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Overcome Adrenal Fatigue with These Positive Steps

Exhausted hikerOur American lifestyles find many people “running on empty” from juggling too many responsibilities for the length of their days. Home, family, garden, employment, friends, pets, sports and arts programs, and maybe even parent care all add up to major stress. This can cause fatigue, depression, a sense of never catching up, self-doubt as well as self-recrimination leading to guilt. Further side effects may be mood swings, lack of libido, and in extreme cases an inability to redirect oneself.

These symptoms may be signs that you suffer from adrenal fatigue. Our adrenal glands provide us with our “fight or flight” responses for being every ready for the unexpected. But adrenal ability to produce such essential stress chemicals of cortisol, adrenaline, and epinephrine to meet our stress challenges has its limits.

It is important to recognize that once our adrenal glands are overtaxed from chronic stress, the body pulls vital hormones and needed nutrients from bone and muscle tissue stores. This trade-off can go on for years all the while body degradation is subliminally occurring until the adrenals reach exhaustion.

The good news is that someone suffering chronic stress and adrenal fatigue can make positive changes in lifestyle and dietary choices to rebuild the adrenal glands and lessen symptoms.

First in importance is to realistically assess one’s stressors and energy robbers. Sometimes just making a physical list can help one identify what must stay and what can go. Reducing the overall load will begin to lessen adrenal output. Make time for true relaxation to enable the body to have more opportunities for restoration that occur when resting. As well, make time for exercising that helps release tension, improves heart rate and muscle tone, and supports one’s structural integrity. While making time for exercise and relaxation may appear to be adding to one’s busy day, developing these new habits really enables a person to meet other demands more effectively.

One’s diet is critically important for addressing adrenal fatigue. High quality and nutrient dense foods provide the essential raw materials for adrenal glands and the rest of the body systems to function more effectively and begin the rebuilding process. To maintain energy, it is best to consume at least 6 small meals a day including adequate proteins (amino acids), carbohydrates (including many starchy carbs such as beans, peas, and grains), and appropriate fats (including some saturated fats – coconut and palm oils and butter from grass fed beef, monounsaturated fats such as virgin olive oil, and essential fatty acids- those omega 3 and omega 6 oils found in deep water seafood and flaxseeds and its oil). Make snacks of seeds and/or nuts with a small piece of fruit. My usual mantra is important when it comes to a healthy diet: whole foods, not processed, a variety of fresh leafy greens, a colorful array of fruits and vegetables, and avoidance of refined foods, colorants, sugary, and deep fried foods.

Two other factors to consider: Make sure you have good digestion. If digestion is impaired, this must be corrected. Check with your physician or a nutritional consultant to address this important need. Another important necessity is getting proper hours of sleep.

Addressing these four components for reducing adrenal fatigue: lifestyle and dietary improvements, insuring good digestion, and getting enough sleep will begin to improve one’s energy and overall well- being.

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN owns NewTritionally Yours! providing nutrition education classes. She can be reached at 208/290-6760

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