If you’re struggling with adrenal fatigue or don’t know for sure but have all the signs and symptoms—this article is for you. I’m diving into the best adrenal fatigue diet for ultimate adrenal health and healing.
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is all thanks to chronic stress. When you experience chronic stress (even low levels), your hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal (HPA) axis downregulates, leading to many problems. While this is a protective mechanism, your stress response gets all messed up. For example, in the morning, when cortisol levels are supposed to be the highest, they are the lowest. This can leave you feeling tired, foggy, irritable, and more.
Other common adrenal fatigue symptoms include:
- You’re still tired after a full night’s sleep
- You crave salty foods
- You experience an afternoon slump daily
- No sex drive or low libido
- Inability to handle stress
- Slow healing time
- Mood struggle
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Dependence on stimulants/sugar cravings for energy
- Lack of mental clarity
The Adrenal Fatigue Diet
The “adrenal fatigue solution” isn’t just one thing, and there is definitely no “quick fix.” Healing from adrenal fatigue requires significant lifestyle changes, one being nutrition. Let’s just get this out of the way: there is not one “winning” diet for everyone. Everyone is different and requires a food sensitivities test to know which foods wreak havoc on gut health. Poor gut health is a root cause of adrenal dysfunction, and if you want to heal adrenal fatigue, you need to heal your gut.
So while there is no one specific diet to follow, there are universal guidelines and core principles that can help heal adrenal fatigue by lowering stress, stabilizing blood sugar, and nourishing the adrenals. Before we get into the good stuff, let’s talk about something that a lot of people ask about:
Is the Ketogenic Diet Good for Adrenal Fatigue?
The ketogenic diet has gained popularity over the past few years for being good for weight loss. But is it good for adrenal recovery?
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that’s goal is to get your body into ketosis to burn fat for energy. I don’t recommend adopting a specific fad diet when healing your adrenals, especially not this one, and for a couple of reasons.
First, the keto diet says no carbs! That means that nourishing, vitamin-rich, and blood sugar-stabilizing complex carbs like sweet potatoes are a no-go! I encourage eating delicious and nutritious carbs like potatoes when healing from adrenal fatigue.
Now that we’ve cleared that up—let’s get into it.
Adrenal Fatigue Diet Core Principals
Prioritize Healthy, Whole, Unprocessed Foods
Overall, eat healthy, whole, unprocessed foods. I know, revolutionary, right?! You probably already knew this, but it’s worth repeating. Prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods will help crowd out unhealthy, processed foods. We’re all about adding in before eliminating here.
Processed foods are a major stressor to the body because they are filled with unhealthy fats and synthetic ingredients. They can also be a source of hormone disruption, especially if you’re consuming animal products injected with synthetic hormones.
This is why we recommend eating whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible for energy and adrenal support.
I know that diet and nutrition is usually the point where people tend to check out mentally. I get it—when you’re exhausted, the last thing you want to do is cook healthy food. You may rely heavily on ordering in or convenience foods that are quick to heat up. No judgment here. My only suggestion is that you try to eat well as much as you can. If you order in, choose healthier options like a salad or steamed vegetables with a protein.
Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels
People with adrenal fatigue are constantly on a blood sugar roller coaster. With low energy comes stimulant dependence, and often, you’ll reach for sugary snacks, coffee, or other stimulants to keep you going. It’s totally understandable, but consuming these foods and drinks spikes blood sugar (causing major stress hormone release and probably anxiety), and then it’s not too long after until you crash and burn.
How to Stabilize Blood Sugar
1 – Eat within one hour of waking up in the morning
Unfortunately, black coffee doesn’t count. After fasting during the night, it’s important to support blood sugar levels by eating a balanced, healthy meal in the morning. Some people promote intermittent fasting as a healthy strategy, and it can be used to support hormones, but not if you’re dealing with adrenal fatigue.
When you’re struggling with cortisol dysfunction, it’s important to get that stabilized otherwise intermittent fasting can add stress to the body, which is the opposite of what we want. We want our bodies to feel safe and nourished, so eat within the first hour of waking up.
I love half of an avocado, berries and coconut yogurt, or a Beauty Complex smoothie.
2 – Make sure to have balanced meals: include a healthy fat, good-quality protein, and complex carbs like sweet potato or veggies
Eating meals full of sugar and refined carbohydrates can lead to blood sugar crashes. You want to build meals that include healthy fat, good-quality protein, and complex carbs.
Healthy fats are key for fueling your body with sustainable energy. They also help to normalize blood sugar levels and support hormone balance. When looking for healthy fats, opt for foods that are high in omega 3 fatty acids: walnuts, avocados, wild-caught salmon, chia seeds, coconut oil, nut butter, avocado oil etc.
Protein sources can be animal or plant-based. If you consume animal proteins they need to be free of added hormones and antibiotics—this is crucial for a healthy gut and happy hormones!
3 – Support optimal hydration
Dehydration on its own can cause fatigue. The body is mostly made up of water, and it’s essential for all bodily functions, including healthy digestion and energy production.
If you struggle with adrenal fatigue, you need to be careful how you hydrate. Here’s why: the hormone aldosterone is intricately linked to cortisol and is responsible for the maintenance of body fluid and the concentration of minerals within the blood.
There are 4 key minerals (aka electrolytes) that support this balance:
Drinking a ton of water that is not properly mineralized is pointless. It not only fails to properly hydrate you but also throws off the electrolyte balance in your body, which can make you feel worse.
You can find all of these electrolytes, B vitamins, and more superfoods in our Hydration Superfood Energy powder. It’s a delicious strawberry kiwi flavor and makes drinking water a cinch.
Bringing it all together:
My recommendation for an adrenal fatigue diet is to start with property hydration. This gives an immediate energy boost but won’t leave you crashing later.
Next, focus on stabilizing blood sugar through:
- the frequency of your meals
- eating within one hour of waking up
- eating something every 3 hours throughout the day
Then, focus on the content of your meals. Add healthy fats, proteins, and complex carbs.
Round it out by ditching processed foods and filling plates with the healthy stuff.
If you are completely exhausted and think you have adrenal fatigue, I am here for you. I want you to know that it’s possible to heal. It’s possible to feel like the most vibrant version of yourself! One of the best things you can do for you adrenal health is to focus on nutrition and seriously nutrient dense food. While whole foods are wonderful, they’re often not enough. Which is why we’ve created our own superfoods to help you recover from adrenal fatigue. You can check them out here!