Do you wake up exhausted, despite having eight hours sleep? Do you rely on several cups of coffee to get you through the day? Or are you constantly stressed, or on edge? It may be that your adrenal glands are fatigued, or overworked.
image via pinterest
Your adrenals may be small, but they have a very big job. They sit on top of your kidneys, and are responsible for many hormones in your body, including cortisol. This is one of the hormones released when you are stressed, helping your body deal with stress. Over time, if your body has been subjected to a poor diet, little rest, or constant pressure, it might not produce enough cortisol to help your body and mind cope. Then you may find yourself suffering from what is often called adrenal fatigue. However, producing too much cortisol (often because we are stressed) is also a problem. We want the right amount.
There are natural ways to help support your adrenal glands, although you should always speak to your GP regarding concerns about your health, tiredness or trouble sleeping.
To help put the spring back into your step, follow my eight rules:
1. Turn to real comfort foods
I don’t mean sugary, fatty treats, but foods which will soothe and recharge your energy levels. When preparing your meals, include as many colours as possible, to gain a wide range of nutrients. Organic and fresh, fruit, vegetables, lean protein and whole grain pulses and legumes are ideal.
2. Cut the coffee
That morning cup of coffee may make you feel awake, but it could be doing more harm than good, say researchers. Try to limit your intake to no more than two cups a day, and slowly introduce warming herbal teas, like liquorice or holy basil which may be of help.
3. Get some sleep
Having the proper amount and correct type of rest is a must when it comes to restoring the health of your adrenals. Try to go to bed at the same time every night (and get up at the same time too). If you have problems falling asleep, or find yourself waking up at 3am, then a magnesium supplement (to calm and support the nervous system and boost energy production) may help.
4. Take your vitamin B’s
If you’re stressed, then you need vitamin B, as the adrenal glands use up your store of vitamin B to help the body cope. Support your energy levels and your body’s stress response with a diet rich in vitamin B foods (legumes, whole-grains, green veg, chicken, red meat, fish and milk), and consider a daily vitamin B supplement.
5. And don’t forget your vitamin C
When your body is feeling pressurised, it uses your store of vitamin C to produce the cortisol needed to help deal with stress, so consider including a daily supplement in your health regime. Increase your amount through a diet rich in citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes and pomegranates.
6. Drink water
While it’s advised to cut down, or out, your alcohol intake, your body needs to be well hydrated with water. Aim for 2.2 litres (nine cups) of filtered water daily.
7. Exercise, but gently
While you may feel too tired to exercise, a gentle walk, swim or yoga class can help reboot your adrenals. Yoga has been shown to lower cortisol levels, so make it a priority to attend at least one class a week, or practice a few stretches every morning.
8. Nurture yourself
Taking time to simply do nothing is a must when it comes to your health. We live in a constantly busy world, with eight out of every ten Australians feeling the stresses and strains of our daily lives. Try mindfulness meditation to help reduce your cortisol levels and to give your mind and body a break from its everyday, busy demands.