The chronic stress is an important determinant in the quality of life of women, contributing to continuous cycles of adrenal fatigue, poor nutrition, stages of fatigue, mood swings, and hormonal imbalance.
When we experience chronic stress, our adrenal glands, or the tiny glands that are responsible for moderating the response to stress, as well as regulating other hormones, will be affected.
The adrenal glands, which are the size of walnuts, have a huge job to do. Many hormones are produced that regulate the functioning of our body, such as cortisol, a hormone that is secreted when our stress levels increase, indicating that our body is going to enter a state of emergency.
But high cortisol levels are meant to be short-term. All of this can lead to adrenal fatigue problems.
Foods to fight Adrenal Fatigue
When our cortisol levels remain elevated, it interferes with many functions in our body, including immune function, digestion, sleep, and even the ability to produce other essential hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and thyroid hormones.
This can lead to high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess belly fat, and inflammation.
When the adrenal glands continue to be compromised over the long term, they have a decreased ability to produce cortisol and make us feel irritable, weak, dizzy, and anxious. Adrenal fatigue is a syndrome that can, over time, cause low blood pressure, allergies, and exhaustion.
These problems, although very worrying, can be alleviated when adrenal dysfunction is healed. And the good news is that it can be cured. Along with decreasing chronic tension, adjusting our emotional responses to stressors, and changing what, when, and how we eat, we can reverse adrenal fatigue.
Let's take a look at some of the dietary approaches we can use to support not only our adrenal glands, but also improve our energy and promote better sleep.
Order the schedule of meals
When we go long periods without food, our adrenal glands work hard to release more cortisol and adrenaline, trying to keep the body functioning normally.
When blood sugar drops for long periods, this creates a stress reaction, stimulating the adrenal glands. It is important to know that our body always needs energy, even when we are sleeping.
Cortisol works to moderate blood sugar between meals and at night, so regulating cortisol levels is key to avoiding sand fatigue
The levels of cortisol are our natural circadian rhythm. It starts climbing around 6 in the morning. It peaks around 8am, and then throughout the day it rises and falls naturally as needed.
Then it decreases at night and reaches its lowest levels while we are sleeping. Scheduling our meals, and how much we eat, can help regulate cortisol and your natural cycle.
Eating larger meals earlier in the day naturally helps maintain cortisol levels, while eating lighter meals later in the day helps maintain hormonal balance.
Performing exercises to treat adrenal fatigue
Exercise also increases cortisol levels, so enjoying lighter activities while trying to heal adrenal fatigue is important.
To keep cortisol levels as stable as possible, more intense exercise is recommended in the morning or afternoon when cortisol is highest, and light exercise, such as walking or gentle stretching such as yoga, at night.
If cortisol is highest in the morning, why am I not hungry?
The old saying about breakfast being the most important meal is actually true. Eating a nutritious breakfast that includes protein within an hour of waking up will help balance your metabolism and cortisol throughout the day. But it is difficult to eat when we are not hungry, even though we know it is important.
Maintain the natural cortisol cycle
1. Try to eat breakfast an hour after you wake up, or at 8 AM to restore blood sugar levels that were depleted overnight
2. Have a healthy snack at 9 am.
3. Try to eat lunch between 11 am and noon to avoid a big drop in cortisol levels.
4. Have another healthy snack between 2 and 3 pm to help avoid the natural drop in cortisol that occurs around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. Many people notice this tiredness and consume additional caffeine or carbohydrate-laden snacks, which will actually impede hormonal balance.
5. Try to have dinner between 5 and 6 pm and, although it may be difficult at first, try to make it a light meal. Eventually, your body will enjoy digesting less food at night
6. Eat a nutritious diet, and have a light snack an hour before bed, but be sure to avoid refined sugars. Nut butters with fresh fruit or cheese are ideal options.
When we properly schedule our meals and snacks, we can prevent dramatic drops in blood sugar and support our body's natural function.
Our adrenal glands will not have to continually work to produce cortisol and can perform many of its other important secondary functions instead. We will also have more energy and more happiness throughout the day!
Select the right foods and drinks
It is natural to crave sweets when we have low blood sugar. Fighting adrenal fatigue is exhausting, and consuming quick, easy, and even tasty snacks like cookies, donuts, candy, cola, and coffee drinks is common. Unfortunately, the energy we get from these types of foods is short-acting.
Stress and exhaustion, when combined with hunger, can impede our ability to make healthy choices. When we are not aware of the effects that excess caffeine and refined carbohydrates have on our body, we do not realize that we are affecting our hormones and their functioning, as well as our sleep patterns by consuming them
In addition to cortisol levels, our serotonin can also be out of balance, indicating that our body needs to rest. That doesn't always mean more sleep - sometimes deep breathing or a 10-minute walk in the fresh air can help boost serotonin and prevent adrenal fatigue.
How to eat to improve adrenal health
· Use fresh, whole foods, preferably locally grown organic and seasonal foods for meals and snacks.
· Avoid foods with preservatives, added hormones, artificial colors, dyes, and chemicals.
· Include lean protein at every meal and snack to help stabilize your blood sugar and avoid cravings for refined sugars and caffeine.
· If you buy prepared food, try to do so at a health food store that sells natural, whole foods.
· Try making additional nutritious snacks to keep on hand so they're ready and available when you have cravings.
· Avoid drinks with sugar and stimulants like caffeine, cocoa theobromines, and alcohol.
· Low blood pressure is a common side effect of adrenal insufficiency, so you can add a good quality salt, such as Celtic sea salt.
· Eat foods with vitamins C, E and all the B vitamins (especially pantothenic acid and B6) that help regulate stress hormones. Magnesium provides energy to the adrenal glands. Calcium and trace elements such as zinc, manganese, selenium and iodine provide calming effects in the body.
The load is great on our adrenal glands, and they can deteriorate from long-term stress. But we can make small decisions that can dramatically affect your performance for the better.
With proper nutrition, exercise, relaxation and sleep, you will be able to sustain the natural rhythms of our body and regain energy and vitality.
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