- Adrenal Fatigue
- Products & Services
- Adrenal Fatigue Doctors
What you eat, when you eat and how you eat is very important for healing from Adrenal Fatigue. In a lot of instances of Adrenal Fatigue, bad nutrition is one of its main causes, but in all instances of recovery, a healthy and nutritious diet plays a major role. The good part about creating and eating an adrenal supportive diet is that you don´t need to plan a trip to the doctor. It is probably not more expensive than your current diet, and it will give a tremendous boost to your overall health!
In general there are two core principles to creating an Adrenal Fatigue diet plan. First, it´s important to avoid any foods that will make your Adrenal Fatigue worse. Second, you should actively try to eat the foods that will help you heal (and also eat them in the right way). For one thing, this means consuming lots of nutritious whole foods and avoiding junkfood or take away food. But it also means eating meals at the right times, and avoiding foods to which you have sensitivities or intolerances.
Diet and nutrition is a broad and complicated topic, so I will try my best to cover all of the basics on this page.
Below are 9 key elements of an Adrenal Fatigue diet:
If you are looking for some more detailed instructions, or you simply need some inspiration, I have created a recipe ebook full of tasty recipes for restoring your adrenal health. It contains more than 100 delicious recipes, including Sautéed Shrimp and Asparagus, Apple Streusel Muffins, Grilled Lemon Chicken Salad, Peachy Pork Chops, Almond Butter Fudge, and Vanilla Hazelnut Ice Cream. You can purchase the ebook at the bottom of this page. Bon Appetit!
Why are food sensitivities of importance when you have Adrenal Fatigue? Because they prevent the gut from digesting, absorbing and excreting foods properly. That’s why bloating, constipation, diarrhea and other gut problems are often a first sign of an intolerance. When you are not optimally digesting all the nutrients from your foods, it can leave you feeling weakened and low in energy. Food sensitivities lead to inflammation and promote the growth of unhealthy gut bacteria, weakening the immune system even more.
If you suspect a food sensitivity or intolerance, eliminate the food from your diet for at least a week. Gradually add the food back into your diet. If your symptoms come back, you’ve found the culprit and then you can avoud that food going forward. Furthermore you can take supplements that strengthen your gut, such as Glutamine, and supplements that improve your digestion, such as probiotics or digestive enzymes.
If your current diet includes a lot of processed carbohydrates, processed meat products, added sugar and soda you are not alone. This is unfortunately the common way that many people eat. This diet is commonly called the Standard American Diet (SAS or Western Pattern Diet), and it often plays a role in the development of Adrenal Fatigue. So improving your diet should be a crucial part of your recovery. Below are some simple guidelines that you can follow:
Many people skip breakfast and the main reason why, is that our appetite is greatly reduced when our cortisol levels peak between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Skipping breakfast (and other meals), however, is a really bad idea when you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue.
After a night of fasting your body’s blood sugar levels are running low and if you skip breakfast, your body secretes cortisol to raise your blood sugar levels, giving your body the energy to function. When this happens, the body is forced to play catch up for the rest of the day. Therefore, it is important to have something healthy to eat before 10 a.m. in the morning despite your lack of urge to eat.
So what to eat for breakfast? Go for a high quality source of protein combined with a small amount of high quality carbohydrates. A good example would be a vegetable omelet or coconut flour pancakes. Another great option is a healthy breakfast smoothie packed with healthy fats.
Stay away from the typical American breakfast, full of sugary cereals, waffles, white bread and more. This is exactly what you shouldn’t be eating!
There are a few “superfoods” that are great for everyone, but especially if you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue (I get to those in a second). But I’d like to start off by laying out some high-level guidelines on which carbohydrates, proteins and fats that we should be eating.
Carbohydrates are crucial for two particular functions in your body; energy and digestion. Most types of carbohydrates are starches and sugars that break down into glucose (the simplest form of carbohydrate) and is your body’s primary source of energy. Fiber, another type of carbohydrate, is essential to proper digestion, but does not break down into glucose. Most foods in your diet provide some carbohydrates, but processed foods are often lacking in fiber.
Avoid refined carbohydrates such as fruit juices, cereals, white flour products and sugar. Because they are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing risky spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Better sources of carbohydrate include (green) vegetables, starchy vegetables, (sweet) potatoes, whole grains like rice and quinoa, beans, lentils and peas. Another great option are low sugar fruits.
Proteins assist with growth and repair of the body. Eating enough protein keeps your energy levels high without causing spikes in your blood sugar Proteins are found in animal products like meat, fish, cheese, milk and eggs. Vegetable sources include pulses and nuts. Don’t eat animal products that have been pumped with preservatives and flavor enhancers, especially those full of added nitrates which are highly toxic. Go for products from animals that have been pasture raised and were fed primarily grass.
