Located just above your kidneys, your adrenal glands play an important role in regulating certain hormones such as cortisol, DHEA, and epinephrine, which have a lot to do with your stress response, metabolism, and energy levels.
While not as extreme as full-blown adrenal insufficiency (Addison’s disease), adrenal fatigue is still a debilitating condition. When you feel constantly tired (especially upon waking up from a long sleep), weak, dizzy, anxious, irritable, and moody; if you gain weight rapidly, crave salty and sweet foods, or have low blood sugar and poor energy levels; and if you’re also plagued with respiratory complaints, allergies, and a low sex drive, then you’re probably suffering from adrenal fatigue.
If you’ve been dealing with adrenal fatigue for any amount of time, you’re probably more than ready to kick it for good. Think about how wonderful it would feel to get your normal life back! The good news is that you can heal your adrenal fatigue, and you can do it naturally. Here’s how.
Eat for Health
To turn your adrenal fatigue around, you have to begin by eating a very healthy diet. Here are your eat-right guidelines:
Cut out the bad stuff
- Eliminate sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and artificial sweeteners
- Avoid hydrogenated oils
- Phase out processed foods, stuff like microwave dinners that are full of hard-to-digest preservatives and fillers that put stress on your adrenal glands
- Back off the caffeinated and/or sugary drinks if you’ve been relying on them to get through the day because of your tiredness
Add in super foods (nutrient-dense, easy-to-digest, healing properties)
- Coconut. Coconut has lots of saturated fat, but not the bad kind you find in things like cheese and steak, which have long-chain fatty acids. In contrast, the fats in coconut are medium-chain triglycerides, which are easier to digest and use for energy.
- Olives. These tasty little fruits provide healthy monounsaturated fats that decrease bad cholesterol and help you lose weight.
- Avocado. This is another fruit that supplies monounsaturated fat in the form of oleic acid, which lowers cholesterol and helps with losing weight.
- Cruciferous vegetables. Eat lots of cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and so on because they provide all kinds of essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Fatty fish. Wild-caught salmon is probably the best to eat. It’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which are good fats your body needs.
- Chicken and turkey. Lean proteins will help with energy and metabolism.
- Nuts. Walnuts have anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), along with antioxidants, manganese, and copper. Almonds have healthy fats as well, along with fiber, protein, magnesium, and vitamin E.
- Seeds. Try pumpkin, chia, and flax seeds. They all have important nutrients including magnesium, manganese, copper, protein, zinc, antioxidants, and omega-3 fats.
- Kelp and seaweed. These are rich in both phytonutrients and minerals not easily obtained in most people’s diets. Seek out a variety of types and add them to a salad or stir-fry.
- Celtic or Himalayan sea salt. Add a little to each glass of water you drink to help address mineral and electrolyte deficiencies. Staying hydrated is a key part of your healing regimen!
Add Smart Supplements
Overhauling your diet as outlined above can take some time, but you can jump-start healing your adrenal fatigue by taking the right supplements. Work the following into your adrenal fatigue healing regimen:
- Ashwagandha. This plant from the tomato family has been used in Ayurvedic healing since ancient times, and it’s especially known for addressing fatigue, stress, lack of energy, and difficulty concentrating. It’s an adaptogen that helps you cope with external stresses and the resulting anxiety they cause.
- Holy basil. This plant from the mint family has been revered in India for more than 3,000 years. It’s a powerful antioxidant with proven antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. What it’s best known for, however, is helping relieve stress and induce relaxation.
- Fish oil. If you want the benefits of eating healthy fish without dealing with actual fish meat, supplementing with fish oil is a great alternative.
- Vitamins and minerals. If it’s going to take you a while to get the vitamins and minerals you need from your diet, consider supplements for magnesium, vitamin B5, vitamin B12, vitamin C, vitamin D3, and zinc.
Find Your Zen
Here’s the most important part of healing adrenal fatigue— you can eat the perfect diet, take all the right supplements, and still suffer from adrenal fatigue if you don’t resolve the main culprit causing it: STRESS. There’s no way around it— you have to figure out how to reduce the level of stress in your life. There are lots of ways to do this, and the following are some of my personal favorites:
- Sufficient sleep. Ideally, you should be in bed by 10pm and sleep 8-10 hours a night. The more you can establish a solid, regular sleep cycle, the better off you’ll be, even if you have to deviate from it occasionally.
- Laugh and smile. The old adage of laughter being the best medicine has a lot of truth in it. The more you laugh and smile from day to day, the better you’ll feel.
- Minimize stressful situations. You can’t always avoid stress, but spend some time thinking about the situations that cause you stress and see which ones you can avoid.
- Exercise. Getting even just a moderate amount of exercise on a regular basis will help relieve stress as well as normalize your sleep cycles. Try something like yoga that can also help you with relaxation.
- Therapy or counseling. You might be surprised how helpful a trained professional can be in giving you strategies and tactics for reducing the amount of stress in your life. They can also help with unresolved grief and untreated trauma.
- Positive thinking. When it comes to stress, sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, take a moment to consciously replace them with positive thoughts about yourself and your life. Avoid negative people and instead surround yourself with people who are positive and encouraging.
Healing your adrenal fatigue for good can happen if you follow the three-point plan outlined above. But each piece of the plan might represent major changes in how you’ve been living your life. If you’re serious about reclaiming your life and health, don’t try to make all these changes at once. Start with baby steps and rack up lots of early wins to give yourself some momentum in the right direction.
It’s also important to realize that healing your adrenal fatigue isn’t something that happens overnight. The worse your condition, the longer it will take to fully heal. If you have a minor case of adrenal fatigue, you can expect your road to recovery to take 6-9 months. If you have moderate adrenal fatigue, your healing horizon will extend to 12-18 months, and if you have a serious case of adrenal fatigue, you’re probably looking at 24 months to fully heal.
It’s a major commitment, but your health is worth it!