Adrenal Dysfunction – Food First
The last blog looked at adrenals and how the stress response system works and what happens when it goes wrong. Today I will discuss how diet can support your body and help with the way we adapt to our busy lives.
It is easy for me to say the first bullet point and I probably say it in every blog! However the foods listed below may make a difference.
Variety and diversity is important. The more types of food you eat the more chance you will eat all the essential nutrients your body needs.
Protein helps make chemicals in your brain and may help your ability to cope with a challenging life. Carbohydrates contain nutrients that support your bacteria in your digestive system. Many of the roles these bacteria play are involved in brain function and your ability to cope with life-load. Good quality fats build your brain and are involved in the communication of nerve cells.
Focus on eating nutritional dense foods in the forms of:
- Complex carbs – vegetables, wholegrains such as oats, rye, quinoa, buckwheat, brown rice and lower sugar fruits
- Protein – fish, grass fed red meat, organic chicken, eggs and mix up proteins with plant ones as well: pulses, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds.
- Good quality fats – olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, butter (in moderation), and coconut oil as well as grass fed meat and oily fish – salmon, trout, herrings, sardine and anchovies.
- When thinking of your plate in any situation whether you are cooking, eating out – think half plate veg, so order an extra serving of vegetables and perhaps not have a desert! Some vegetables are also good sources of protein such as seed vegetables – broccoli and peas.
- Eating too much sugar can have a negative effect on adrenals. When you spike your blood sugar levels, your sugar levels will dip after the steep rise. The body sees the dip as starvation, a stressor and stress hormones are released. Keeping blood sugar regulated throughout the day helps avoid this.
- Eating protein at every meal, reducing refined sugars and processed foods and not skipping meals can all support blood sugar regulation.
- Caffeine may have a negative effect on the adrenals. If you are using it to stay awake and having problems sleeping at night it might be worth looking at reducing or stopping.
- Eat a wide variety of foods, add a new vegetable or fruit to your diet each week. This can help support your digestive system. The gut and brain are linked, supporting gut health supports stress response to situations. Additionally seasonal eating can be useful for getting diversity into your diet. In April eat lamb, crab, asparagus, wild garlic and Jersey Royals.
- Green tea contains nutrients that support the cool and calm collected response, However there is caffeine in green tea so you don’t need a lot, couple of drinks a day, using the same teabag. Add in some dark chocolate, rich in magnesium, the mineral that supports nerves and muscles. This wonderful combo gives you some energy with a feel-good factor as well.
In this world you cannot avoid stressors. However, by supporting your response to it you can support your overall health.
Tune in next week for the final part and we will focus on lifestyle, supplements and testing.