Integrative Nutrition Blog

5 Ways to Give Your Adrenal Glands Some Love

January 17, 2017

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When was the last time you thanked your adrenal glands for producing hormones that you couldn’t live without? If it’s been a while, then take a moment to give them some love today. They deserve it! 

If you’re unsure what the adrenals even are, they are two small glands that rest just above your kidneys, around the middle/lower back. But while they may be small in stature, they play a big role in helping you respond to stress, regulating metabolism and blood pressure, and keeping you energized.

The hormones they produce affect nearly every organ, tissue, and system in the body, but times of stress are really when they leap into action. When a threat occurs –  whether physical, mental, or emotional –  your adrenal glands produce the cortisol, adrenaline, and aldosterone necessary to respond quickly. These hormones can give you a boost of energy to jump out of the way of a moving car or get through a difficult situation at work. 

But chronic stress keeps the adrenals on overdrive, and eventually they’ll wear out, leading to adrenal fatigue. When the adrenals are fatigued, everything is affected.

Constant exhaustion, decreased libido, muscle weakness, poor focus, difficulty sleeping, irritability, sugar cravings, weight gain, are just some of the symptoms of adrenal glands that are no longer functioning effectively.

Prevent these symptoms from emerging or worsening if you experience them now, with a little adrenal self-care on a regular basis!  

Here are 5 ways to give your adrenal glands some love: 

Clean up your environment
Prolonged exposure to toxins or harsh chemicals could negatively impact your adrenals, so reduce the use of things like perfumes, conventional household cleaners, or anything that offgasses (releases an unpleasant chemical scent). Add some large plants to clean the air.

Sleep longer and better
Sleep is one of the most underrated self-care treatments that we take for granted. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night to fully rest your entire hormonal system, and longer if you already experience frequent fatigue. For better quality sleep, make your room as dark as possible, or use an eye mark, avoid technology before bed, and give yourself a massage.

Eat adrenal-friendly foods
Foods that contain healthy fats and are nutrient-dense are best for restoring your adrenals. Increase foods like coconut oil, avocados, fatty fish, olives, nuts and seeds, seaweed, beans and legumes, and plenty of fresh and cooked vegetables. Ashwaganda and borage are two herbs that can also be helpful in restoring the adrenal glands.

Reduce caffeine and sugar
Caffeine and sugar can deceive you into thinking you have more energy than you actually do, and create a cycle of addiction and cravings that rob you of rest and real nutrients. You don’t need to avoid them completely unless you have good reason, but reduce your coffee or black tea to just one per day in the mornings, and aim for fruit instead of baked goods in the afternoon. Reconnect with your natural energy cycles without the dependency on artificial boosts.

Move your body gently
Too much vigorous exercise may not be good for your adrenal glands, especially if they’re already somewhat fatigued, so focus on mild movements that get the blood and lymph moving gently. Things like walking or hiking, yoga, qi gong, dancing, or just stretching are great, but see how you feel and stick with whatever leaves you feeling your best.

Want even more adrenal-friendly ideas? Try breathing exercises, reduce your anxiety, and learn about health coaching.

Have you experienced any symptoms of adrenal fatigue? If so, how do you manage them? Share with us in the comments below.

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