How to Nourish Your Adrenals To Reduce Stress
Are you stressed out? We all experience stress at some point in our lives. It’s part of life. However, when left unaddressed stress can be one of the most detrimental influences on our overall health.
When we experience stress – whether that’s mental, emotional, or physical – two small glands called our adrenals release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is an important hormone that helps give us energy and regulates our circadian rhythm. Too much cortisol however, as in the case of chronic stress, can have negative effects on the body. When the adrenal glands are overworked we can experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
- Sleep problems (often waking around 2am and being unable to fall back asleep)
- Digestive issues
- Menopausal symptoms
- Salt cravings
- Weight gain around the abdomen
- Drop in blood pressure when standing up (light headedness)
- Generally feeling overworked, burnout, or frazzled
If some of these symptoms sound familiar to you it’s time to start thinking about how you can support your adrenal glands and manage stress. The longer your stressors go unmanaged, the harder it is to bring balance back to the body. In addition to eating a natural, wholesome diet and avoiding caffeine and alcohol, here are my top tips for nourishing your adrenals.
1. Practice deep breathing throughout your day. Deep breathing is an excellent way to calm the body’s physiological stress responses, lower cortisol, and give you a few meditative moments. It’s beneficial to do before mealtimes, to help ensure good digestion, as well as any time you begin to feel frazzled or worked up. It’s easy and quick. I like to practice 4-7-8 breathing. To do this, exhale completely from your mouth. Then deeply inhale through your nose for a count of 4, pause and hold the breath for a count of 7, then exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat this breathe 4 times, a couple of times a day.
2. Consume vitamin-B and C rich foods. The B-vitamins and vitamin C are quickly depleted when we experience stress, and a deficiency in B-vitamins can make us feel more fatigued and stressed. Vitamin C deficiency makes us more prone to immune system illnesses and fatigue. Consuming lots of leafy-green vegetables, seafood, organic poultry, and eggs will help boost your B-
vitamin intake. Vitamin C is best found in fresh, raw organic fruits and vegetables. Bell peppers, citrus, berries, kiwi, and broccoli are all good sources.
3. Get regular, moderate exercise. If you are experiencing symptoms of adrenal fatigue, you’ll want to lay off heavy exercises. Cardio or intense exercise increases cortisol production in the body, which is normal in a healthy individual. When we are already chronically stressed, however, the increased cortisol production can fatigue the adrenals even more and lead to increased fat gain on the abdomen. Instead, you’ll likely have more success managing your weight and finding balance by incorporating regular cortisol-lowering exercise like walking and yoga.
4. Practice self-care. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Practicing self-care is not selfish, rather it allows you to have the energy and vitality to not only make sure that you’re looking after yourself, but also have the energy to take good care of those around you. Do something every day that makes you feel nourished and cared for: take a bath, read a book, write in a journal, dance to your favourite music, cook your favourite meal or whatever feels right for you.
5. Use adaptogenic herbs. There are many effective herbal remedies that help nourish the adrenal glands, reduce stress, and improve energy and vitality. Holy basil (also known as Tulsi) is an excellent tea that can be used anytime, morning or evening. Ashwaganda and medicinal mushrooms are also excellent and can be found in capsules, tinctures, or powder forms.
Adrenal fatigue is so common in our modern, busy lives. Learning how to manage stress and nourish the body throughout stressful situations is one of the most beneficial practices you can do for your health.
By: Ali MacBoudreau
Ali is a Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant. Her mission is to help you discover just how vibrant and amazing you can feel, by giving you the tools you need to make lasting changes. (Hint, it involves delicious food!) To learn more about Ali and holistic nutrition please visit her website https://www.holisticali.com/about