Chronic stress can take a toll on you—not just mentally, but physically too. The adrenal glands often suffer the consequences of chronic stress. These glands sit on top of the kidneys and are responsible for releasing hormones to respond to stress. When that happens constantly, the adrenal glands can stop functioning properly. And that can lead to a variety of symptoms—from fatigue, to insomnia, to a weakened immune system.
But don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of things we can all do to support our adrenal glands.
In this post, I’m going to give you some ideas for nutritional changes you can make to help heal your adrenals. Keep in mind that lifestyle changes are important as well! Reducing your stress levels, getting plenty of sleep, and intentionally moving your body are all important for supporting your adrenal glands.
Here are 7 nutritional adjustments you can make to support your adrenals:
Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. If you’re consuming foods that increase inflammation, that’s another stressor you’re putting on your body. Your adrenal glands will release cortisol to control the inflammation, which is unhelpful when you’re already dealing with chronic stress.
Avoid processed foods. Again, your body will need to work harder to process out the toxins in highly processed foods. On top of that, eating processed foods like cereals and vegetable oil will increase your levels of Omega-6, throwing off your body’s healthy balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6. Too much Omega-6 can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, heart disease and more.
Eat plenty of healthy fats. You want to facilitate a healthy balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. For Omega-3s, eat fatty cold water fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines. Healthy sources of Omega-6s include nuts, poultry, seeds and eggs.
Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that causes a rise in cortisol, putting strain on your adrenal glands. Cut back as much as possible, and eliminate it if you can.
Get enough protein. You don’t want to undereat, as this will also put stress on your body. Eat plenty of protein, and pair it with healthy carbohydrates. It’s best to eat your carbs alongside protein, or directly after eating your protein. Carbohydrates to focus on are potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, and other starchy vegetables.
Increase your Vitamin C intake. Your adrenal glands utilize Vitamin C to function, so you need to get more Vitamin C when you’re under stress. Good sources of Vitamin C are leafy green vegetables, berries, kiwis, bell peppers, and the pulp of citrus fruits.
Supplement magnesium. Magnesium is a very important mineral that aids in the body’s relaxation process. That makes it vital for reducing stress in the body. When the adrenals are struggling, I often recommend a magnesium supplement.
If you suspect you’re struggling with adrenal fatigue, it’s important to seek out professional help. Certain labs, such as the DUTCH test, can test for adrenal dysfunction. Practitioners like me can get you tested and create a specific plan of action to address the issues you’re facing.
The content found on Integrative Counseling and Nutrition Consulting platform is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical or therapeutic advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your primary care provider, psychiatrist, therapist or other qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding a mental health condition.