My Nutritionist's Verdict: Adrenal Fatigue
What do I need to eat to combat this "syndrome"?
1) Eat a wide variety of whole, natural foods
2) Combine a healthy fat, protein and carbohydrate source with every meal
3) Eat lots of vegetables, especially the brightly colored ones
4) Salt your food to a pleasant taste
5) Eat mainly whole grains as your source of carbohydrate
6) Combine grains with legumes (beans), or legumes with seeds or nuts to form a complete protein
7) Avoid fruit in the morning
8) Mix 1-2 tablespoons of fresh essential oils (cold pressed olive, grape seed, safflower, flax, etc.) into grains, vegetables and meats daily
9) Eat high quality food; it becomes you.
When to eat?
One of the major dietary mistakes made by people with low adrenal output is not eating soon enough after waking. If you have adrenal fatigue, it is very important that you eat before 10:00 am. This is vital in helping to replenish the waning stored blood sugar supply after the previous night's energy needs.
An early lunch, preferably before noon, is better than a late lunch because your body quickly uses up the morning nourishment and is ready for more. Between 11 and 11:30 am is usually the best time for lunch. You should also eat a nutritious snack between 2 and 3 pm to sustain yourself for the cortisol dip that typically occurs between 3 and 4 pm. Your evening meal should be eaten between 5 and 6 pm.
A few bites of a high quality snack before bed can help get through sleep disturbances.
What to eat?
If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, you will do best combining fat, protein and complex carbohydrates (like whole grains) at every meal and snack. This combination helps provide a steady stream of energy throughout the day. It is important to remember that foods that are converted too quickly into energy (like sugary snacks or highly processed foods) will quickly let you down.
Salt In most cases of adrenal fatigue, salt (in moderation) benefits those who add it to their diet. Unless you are one of the rare people with adrenal fatigue and high blood pressure, add some salt to your food. A sea salt or Celtic salt is preferred, as these are the kinds containing the valuable nutrients. Some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue are actually caused by your body's needs for salt.
Good quality protein from meat, fish, fowl, eggs, dairy and various plant sources (soy and other legumes, nuts and seeds) is helpful in dealing with adrenal fatigue. Try to avoid processed proteins such as packaged lunch meats and processed cheeses. Proteins generally have more nutritional value and are easier to digest when eaten lightly cooked or raw.
Every day, you should include 6-8 servings of a wide variety of vegetables in your meals, especially those that are naturally highly colored (bright green, red, orange, yellow or purple). Vegetables provide essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and a high amount of fiber. It is a good to idea to vary how you prepare vegetables, because different nutrients are made available through different cooking methods.
People with adrenal fatigue and blood sugar problems should go lightly on fruits, especially in the morning. Fruits contain a significant amount of fructose and potassium, which is a detrimental combination for those with exhausted adrenals. However, it is preferable that any fruit that you do eat is organically grown. Below is a short list of fruits people with adrenal fatigue tend to do well with, and ones they should avoid.
Grapes (Only a Few)
Fruit to Avoid
Below is a list of beverages that work better for people with adrenal fatigue. Remember that it is best to avoid drinks (and foods) containing caffeine.
- Water – pure, clean spring water is best. Many people experiencing adrenal fatigue find they feel better if they lightly salt their water (a pinch up to ¼ teaspoon in 8 oz water– to taste), especially in the morning.
- Green Tea – it is better for you than black tea or coffee, due to its high content of antioxidants and other nutrients
- Barley Tea – tea made from roasted barley., available at most Asian markets and some health food stores
- Bancha Tea – also available at many Asian markets
- Herbal Teas – there are many varieties available, but keep in mind it is best to avoid those mixed with black tea
- Vegetable Juices – these contain many nutrients that are excellent for the body. Combinations like carrot/celery,/parsley are rich in color, high in vitamins, and help to stimulate the liver. It is best to avoid the ones containing sugar, corn syrup or fruit juice.
- Goat's Milk – a much better choice than cow's milk. It is more similar to human milk, lower in lactose and much less likely to cause allergies. It is a rich source of many nutrients.
- Carob – can be used as a chocolate substitute. Whereas chocolate aggravates hypoglycemia and overstimulates the adrenals, carob normalizes hypoglycemia and does not contain stimulants. To make into a drink, mix one heaping teaspoon of carob with one teaspoon of honey diluted in one teaspoon of warm water, then stir this syrup into 6 to 8 ounces of hot or cold goat, nut or rice milk.
I will be given a special meal plan via my email later this week.