You’re in the right place if you have been struggling with chronic stress, burnout, and adrenal fatigue. In this article, I’m going to share a functional medicine approach to healing adrenal fatigue through food. Food really can be medicine, and it’s one of the most important pillars in our coaching program. But while diet may be the most important (also the biggest needle mover) it can be the most challenging change to make. Swapping processed sugars and fats for healthy whole foods is essential to adrenal health, and today I’m going to share a list of the best adrenal fatigue foods. Let’s get to it.
The Importance of Adrenal Health
Before we get into the best foods for adrenal fatigue, we must understand why healthy adrenals are essential for a healthy, vibrant life.
Our adrenal glands manage stress, regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, and produce sex hormones! Basically, proper adrenal function is necessary for a good libido, energy, and mood.
Our adrenal hormones include the popular cortisol (stress hormone), DHEA, adrenaline, aldosterone, and norepinephrine. Later, you’ll learn the best foods to support healthy adrenal hormone levels for healthy adrenals. But first:
What is Adrenal Fatigue?
Adrenal fatigue is when we have been chronically stressed for far too long. When we experience chronic stress (meaning low levels for a long period) our HPA (hypothalamus, pituitary, adrenal) axis downregulates, leading to hormonal imbalance and low energy levels.
Adrenal Fatigue Symptoms
Whether you have adrenal insufficiency, severe adrenal fatigue, or slight adrenal dysfunction (find out in our quiz), here are the symptoms you may be experiencing:
- Chronic stress, out-of-whack cortisol levels
- Still tired after a full night’s sleep
- Salty food cravings
- Experience afternoon slump daily
- Inability to handle dress
- Mood swings
- Increased PMS symptoms
- Dependence on stimulants and sugar for energy
- Lack of mental clarity
- No sex drive/low libido
- Slow healing time
The Best Adrenal Fatigue Foods
Adrenal Fatigue Diet Core Principles
Adrenal fatigue recovery requires a couple of core principles. There is just one diet to follow for recovery, and there is no quick fix. But there are universal guidelines that can help heal adrenal fatigue by lowering stress, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and nourishing the adrenals.
- Prioritize Healthy, Whole, Unprocessed Foods: prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods is the key to crowding out unhealthy foods. We like to think about adding in before eliminating. Try to opt for whole foods sans packaging and lots of color! Fruits, veggies, protein, and healthy fat.
- Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels: this is huge! People with adrenal fatigue are constantly on a blood sugar roller coaster, causing major stress hormone release and extreme tiredness. Here’s how you can stabilize blood sugar:
- Eat within one hour of waking up in the morning
- Have balanced meals – healthy fat, good quality protein, and complex carbs.
- Support optimal hydration with key electrolytes: sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride. Found in our Hydration Superfood Energy powder.
Foods for Healthy Adrenal Gland Function
As you’ve learned, blood sugar imbalances have a huge (negative) impact on adrenal gland function. When combined with a balanced meal, the healthy fats from avocados can help stabilize blood sugar and regulate the nervous system response. Keeping our nervous system calm is crucial for handling stress and healing adrenal fatigue at the root. This super fruit also contains vitamin B5, which is a stress-fighting vitamin.
Vitamin C is crucial for proper adrenal function. Our adrenals store vitamin C, so our bodies can use a lot of it when we are stressed. You can replenish your storage with bell peppers of all colors for a healthy dose of vitamin C. Other amazing foods high in vitamin C are strawberries, tomatoes, citrus, cruciferous vegetables, and white potatoes.
Loaded with Vitamins C, A, K, and B—kale truly is a superfood regarding adrenal health. Vitamin K is amazing for building healthy blood and reducing damage caused by stress. Vitamin C we know can restore adrenal reserves, and vitamins A and K can support our nervous system.
Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of magnesium, an essential anti-stress mineral that we are not getting enough of today! While necessary for many things, magnesium is vital for quality sleep and a regulated nervous system. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds on salads or have a small handful before bed.
When you are dealing with adrenal fatigue, consuming good-quality proteins is necessary. Organic turkey can be fantastic for people because of its tryptophan!
Tryptophan is an amino acid that can help foster feelings of calm. It’s necessary to minimize anxiety and maintain a balanced mood. You need to relieve stress to heal at the root, and organic turkey may just help you.
Fatty, wild-caught fish like salmon and sardines are excellent protein sources and loaded with healthy omega-3 fats for blood sugar balance, better brain function, and less inflammation.
Asparagus contains sulfur, folate, and essential B vitamins, which can help with nervous system regulation and hormone balance. Helping balance hormones is going to be vital in reversing adrenal fatigue.
Loaded with zinc to help neurotransmitters function properly, eating oysters can help you adapt to stress and be less anxious. They are also an incredible source of vitamin D and B12, which most of us are deficient in.
This wild weed can be added to salads, soups, egg scrambles, and more. It can even be drunk as tea. Nettles is an adaptogen that helps to balance hormones and make us more resilient to stress. It is also a blood builder that has an amazing ability to nourish depleted adrenals. A natural stimulant, try swapping out your morning coffee with an overnight infusion of nettles for a morning energy boost.
Ashwagandha is a healing food that is wonderful for regulating the HPA axis. It’s a potent adaptogen that helps you become more resilient to environmental, physical, emotional, and mental stressors. When creating our Beauty Collagen Complex, we knew we had to add supportive adaptogens to help the body heal at the root. What we came up with was a delicious vanilla-honey powder that’s easy to add to smoothies, oats, alternative milk, and more.
How to make eating adrenal fatigue foods easy
If you’ve seen the new craze about cowbow caviar (a bean salad) then you can already guess some ideas I am going to share. I love to chop up bell peppers, onion, and avocado. Then, I’ll dress with olive oil and citrus or vinegar and some really good salt. Add that to a nice kale bed with sliced turkey, and viola! But for those of you who hate cooking—I’ve got a better idea.
Our line of Superfood Supplements was designed to make consuming foods for less stress and happy hormones easy. You can find leafy greens and nourishing vitamins and minerals in our Organic Immunity Greens. You can sip on delicious and refreshing strawberry kiwi electrolytes and B vitamins in our Hydration Superfood Energy. And you can enjoy adaptogens in our yummy Beauty Collagen Complex.
For more guidance on an adrenal fatigue diet, and foods for hormones, check out these articles below:
- The Best Adaptogens for Stress and Hormone Balance
- Best Foods for Hormone Imbalance
- The Adrenal Fatigue Diet
- Podcast: The Adrenal Fatigue Diet for Full Recovery
I hope this article helped you get an idea of what to shop for at the grocery store next! Nourishment and natural energy are coming your way. Which foods are you most excited about?