Stuck in traffic

One too many cups of coffee. Traffic. Late nights. Evil bosses. Screaming babies. More traffic… Chances are you’re on a first-name basis with one or more of these scenarios, and so are you adrenal glands—those important stress regulators hanging out atop your kidneys.

The adrenals send hormonal responses throughout your body that when over-stressed can lead to feeling fatigued, depressed, anxious and an inability to concentrate. Low or improper adrenal function can also be caused by environmental toxins like BPA (bisphenol-A) and pesticides that can mimic or interfere with their function causing serious health issues including allergies, weight gain, irritable bowel syndrome, PMS and arthritis.

Beyond simply avoiding stress in our lives (as if that’s even possible!), we can incorporate foods and herbs that help the adrenal glands process stress safely and healthily, so we feel our very best.

Food

Potassium rich foods help to keep the sodium/potassium levels balanced in the body, which is critical for adrenals. Calcium and magnesium, vitamins A, B(s) and C are also important in stress regulation and adrenal function.

Try eating these foods for the above nutrients:

  1. Almonds
  2. Avocados
  3. Yams
  4. Swiss Chard
  5. Parsley
  6. Brazil Nuts
  7. Kale
  8. Walnuts
  9. Oranges
  10. Lemons
  11. Kidney Beans
  12. Celery
  13. Seaweed (particularly kelp)
  14. Berries
  15. Squash
  16. Millet
  17. Dried figs
  18. Hemp seeds
  19. Dried dates
  20. Shiitake mushrooms (and all medicinal mushrooms, for that matter)

Herbs

If our adrenals have been exposed to long-term stress, herbs may be helpful in restoring and rebuilding healthy function in combination with diet. Always consult with a physician before starting an herbal regimen, especially if you take any prescription medications.

  1. Licorice root has been used for centuries to boost adrenal health. It can boost cortisol levels and regulate the liver in processing them more efficiently.
  2. Holy basil (tulsi) maintains balance in the body’s stress system. It can also help regulate blood sugar and inflammation levels, which can impact stress.
  3. Pau d’arco comes from a wild rainforest tree and is a most powerful tonic. It strengthens the immune system, especially from stress and overworked adrenals and can actually help the body prevent further damage from fungal, bacterial and viral infections.
  4. Cat’s claw is also a South American herb that can regenerate the immune system and fight inflammation in the body—one of the key factors in stress.
  5. Wild oats are high in potassium and magnesium which are key for stress and can soothe the nervous system as well as the adrenal glands.
  6. Goji berries are rich in a number of impressive nutrients, including vitamin C, which is critical for stress reduction and adrenal health.
  7. Schisandra berries have adaptogenic properties, meaning they do what your body needs most. They enhance the body’s resistance to stress exceptionally well.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Resources:

http://www.naturalways.com/adrenal.htm

http://www.goodhormonehealth.com/

http://www.gaiaherbs.com/products/detail/5/Adrenal-Health

Image: radworld