Keeping Your Adrenal Glands Healthy with the Proper Foods
Do you suffer from fatigue or low energy? Do you eat healthfully yet wonder why you can’t lose weight? In this post we will discuss adrenal health, and specific foods to eat to combat adrenal fatigue. Included is a VEGAN recipe: Slow Cooker Chickpea and Lentil Stew.
If you answered yes to the questions above, you could be suffering from adrenal fatigue! Anyone can experience adrenal fatigue at some point in his or her life. Nutrient deficiencies, inadequate rest, a life crisis, or too much pressure can drain the adrenals of even the healthiest person.
What are the Adrenal Glands?
Adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system. They produce estrogen, progesterone, cortisol, cortisone, adrenalin, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Our adrenals help us cope with everyday stress and survival and are involved in the recovery of chronic diseases as well as our energy levels and endurance. The quality of our health depends on the optimum functioning of our adrenals.
Symptoms indicating your adrenals need some serious help include:
* Chronic fatigue (lack of energy even after a full night’s sleep)
* Feeling lightheaded and dizzy
* Both low and high blood pressure
* Brain fog and forgetfulness (why the heck am I reading this blog?)
* Poor immunity; allergies, colds, slow recovery from infections
* Craving salty and sugary foods for stimulation
* Unexplained hair loss
* Nausea (and you’re not pregnant)
* Decreased sex drive
* Insomnia and/or restless sleep
When your body is under stress – physical stress from infection, illness, or disease and/or emotional stress – the adrenal glands respond by stepping up cortisol production. Cortisol helps your body deal with stress and curbs inflammation. Without enough cortisol, you may experience increased infections, nausea, and changes in blood pressure and blood sugar. Adrenal gland syndrome results when your adrenal glands can no longer meet your body’s demands for cortisol. And if too much cortisol is circulating in your system, you can experience anxiety, restlessness and an inability to sleep. To heal the adrenal glands, you need to eat foods high in Vitamins B and C. You also need L-tyrosine, an amino acid is used by cells to synthesize proteins and hormones, and essential for proper thyroid function.
Foods that Heal the Adrenal Glands
All the B vitamins are necessary for adrenal function, especially B5 or pantothenic acid; the adrenals will not function properly without pantothenic acid. The B vitamins enhance the activity of the adrenal glands and also increase energy levels during times of stress. A pantothenic acid deficiency can cause your adrenal glands to actually shrink and, therefore, not perform optimally. Foods high in vitamin B are tuna, oats, Brazil nuts, bananas, potatoes, avocados and legumes.
Vitamin C is required by the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, the stress hormone. High amounts of vitamin C are stored and used in the adrenal glands, but during times of stress, levels of this nutrient seem to drop much quicker than normal. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, berries, peaches, mangoes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spring greens and tomatoes. Vitamin C supplements may also be helpful.
Foods rich in L-tyrosine aids in adrenal function by relieving excess stress put on the glands. Sources of tyrosine can be found in most meat and vegetables. Foods high in tyrosine include fish, chicken, pork, whole grains, oats, dairy, avocados, bananas, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Avoid white flour, sugar, sodas, refined foods, caffeine, alcohol, smoking and environmental toxins. Learn to relax, avoid stress and exercise regularly; moderate exercise helps stimulate the adrenal glands.
Slow Cooker Vegan Chickpea and Lentil Stew
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 2 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas)*, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup dried red lentils
- 1 can tomato puree
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup pitted black olives
Heat coconut oil in a pan and sauté the onions. Add garlic, garam masala and sesame seeds and cook until peppers begin to soften. Combine everything in the slow cooker and cook on low 8 to 10 hours.