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Adrenals - what are they?

Adrenal glands are tiny glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They produce hormones that we cannot live without. They help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure. They are our main stress response, and many other essential functions.

Adrenal glands are well known in helping us in the fight/flight response with the secreting of the hormone adrenaline. However the adrenals also secrete life functioning hormones even when not activated.

The term Adrenal fatigue is a term used for a collection of symptoms. These include brain fog, fatigue, sleep disturbances, body aches, mood disturbances, weight gain or loss, hormonal dysregulation, and digestive problems.

Do you have trouble getting out of bed, wake up during the night and cannot get back to sleep; experience poor sleep; wake up feeling exhausted; rely of coffee and or sugar to get through day; feel anxious, nervous, rundown; do you crave salty/sweet foods; do you have 'gut issues' like indigestion, diarrhoea and or constipation ? All these can point toward Adrenal fatigue

What do you do if you think this may be your health concern? The best thing to do is educate yourself and get professional advice on the next steps to take in recovery so that your symptoms don't get worse and cause more concerning ones.

What do we do to help recover and to help keep your adrenals healthy?

  • The number one thing we should all be doing is eating a nutrient dense whole food diet. This means eating whole foods and keeping processed or packaged foods to a minimum.

  • Stabilise your blood sugar — make sure you are eating a well balanced meal. This means protein, carbohydrates and protein. Another great tip is eating more often smaller meals to maintain the blood sugar. This means eating every 3-5 hours. A great tip is to try keep your meals at the same time every day.

  • Portions - portion sizes are very important when regulating your blood sugar. A great way to look at portion sizes is using your hand. Protein = size of your palm, Carbohydrates (starchy) = the amount you can hold in a cupped hand (normally around a half a cup), fat = a thumb or a tablespoon or 2. When you look at your plate , 1/4 should be protein, 1/4 starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, squash, rice, and half the plate should be fruit and vegetables. Fats are a tablespoon or 2.

  • Sleep is so very important. You should be getting at least 7 hours sleep. Try getting to bed at the same time every night. (see sleep blog for more tips on a good nights sleep)

  • Make sure you are feeding your body the nutrients that are essential for adrenal health. The best tip I can give you here is eat the rainbow. The more colour on your plate the better. Different Colour means different vitamin and minerals.

  • Address any digestive concerns that will lead to absorption disturbances and create more stress in the body. (work with a practitioner to target these concerns)

  • Last but definitely the tip I would recommend everyone to start immediately is reducing your stress. Look for outlets that can help you cope with your daily stress. These include breathing techniques, meditation, exercise, movement and relaxation.

Recovery can take a while but your energy and quality of life will be lasting. Supplements can help therapeutically and can help recover faster but this must be done when working with a practitioner.

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