzymes and phytonutrients and is considered an endocrine system super food. You can add a teaspoon of bee pollen to a smoothie or just sprinkle it on fruit or cereal in the morning.
Feeling tired and overwhelmed all the time is no way to live. You want to feel alive and have the energy you need to go out and live the life you want. If you’re an adult on the planet today you are very likely suffering from some level of adrenal fatigue. Experiment with these tips to give your adrenals some love, help them recharge and start to get your energy and vitality back!
How are your adrenals doing? Check out these Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms.
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Sara Best is looking forward to graduating from the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition as a Holistic Nutritionist in June of 2014. She is a busy mom, an award-winning writer, and the creator of the popular blog “If Your Body Could Talk”.