Introducing the adrenal fatigue diet
When we talk about the adrenal fatigue diet, we are referring to a dietary approach to relieving the stress on your adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands lie on your kidneys. They are responsible for the production of hormones that regulate your body’s processes.
An individual has adrenal fatigue when his or her adrenal glands fail to function the way it should. And so, the adrenal fatigue diet assists in recovery by ensuring:
- Proper functioning of the adrenal glands
- Improvement in stress levels
- Healthy blood pressure
- An increase in nutrient level in the body.
It is important to note that the adrenal fatigue diet has a similar composition to the generally recommended balanced diets. Balanced diets include:
- Foods with high-protein content
- Whole grains
The adrenal fatigue diet helps to boost your energy levels so that you will not use up your nutrient stores.
More research and tests are still being done on the adrenal fatigue diet. But then, it has been established that eating healthily and living a healthy life can improve your physical and mental health.
Overview of adrenal fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is a condition attributed to adrenal insufficiency and chronic stress.
Your adrenal glands produce a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol is your body’s primary stress hormone. It also helps with the regulation of blood pressure.
When your body is stressed, the adrenal glands secrete cortisol. Cortisol acts in response to a slowed-down immune system and an alteration in blood pressure.
Whenever you are anxious, or you undergo chronic stress, your adrenal glands will not produce cortisol in sufficient amounts. This condition is referred to as adrenal insufficiency. Adrenal insufficiency can be diagnosed medically.
Conversely, adrenal fatigue is not a medically-diagnosed disorder. Just a few doctors believe that adrenal insufficiency and chronic stress can cause adrenal fatigue.
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue
Symptoms commonly associated with adrenal fatigue include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive issues
- Body aches
- Weight loss
- Low blood pressure
- Hair loss
Adrenal fatigue may also be triggered by adrenal insufficiency. Common symptoms associated with adrenal insufficiency include:
- Loss of appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Stomach pain
- A weakness of the muscles
- Unexplained weight loss
When adrenal insufficiency becomes very severe, the patient may experience symptoms such as:
- Low blood pressure
Foods to avoid during adrenal fatigue
Now, it is somewhat hard to say which should be your priority during adrenal fatigue – what you should avoid eating or what you should eat! Not eating the right foods or combining the wrong foods can destabilize you for hours and in extreme cases, for days, so you must exercise extreme caution. Eat only foods that are recommended by your doctor or your dietitian. Deviating from the recommended foods will compound your problem and make it more difficult to create a balance in your body chemistry.
White flour and sugar products
Here’s the thing – many people who experience adrenal fatigue take sugary and white flour-based foods in large amounts. Foods in this category include rolls, doughnuts, cakes, pies, cookies, soft drinks, candy bars, and crackers. You see, an episode of adrenal fatigue is also characterized by hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level). Foods produced from refined sugar or white flour causes a sharp rise in your blood sugar levels. The problem is that the increase is so sharp and fast that a large amount of insulin is released by your pancreas in the process. The high insulin level then causes your blood sugar level to fall, resulting in symptoms of hypoglycemia, and of course, more cravings.
Also, white flour and sugar and completely naked calories. The metabolism of these substances drains your body of the minerals and vitamins that it requires to maintain or heal itself. Also, due to their disruptive potentials on your body’s metabolic processes, sugar and white flour can trigger compulsive behavior and cravings (addiction). You may find it hard to at the initial stage, but you must avoid these foods.
Hydrogenated oils & partially hydrogenated oils
These are oils that have undergone chemical alterations. These alterations help them to have some properties that aren’t beneficial to human health. For instance, oils undergo chemical alterations to remain solid at room temperature. Classic examples are peanut butter, margarine, and vegetable shortening. The fats in these foods are adulterated and the bad news is that they are used to prepare most of the foods sold at grocery stores and restaurants.
You must study the label of any food item you wish to purchase. You will be surprised to see that most of these foods contain partially or hydrogenated fats and oils. Whenever you see that they contain these, just don’t purchase it.
Most foods that have been deep-fried are usually fried in partially hydrogenated fats or hydrogenated fats. When you heat the oil above a particular temperature or reheat already used oil, it breaks down and yields free radicals. These free radicals are toxic and make the oil to go rancid. So, eating food that has been deep-fried causes the same health effects as hydrogenated fats, and even causes further problems due to the presence of toxic free radicals.
Junk foods and fast foods
Junk foods and fast foods are known to cause a lot of health problems. Most junk or fast foods contain sugar, hydrogenated fats, and white flour. The quality of ingredients used for the production of these foods is usually very poor with very little nutritional value. They contain lots of preservatives, flavors, and artificial colors. The little nutrients that they have are not stable and so are lost when heated or after they are stored for a long time. It is worth stressing that these foods are unnecessary. They destabilize your body biochemistry and cause fat to build up in your body, and when the adrenaline rush subsides, you feel wrecked.
Foods that trigger sensitivities or allergies
Here’s the thing: you should strive as much as you can to eliminate all food substances or foods that trigger sensitivities or allergies. Apart from anaphylactic reactions or other visible reactions, most people may not realize that their symptoms may be a reaction to foods to which they are highly sensitive.
Foods that you are addicted to often contain substances that trigger the addiction. These foods stress your adrenal glands so you should limit the consumption of these foods.
People who experience adrenal fatigue usually crave cola beverages or caffeine due to its stimulatory effect. The problem with caffeine is that it over-stimulates your adrenal glands thus causing excessive fatiguing when it wears off. And so, people who suffer adrenal fatigue have to boost their system with many cups of caffeine-based beverages like coffee, chocolate, or sweets. Of course, the initial effect will be satisfying, but over time, it will cause your adrenals to be more exhausted, thus complicating the problem.
Foods to eat
The best way to maintain your health is by eating a balanced diet. Balanced diets not only keep you healthy but also regulates your blood sugar levels. Ensure that your foods are balanced in healthy fats, protein, and quality carbohydrates.
Eat more vegetables to furnish your body with the right amount of minerals and vitamins. Also eat foods that contain B and C vitamins (mostly vitamins B-5 and 6), as well as magnesium to maintain the health of your adrenal glands.
Healthy and recommended foods include:
- Lean meats
- Whole grains
- Colorful vegetables and leafy greens
- Low-sugar fruits
- Healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and grapeseed oil
- Sea salt
Staying hydrated is also very important. Dehydration influences one’s stress levels and stimulates the production of more cortisol.
Research has shown that the adrenal fatigue diet improves energy levels and is very effective at regulating blood pressure. It achieves this by promoting healthy lifestyle changes and eating habits.
The diet does not demand potentially harmful dietary restrictions. But you must consult your doctor before making changes to your diet.