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A Nutritional Approach to Adrenal Health

Avoiding Adrenal Fatigue Through Proper Nutrition

The adrenal glands are known as your stress glands, because they produce certain hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, in response to your body being under a variety of stressors.  Emotional stress related to personal, work or relationship issues, and physical stress resulting from injury, trauma and illness, practicing poor lifestyle habits, as well as exposure to environmental toxins, can all trigger an adrenal response.

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In most cases, the adrenals release normal amounts of these hormones, causing a temporary increase in heart rate and blood pressure and a slow in metabolism to prepare your body to respond to the perceived threat.  When the adrenal glands must consistently respond to excessive stress, or a variety of stressors in combination, your body remains in a more permanent “fight or flight” response mode, and adrenal fatigue often results.

The most telling symptom of adrenal fatigue is an overall sense of exhaustion to the point that it regularly interferes with the performance of daily tasks. This can be accompanied by dizziness, sleeplessness, disruption of your natural hormone balance, skin issues, depression, difficulties with memory and concentration and increased allergies and illness.

There are lifestyle approaches you can take to help your body better respond to mounting stress which may keep your adrenals from being overtaxed in the first place, and like most wellness programs, they begin with nutrition.

A nutrient-rich diet of whole foods, organic when possible, is the basis for any healthy lifestyle.  Eliminate processed foods, with their artificial ingredients, colors and preservatives and avoid sodas and excessive caffeine, as they all place a burden on your adrenal glands.

Strive to keep a regular eating schedule, because maintaining blood sugar levels is necessary in order for your adrenal glands to function properly.  While some can skip breakfast because they have an early lunch hour, others must eat an hour within waking to stave off the blood sugar crash that comes from fasting overnight. A small snack before bedtime is another way to address that issue.

To avoid the mid-afternoon blood sugar crash (and the craving for sugar or salt that often accompanies it) keep light, nutritious snacks on hand.  For evening balance, consume your nightly meal before becoming ravenous. This also reduces the potential for overeating, which can make overnight digestion difficult.

A conscious effort to eat a nutritious diet, as well as practice effective stress management techniques and participate in a regular exercise program can help you achieve and maintain adrenal health, as well as overall body wellness.

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