Support Your Adrenals

Our ADRENAL GLANDS are located on both sides of the abdomen, above the kidneys. They are small but MIGHTY and influence some pretty important activities like reproduction, appetite and blood sugar control!

They are the body’s second line of defense for stress after the brain and if we don’t effectively manage stress we can end up with imbalances.

Chronic stress can suppress immunity, impair proper digestion, increase blood pressure, raise blood sugar and lead to insulin resistance over time. Additionally, elevated cortisol levels can both negatively impact both the thyroid and our sex hormone production.

We might not be able to remove ALL forms of stress, but as we get older, it’s especially important that we incorporate supportive measures to keep our hormones (like cortisol) in balance.

Here are some general tips for supporting your adrenals:

1. Eat whole, nutrient dense foods

Adopt a balanced approach of eating nutritious sources of proteins, carbs and fats. Emphasize foods that are rich in folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc. I try to eat my meals on a regular schedule and avoid eating quickly or “on the go”

2. Crowd our processed foods and refined carbohydrates

Processed foods and refined carbs can stress the adrenals and lead to a disrupted or impaired insulin response. These foods are known to rapidly raise blood sugar levels. Stress can also increase circulating blood sugar, so you can see how diet choices combined with stress can really wreak havoc on our body.

3. Reduce caffeine consumption and drink plenty of water

Strive to consume half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weight 140 lbs, you’ll want to drink 70 oz of water. I personally find it helpful to divide my water by 3 and consume 1/3 in the am, afternoon and pm so I hit my goal daily. Caffeine intake has also been shown to initiate a stress response by increasing the amount of cortisol released by your adrenal glands. Chronically elevated cortisol levels can contribute to high circulating blood sugar as we’ve already discussed. Take a look at how much caffeine you consume in a day. Aim to consume no more than 200 mg per day and having your first cup with or AFTER breakfast could be a great tweak to make.

4. Get adequate sleep

Aim for a regular sleep schedule and try to get 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can cause a significant increase in cortisol levels. Unfortunately, elevated cortisol levels may make falling asleep more difficult, so trying to do something relaxing, like taking a warm bath or deep breathing, right before bed can help you unwind and allow your adrenals to get their beauty sleep!

5. Hit the pause button

Your adrenals activate your inner “fight or flight,” so make it a point to active your “rest and digest” (or parasympathetic nervous system. Engage in calming activities, like yoga, meditation, a walk outside, and deep breathing exercises. You can also rest your adrenals by sparking your inner creativity or playing like a kid. Find things that fill your cup and make you happy.

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Meghan Mosakowski

lifestyle + wellness coach