What Is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is a vague term that people often use loosely if they experience any kind of general fatigue, however, the term is quite deceiving. The theorized condition of adrenal fatigue suggests that prolonged exposure to stress could drain the adrenals leading to a low cortisol state. There’s a misconception among the general population that it only causes fatigue. Adrenal fatigue causes a long list of other symptoms including brain fog, wild mood swings, food cravings, dizziness and lightheadedness, nausea, depression, cognitive impairment, pain conditions, light sensitivity, and other vague symptoms. When you go to your doctor and they tell you “it’s probably just stress”, they aren’t incorrect in doing so, however, they perhaps aren’t fully understanding the implications that such levels of stress could have on your body. Simply put, it can be devastating! It’s not something that’s easy to verify or test for so a lot of it boils down to evaluating your lifestyle and circumstances and making the determination yourself as to whether or not it could explain your symptoms.
How To Combat Adrenal Fatigue
Adrenal fatigue is increasingly common in our fast-paced stressful world and is something that we should be proactive in preventing or keeping at bay in order to stay in good health. We recruited the help of our Toronto nutritionist, Julie Mancuso, to help explain how we can effectively combat it through our diet and lifestyle.
Manage Your Stress
Obviously, the best thing is to eliminate your stressors altogether but there are often reasons why we aren’t able to do so. It’s not so much in eliminating stress but rather working on your stress response. For example, if you get a parking ticket, you can flip out and have it ruin your day on or you can take a deep breath and focus on something positive instead. The way you handle that stressor can be worked on so that the impact is minimal. See a therapist and talk about your options for counselling. Cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness training, staying active through yoga and meditation, and keeping yourself preoccupied with fun activities are a few ways of managing stress. One little thing you can start doing right away is conscious deep breathing, which can calm down your endocrine system and trigger the release of ‘good’ hormones like serotonin.
Diet Is Key
A person afflicted with adrenal fatigue can take a number of important steps to improve his or her diet choices:
Avoid sugar, especially processed and simple sugars.
Eliminate white flour products such as white pasta and white rice. These tend to promote inflammation and affect blood sugar level, resulting in highs and lows, which affect energy and mood, amongst other things.
Eliminate or reduce alcohol intake.
Limit caffeine and other stimulants.
Abstain from eating fried and processed food.
- Introduce carbohydrates slowly throughout the day and limiting them to a healthy level at meals.
While limiting or completely eliminating the above foods, you can also introduce or increase the intake of the following:
Consume plenty of vegetables, for nutrients and energy.
Eat lean sources of protein such as chicken, fish and eggs, to keep blood sugar stable and decrease the chances of developing sugar cravings.
Eat good fats such as wild salmon, nuts, seeds and avocado. In addition, consider taking an essential fatty acid supplement such as fish oil, aimed at improving brain health and mood.
When eating complex carbohydrates, make sure they contain fiber. Fiber can help to prevent a crash in energy and mood.
Get a Good Nights Rest
There are many ways in which regular lack of quality sleep can impact your adrenal glands and create hormonal imbalances. Sleep cycle disruptions and frequent waking in the middle of the night can affect the circadian pattern of cortisol secretion by the adrenal glands. Refraining from vigorous exercise in the evening and taking the time to consciously relax before going to bed may calm the adrenals and help lower cortisol and adrenaline levels. Practice deep breathing and meditate for at least a few minutes before bedtime.
Although somewhat controversial, some people maintain that adopting a keto diet short-term can assist in alleviating advanced levels of adrenal fatigue. Busy Bee Fitness Experts personal trainer Toronto can assist you in developing a customized fitness and diet plan that can assist in restoring your health. Contact us today for more information.