The 4 Steps to Heal Adrenal Fatigue

If there's one condition that is most likely to affect nearly every person around the world, it's stress. In today's go-go-go society, we're working more than ever before, resting less, and eating a bunch of processed food to keep the crazy cycle going. Ultimately, it all takes a toll. But stress doesn't just translate into constant worry or mental anguish—it also manifests physically with a wide range of symptoms.

Stress and the Adrenal Glands

The adrenal glands are the body's first line of defense against stress, sending out a variety of different hormones that regulate multiple body functions, including heart rate and immune function. But when the body is overloaded by more stress than normal—like after a car accident or devastating breakup, too little sleep, or poor diet habits—the adrenal glands may have trouble regulating normal systems.

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This resulting adrenal fatigue is responsible for numerous symptoms, including body aches, trouble concentrating, moodiness and irritability, excessive food cravings and a constant feeling of overwhelm. These symptoms may seem relatively harmless on their own, but, when combined, they can wreak absolute havoc on a person’s body.

The good news is that adrenal fatigue is totally reversible with a few lifestyle tweaks. Read on for the four steps that will help you heal your adrenal glands and regain control of your health.

Step 1: Eliminate Food Triggers

I am a big proponent of the healing power of food when it comes to any physical concern, and adrenal fatigue is no exception. But before you can implement healing foods, it's important to first eliminate the foods that are especially taxing to the body in general, and the adrenals in particular.

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Processed foods are full of preservatives and other chemicals that are extremely hard to digest, and they should be avoided, as should added sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. Cutting back on the sweet stuff can be difficult, as sugar tends to lurk everywhere these days, but preparing your own food at home will make it easy to be diligent.
Hydrogenated oils, like soybean, canola and corn oil, are toxic to the body and can lead to adrenal inflammation, so they should be avoided as well. Opt instead for healthy fats like coconut oil, organic butter, or ghee. Finally, try to limit caffeine, as it can interfere with your natural sleep cycle and make it difficult for you adrenals to recover. If you have to have a cuppa joe, keep it to one, and try to finish it before noon.

Step 2: Add in Superfoods

Once you've eliminated the foods that are taxing your adrenal glands, you can begin to add in those that will support your adrenals in healing and recovery. My Healing Foods Diet is a great place to begin, but, in short, just remember that only nutrient-dense foods should be included.

Some of my favorite superfoods include almonds, avocado, flaxseeds, and blueberries. Protein-rich superfoods like wild-caught salmon are especially important in healing the adrenals, as the high protein content will stabilize blood sugar levels and also help the body to synthesize glutathione—what is known as the "master antioxidant" that helps the body to detox naturally.

Step 3: Supplement

When we can't get all of our nutrients from the food we eat, supplements provide a great way to fill in the gaps, and there are some that are especially beneficial in healing the adrenal glands. Ashwagandha is and adaptogenic herb popular in Ayurvedic medicine that is known to lower the stress hormone cortisol while bolstering the immune system and naturally relieving stress. Holy basil is another herb with powerful cortisol reducing properties, and magnesium—which most Americans are likely deficient in, anyway—also works to regulate blood sugar and energy production.

Step 4: Rest and Reduce Stress

It should go without saying, but getting the proper rest is one of the body's best defenses against adrenal fatigue. Try to sleep 8 to 10 hours per night, and be aware of your bodies natural sleep cycles. Poor quality sleep is just as bad as not getting any, but following some of the tips already mentioned (like cutting back on sugar, supplementing with magnesium, and limiting caffeine) will help you to achieve a more restful sleep.

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Finally, when you're trying to heal adrenal fatigue, it's important to reduce stress. That can be easier said than done, but some tips for sure-fire stress relief are to do something fun (and non work-related) everyday, read a book or watch a movie that will make you laugh, avoid negative people, exercise, and resist the urge to engage in negative self-talk.

Your body is made to heal itself, but if you consistently view yourself in a negative way, that healing ability will be significantly impaired. And if you're having a hard time healing from some of the more difficult events in your life, don't hesitate to seek a professional for support.

From Rodale Wellness
Photo By Thinkstock

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