Your adrenals are very important glands situated above each kidney. These glands produce and release regulatory hormones and chemical messengers, which in turn help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, response to stress and other essential functions.
During this news-intensive time related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), anxiety can stress your adrenal glands. When the adrenals are under stress, they are forced work much harder than they are meant to. If the stress does not subside, this places a strain on these tiny organs and can lead to fatigue. However, by supplying your adrenals with the right support they can function optimally. Let’s jump in and look at how to take some first steps.
During anxious times, many of us can forget to eat or experience a decreased appetite. This causes a drop in blood sugar, which in turn stresses the adrenal glands and triggers the sympathetic nervous system. The result can be lightheadedness, cravings and fatigue. So, eating small meals or healthy snacks is important on an everyday basis.
Eat to your health! Set a timer if you must. Remind yourself to chop up some fruits or veggies and stoke your body with vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients readily available in the colorful rainbow offered at any produce display.
Let’s talk about food for a moment. There is a snarky but useful saying that can guide you through any trip to the grocery store, “If it came from a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.” That is an easy first step in grocery shopping awareness, which roughly translates to “avoid processed foods.”
Beyond that basic primer, it is useful to know which foods are not only healthy but especially nourishing for your adrenal glands. Let’s focus in on a few categories and why they matter.
Vitamin C fuels your adrenal glands and, according to an NIH study, these tiny glands have the highest concentration of Vitamin C in the body.
Among foods richest in Vitamin C are fruits.
And among those fruits richest in Vitamin C are berries.
And those berries richest in Vitamin C are: strawberries, raspberries, blueberries.
Non-berry fruits worthy of note for their Vitamin C goodness are: oranges, kiwis, cherries, pineapples and mangoes.
B Vitamins are one of the building blocks of the adrenals and critical to cell metabolism in general. The B vitamins are one that I recommend getting directly from whole foods as much as possible. Let me tell you why. There are an array of vitamins that fall under the umbrella of “B Vitamins” including: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12). Some of these are more readily absorbed than others when taken as a supplement. Additionally, they are water-soluble, which means your body does not store them so you need a daily supply. If you choose to supplement your diet with B vitamins, be sure to consult an experienced holistic physician about high-grade, highly-absorbable choices.
Whole foods like vegetables, legumes, lentils, seeds, nuts, whole grains and seafood are especially good sources of high-quality and bioavailable B vitamins. Building some of these foods into your daily diet can easily provide that supplement a healthy body needs.
Vegetable recommendations: dark leafy broccoli and spinach. Also, artichokes, asparagus, Brussels sprout
Legume recommendations: beans, lentils
Seeds and nut recommendations: almonds, sunflower
Whole grains: brown rice, oatmeal
Visit your local farmer’s market or grocery store to stock up on a few of these healthy options.
A Harvard study on hydration drives home the importance of giving our bodies this important resource, outlining the extent to which it is crucial including, “to regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.” However, as you might guess, not all beverages are equally beneficial.
Sugar and caffeine are adrenal stressors, so avoid those whenever possible. While it can be tempting to try to boost yourself with an espresso or energy drink, those place a burden on your system — and in fact can have a dehydrating effect.
It is also worth noting that raw fruits and veggies can be incredibly hydrating. So, count those snacks as doubly helpful sources.
Need an excuse to go to the beach? I have you covered. Making time to go outdoors and be in a natural setting contributes to your physical well-being, reduces blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and can ease the burden your adrenals are tasked with when you’re feeling anxious. A simple walk in the woods or along the beach can do wonders for your body and mind.
If you are asymptomatic and would like to schedule a 30-minute telephone consultation with Dr. Formolo, we invite you to book an appointment.