Eating to support your adrenal glands

By Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
Women to Women

Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms I hear about from my patients at the clinic.

And when I ask these women to tell me about what’s going on in their lives, all too often the answers include more responsibility than seems humanly possible. They’re waking up still tired, unable to think straight in the morning without caffeine; needing high-carb snacks, more caffeine, or a nap to get through the afternoon; then burning the midnight oil because they’re too wired to sleep. Pretty soon these women are in a seemingly unending cycle of exhaustion and poor nutrition — and feel desperate for the energy they once had.

Science tells us that if you experience stress on a chronic basis, the tiny adrenal glands that moderate your stress response and balance many other hormones in your body will suffer. Adrenal fatigue is what develops. And as the adrenal glands become increasingly compromised, women end up with excess abdominal weight, decreased immunity, lack of concentration, irritability, disrupted sleep, and ultimately, pure exhaustion. But the upside is: adrenal fatigue can be prevented and reversed. I’ve seen it time and again. And one of the best places to start is by paying closer attention to the choices you make about food — and not just what you eat, but when you eat it and how.

From my own experience and that of my patients, I know it’s difficult to make good nutritional choices when we’re going through periods of stress. Not only are our minds preoccupied with the stressor at hand, but our bodies are telling us they desperately need support, so we reach for foods that provide quick energy. Particularly at the end of a stressful day as the body is entering a period of recovery, overeating or making poor choices can be easy to do.

I know it feels overwhelming to think about changing your eating patterns, but believe me, small, incremental changes can really support better adrenal gland function and your daylong energy reserves. You don’t have to drag through the long days or dread your alarm clock every morning. Let’s look at some options for eating to support your adrenals — so you can enjoy good energy all through the day, and get a great night’s sleep. The difference can be like night and day!

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