Here's my top tip for adrenal fatigue sufferers: manage your blood sugar levels.
Our adrenal hormones play a key role in blood sugar regulation, here’s how. Stress causes our adrenal glands to produce cortisol. Cortisol raises blood sugar in order to give our body some quick energy so we can defend ourselves against the “tiger that's chasing us”. Insulin then jumps in to usher this sugar into our cells, (where it’s supposed to be used as energy to run from said tiger). Problem is, in this modern day world a tiger isn't chasing us. Instead we have constant “tigers”, (stress) from work, kids, marriage, finances, etc. Our bodies weren’t designed to deal with this type of chronic, constant stress. We were designed to deal with acute – “A tiger is chasing me! I gotta run, NOW!” – stress. So, when no energy consuming activity takes place, when we’re not running from a tiger, our raised blood sugar has no where to go and isn’t used up. What happens next is our cells start ignoring the masses amounts of insulin we’re pumping out in order to protect themselves against the constant onslaught of sugar. Thus, we become insulin resistant, which is the precursor to disorders such as metabolic syndrome and diabetes. So you can see why stabilizing your blood sugar levels is imperative to good health and hormone balance. It can also help balance your mood so you don't “crash and burn” from blood sugar that has crashed too low.
So how do we keep our blood sugar in check? Follow these tips:
- Eat regularly so as not to let your blood sugar dip too low. Aim for 5 small meals per day.
- Always include a healthy fat, a protein and fibre with each meal/snack. This helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, slowing the release of glucose into your bloodstream.
- DO NOT skip breakfast – this is imperative. And make sure you consume a high-protein breakfast.
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, refined and processed foods, which can all mess with your blood sugar regulation. And definitely, avoid sugar.