We know stress is aging us at a faster pace. We also know that chronic stress is one of the root causes of modern diseases. Managing stress is as important as diet. Even if you have a perfect diet, stress can damage your health. We also know that we can’t avoid stressful situations. We can choose how to react to those situations.
Let’s have some conversation about stress.
How do you feel? Do you find it a struggle to get through the day feeling sane? Stress is a key factor for all health issues, and it may be driving you crazy. And to say that you should work on stress management seems like an easy answer, but there isn’t anything easy about it. People who suffer from issues due to chronic stress can present with many symptoms. The problem we face is whether we are suffering from overactive adrenals and high cortisol or underactive adrenals and low cortisol.
A salivary or urine hormone test could determine this, but you may not want to incur that expense. Use this checklist to help you determine whether you’re dealing with overactive or underactive adrenals. You can have one or the other or be somewhere in between. This means that some days you’re pumping too much cortisol, making you feel anxious and irritated. And some days you may be suffering from low cortisol, leaving you feeling sluggish and blue.
Strategies need to be able to support overall adrenal health. Underactive adrenals will take time to correct– two months to a year – depending on the person, the condition of the adrenals, and the nature of the diet and lifestyle. Overactive adrenals can respond more quickly with proper diet, supplement and lifestyle suggestions.
Strategies for Underactive Adrenals and Low Cortisol
- Check for digestive issues and support good digestive function.
- Supplement with B vitamins.
- Try an adrenal adaptogen or adaptogen formula.
- Try foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, and potassium as these can be helpful.
- Go to bed and get up at the same time and get at least 7–8 hours of sleep.
- Rest when your body signals you to do so.
- Try adrenal glandulars (which can be helpful) or reishi, schizandra, licorice (contraindicated for those with high blood pressure), or maca.
- Get counselling for emotional issues as this can be helpful.
Strategies for Overactive Adrenals and High Cortisol
- Practice deep breathing exercises throughout the day.
- Supplement with B vitamins and vitamin C.
- Consume foods rich in vitamin E and potassium foods.
- Try magnesium to counter feelings of agitation, especially before bedtime.
- Try adrenal adaptogens – relora, rhodiola, ginseng, schizandra, holy basil, or ashwagandha.
- Focus on getting a better-quality sleep.
- Try any of these supplements to help you relax at night – GABA, 5HTP, valerian, hops, or passionflower. Raw honey with cinnamon is also helpful.
Develop a lifestyle to combat stress. This can include counseling, developing time management skills, reframing, or just doing activities you enjoy.
Foods That Help Balance the Adrenals
Supplements are helpful, but foods can also help balance cortisol. The following can easily be added to smoothies, soups, baked dishes, or salad dressings.
- Reishi mushrooms – dried or powder
- Maca root – powder
- Schizandra berries – powder or dried berries
- Goji Berries – powder or dried berries
- Holy Basil – powder or grow your own in an herb box
- Ashwagandha – powder
Supporting the Gut for Adrenal Health
Studies have found that both prebiotics and probiotics help support the adrenals and help manage cortisol levels. GOS, a prebiotic found dairy products, is helpful for stabilizing moods and lowering cortisol. Probiotics, found in supplements and fermented foods, help lower cortisol and anxiety.
CHAI CHIA SMOOTHIE
- 1 scoop protein powder of choice
- 1–2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1–2 tbsp ground chia seeds
- 1/2–1 tsp ashwagandha powder
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
To your radiant health, with love
P.S. PAYING IT FORWARD
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