One of the biggest misconceptions and hardest things for most is to understand the fact that fats do not make you fat. Healthy fats are crucial for building healthy cells, fats are needed to create hormones! They help the body use vitamins and many other things are literally fueled by fats. Healthy fats, such as avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee and olive oil are great additions and are filling, satisfying foods that supply your brain and body with crucial energy. You should really eliminate fats that you don’t need and that is any vegetable oil high in polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega-6. Examples of the “bad fats” include corn oil, peanut oil, soybean oil and grape seed oil.
The best foods for Adrenal Fatigue are:
The worst foods for Adrenal Fatigue are:
If you suffer from Adrenal Fatigue (and stress), it is highly recommended to avoid following foods and drinks that are known to amplify stress:
This is an important one too. Low-carb diets can offer many health benefits, but for those who are struggling with Adrenal Fatigue a low-carb diet is a potential stressor to their already fatigued adrenal glands. It is often emphasized by low-carb advocates that people do not really need carbohydrates as the body can also create glucose from proteine through a process called “gluconeogenesis” (fiber can only come from carbohydrates though!). But when the body is deprived of carbohydrates for an extended period of time, the adrenal glands have to keep releasing cortisol to stimulate gluconeogenesis over and over again. This puts additional stress to already fatigued adrenal glands.
If you are not sure how many carbohydrates you should eat, start off by eating around 200g of carbohydrates a day and try to find the amount of carbohydrates at which you feel your best. So experiment a little bit by also eating 150g and 250g of carbohydrates per day and keep track of how you feel. Make sure to always eat carbohydrates together with a quality source of fat. Fat slows down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and therefore helps with balancing your blood sugar levels.
This is a quick win. Staying well hydrated is importantfor everyone, but is even more important if you are suffering from Adrenal Fatigue. One of the best things u can do first thing in the morning is to have a big glass of lemon water. I also put in a pinch of Celtic salt that contains vital minerals (remember that many Adrenal Fatigue sufferers have electrolyte and mineral deficiences).
This way you hydrate yourself after sleep and you give your immune system a boost.
Now that you know which foods to eat and which foods to avoid, I’d like to point out that there is a small group of foods that can even help speed up your recovery from Adrenal Fatigue. For most people reading this, these foods aren’t probably regular staples of their diet. Although they are becoming increasingly more popular again because of their tremendous health benefits.
Traditional cultures from around the world have always placed particular and special emphasis to use every single part of the animal. That included using bones for making broth. The bone marrow provided valuable nutrients and would often be given as a remedy to the sick and weak. Today, we can also make bone broth. It’s inexpensive and wonderfully easy to make at home. Bone marrow boosts the immune system reduces inflammation and supports healthy cholesterol. It also provides valuable vitamins and minerals that the body can easily absorb.
Seaweed is rich in minerals and phytonutrients and good for all-over body health. It helps strengthen your immune system, maintain healthy thyroid function, improves energy and balances blood sugar.There are many different types of seaweed such as nori, kelp and arame. Seaweeds are delicious to add to salads, soups or stir-fries. In powder form, you can add them to smoothies, juices or sprinkle it over your meals. Nowadays many supermarkets sell a selection of different seaweed.
Did you know that fermented foods contain contain beneficial probiotics, digestive enzymes, and health boosting nutrients? They can really do wonders for your digestive health, immune system amd improve nutrient absorption. Fermented foods can be found in local health food stores, and you can of course also make your own too. Good examples are kombucha, sauerkraut and kefir.
Eating food is not just about consuming the right foods, but also about HOW you consume those foods. There is a very close connection between the brain and the gut that is known as the brain-gut axis. Remember those butterflies in your belly when you feel in love? That is a good example of the brain-gut axis at work. Another example is feeling sick to your stomach when you are nervous to give that big presentation.
Emotions such as anxiety, sadness, happiness and stress all affect your digestion. If you are under stress fewer digestive enzymes and less stomach acid is released to help with the breakdown of carbohydrates, fats and protein. This can lead to all sorts of digestive problems like bloating, belching and overall stomach pain.
Research shows that “distraction” can act just like stress in terms of the impact on your digestive system. So instead of eating mindlessly while reading the newspaper, watching television or driving your car, try to eat mindfully. Eating mindfully makes you more attentive to your body’s natural feedback, improves digestion, decreases stress and in turn reduces emotional eating. Eat slowly and enjoy every bite.
When you follow a healthy diet, often times a relaxed long-term perspective works best and then it doesn’t matter if you occasionally treat yourself. So allow yourself moments in which you let yourself enjoy your favorite foods in moderation without feeling guilty, but only IF you feel the need.
Completely cutting out foods that you enjoy (hint – perhaps some chocolate) and following a set of rigid rules can be very stressful by itself, and ultimately lead to falling away from a well balanced diet. But, if you allow yourself to indulge every now and then, you´ll feel more relaxed and are much more likely to succeed.