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Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands are not working properly. This syndrome can give sufferers chronic stress, infections and fatigue, as well as unexplained weight loss.
Many of those with adrenal fatigue feel generally unwell, even if they appear to be fine physically. Doctors won’t often diagnose a patient with adrenal fatigue as its symptoms can easily be mistaken for other conditions (such as those of the thyroid).
However, adrenal fatigue can be treated naturally through a lifestyle and diet change. It is not impossible, so long as you stick to your diet well; remember that it is a lifestyle change and not just a diet fad or the equivalent of taking medicine for a short while.
When you suffer from adrenal fatigue, your metabolism speeds up and burns far more nutrients than usual, leading to low sugar levels and a need for more food. This causes salt and sugar cravings, a common symptom of adrenal fatigue.
Below are 10 tips that should help you with choosing and changing your diet in order to recover from adrenal fatigue:
1. Cut out white sugar and flour
Both white sugar and flour are simple carbohydrates, meaning they need more insulin for the body to break them down. In the end, this makes extra work for the adrenal glands, and will do nothing to help them.
Instead of sugar, try using a sweetener such as stevia. If you have sweet cravings, try eating a little fruit, but not too much.
2. Cut out caffeine, alcohol and energy drinks
Any drinks that contain caffeine drain the adrenal glands of energy, as does alcohol and energy drinks. Ginseng, chamomile and passionflower teas are all good options that will help to restore your adrenal glands.
Chamomile is also great for helping relieve stress.
3. Cut out processed foods
These contain too many additives and are, as the same suggests, too processed. These foods bad for everyone, but are particularly bad if you suffer from adrenal fatigue.
4. Eat a high protein diet
Nuts, fish, fowl and eggs are all great sources of protein, which is an indispensable part of a diet for those with adrenal fatigue. However, highly processed meats or junk foods are not a good source of protein, and, as mentioned above, should be avoided.
5. Keep salt (make sure it’s sea salt)
Salt is in fact necessary for you adrenal glands to function properly, so don’t be afraid to season your food as you usually do. However, if you also suffer from high blood pressure it is best not to eat salt.
6. Eat vegetables
Vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet, but be sure not to eat too many starchy vegetables. The best kinds to eat are those that are brightly coloured.
Remember when cooking broccoli, cauliflower or other crucifiers, it is necessary to cook them well as the goitrogenic compounds in these vegetables act as thyroid suppressants (thyroid and adrenal conditions are linked). Other kinds of vegetables may be eaten raw or cooked slightly.
7. Limit fruit
Because fruits contain both fructose and potassium, which should be avoided if you suffer from adrenal fatigue, it is best to limit your intake of fruit. Some fruits are better to eat than others:
Avoid – Oranges, bananas, grapefruit, raisins, figs and dates
Okay to eat – Apples, kiwi, cherries, mango, plums, pears, papaya. Grapes may also be eaten in moderation.
8. Eat often, and at good times
It is best to eat within an hour of waking up, and this should be before 10 am. This will help to restore your body’s blood sugar levels after the hours of sleeping.
It is then good to have an early lunch at around 11:30 am, as after a night’s sleep the body is quick to use up the energy gained from breakfast. A healthy snack should be eaten between 2 pm and 3 pm, as there is a dip in cortisol levels at 3 or 4 pm.
This should be followed by dinner between 5 pm and 6 pm, and it should be a light meal. You can eat another healthy snack before bed if you need to.
Eating good food frequently keeps the body’s energies up throughout the day, which should help combat fatigue.
9. Don’t go for instant energy
Often when we feel fatigued or stressed, we look for foods that will give us a fast burst of energy and make us feel good. Usually the offenders are snacks such as biscuits, white carbohydrates, cakes, caffeine and carbonated drinks.
Although all of these items, as mentioned earlier, do give a burst of energy, this energy is short-lived and will give way to an even stronger dip which will leave you feeling even more fatigued. Therefore it is best to choose you snacks wisely, or preferably take the time to prepare a filling meal.
Ezekiel bread, nuts, cheese and whole grains are all good options for snacks.
10. Don’t cut out fats
We all need fat in our diet, as it is needed to create hormones. It is perfectly good and necessary to eat fat, so long as you eat the right kind.
Good fats can be found in grapeseed, olive and coconut oil, as well as in nuts and avocado. Only grapeseed and coconut oil are suitable for frying at high temperatures.
If you follow these tips, as well as seeking your doctor’s advice on diet, it is possible to recover and return to feeling healthy. It may be hard to begin with, especially if you are used to your morning cup or coffee and slice of cake, but the changes you will feel are worth it.
There are plenty of foods which can be eaten as part of a healthy diet, and will keep your body healthy and strong in the long run.
Along with a healthy diet, it is also best to exercise and minimize stress in your life. Try lying down when you feel tired, going out and having fun with friends and family, exercising and ensure that you sleep enough eat night.
Stick with this, and you will begin to recover. It can take anywhere between 6 to 24 months for those with adrenal fatigue to recover, depending on the severity.