This next topic is near and dear to me as Adrenal Stress affects so many of my women clients, and I’ve personally experienced it!
So many of us are in the midst of an energy health crisis fueled by unmanaged stress and too much sugar and caffeine. We’re eternally tired, craving sweets, carbs and fatty foods, feeling anxious, and carrying excess weight we just can’t seem to shed. Sound familiar? Functional Medicine experts like Dr. Ariva Romm are masters at diagnosing the symptoms of adrenal imbalance… and offering real solutions to achieve wellness through botanicals.
What exactly do I mean by adrenal fatigue? When one is under constant stress – even the low level kind you may not even recognize – the body’s normal fight or flight stress support mechanism can go into overdrive and essential stay on. Daily life pressures at home and at work, too much stimulating caffeine and lack of adequate sleep (feeling ‘tired and wired’), not enough exercise, etc. can lead to these symptoms of adrenal imbalance –
- Blood sugar problems and insulin resistance
- Digestive problems
- Always feeling tired; Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, irritable, or depressed
- Difficulty concentrating; brain fog
- Lowered immune system function – frequent colds and illness
- Sleep issues – Can’t fall asleep or stay asleep; awake feeling tired
- Hormonal imbalances like PMS, infertility, menopause symptoms
- Inflammation, joint pain, fibromyalgia
- Weight gain, especially in the middle section
Rebalancing the adrenal system to restore health requires a good diet, regular exercise, stress management support and adrenal support botanicals that are proven to be healthful.
Let’s break these down….
Diet – As a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, I cannot offer detailed nutrition advice here but broadly I can say that a healthy adrenal support diet consists of whole, unprocessed foods (fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds) that are high in fiber, healthy lean protein, healthy fats which are omega 3’s and omega 9’s (avocado, olive) and are mostly devoid of sugary foods and refined carbs. Many people feel better on a low grain, low in gluten or even gluten free diet.
Exercise – Find your passion for what you like to do, find a buddy or a class to do it with if that’s more motivating, find some great booty shaking music if that gets you going, and consistently stick with it. Short bursts of aerobic energy that really push your limits combined with weight resistance are much more impactful on health, fitness and weight loss than 50 nonstop minutes on the stairmaster. Consider hiring a personal trainer for even just one session to help empower you to a new fitness routine that’s really going to stick. I really love Shawna Kaminski’s blog too! Proper exercise will help you feel better, sleep better, get sick less often, experience less food cravings, and your body will thank you. If you are not currently active, be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.
Stress Management – This is a wide area but here are some thoughts…. Share what’s on your mind, hug a lot, laugh! Connect with loved ones, friends and trusted folks you can talk to. Pets are always eager to listen too. Get active, get outside in nature, and move. Take up meditation, or yoga, or a martial art. Or try a calming hobby like reading, painting, playing a new instrument … you get the picture. There are lots of free resources on the internet. Above all, stop, close your eyes, breathe in, breathe out, repeat.
Botanicals – Adaptogens are a class of herbal medicines that have been used by Ayervedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners for centuries for promoting a sense of well-being and restoring health, vitality, immunity, stamina and longevity. And they are particularly healthful for normalized adrenal function. In her latest blog, Functional Medicine Women’s Health expert Dr. Aviva Romm explores the greater topic of Adrenal Stress and her 6 top favorite adaptogens for women – Ahswagandha, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, Shatavari, Eleuthero, and Reishi Mushroom. It’s a great read!