Your body is created to handle stress. When you’re in a stressful situation, your adrenals pump out the hormone cortisol. In small busts, this hormone sparks the release of stored blood sugar and it revs up the heart rate and increases circulation, all in an effort to energize you to respond to whatever stressor is out there.
Trouble is, in our world, most stress is from bills, work, family pressures and the like and not the stress of yester year, like a predator chasing us down. These pressures rarely go away. This keeps the cortisol in constant supply in the blood stream and wrecks havoc on the system.
Studies show that chronic elevated cortisol levels can lead to a 50% increase in stored belly fat in as little as two weeks. As well, high blood pressure, suppressed immune function and impaired memory can also be added to the list of problems with overexposure to this hormone.
Over time, the high production of cortisol leaves the adrenals fatigued. This can lead you to feel fatigued, depressed and mentally foggy. The adrenals ability to create sufficient levels of other hormones is reduced and your ability to deal with stress or anxiety is maxed out. This can lead to autoimmune disorders, type 2 diabetes and fibromyalgia.
What can you do?
In addition to managing stress more effectively, your diet is one thing that can off set fatigued adrenals. Vitamin C is especially important as it helps to control cortisol spikes. Sweet potatoes, bell peppers and all citrus fruits are rich sources and should be included in your daily diet.
Magnesium will do the same as Vitamin C by controlling the spike of cortisol. Spinach, beans and nuts are rich in magnesium.
Omega 3 fatty acids found in cold water fish and flaxseed are also good choices to prevent adrenal fatigue.
Other good food choices include zinc rich red meat which help the liver break down excess cortisol and even better news: dark chocolate! Choose 70% or more cocao to increase production of stress endorphins which reduce stress.
These foods can help restore the adrenals, increase your energy, increase mental focus and help you lose stubborn belly fat.
Sounds like a great plan.
Here’s one of my fav recipes for fish given to me by super client Barb.. You can use any fish but my fav is basa:
FAB FISH DISH
1/3 cup olive oil
1 large onion
1 red pepper
3 cloves fresh garlic
1 small root fresh ginger
5 mls cayenne pepper
5 mls turmeric
2 large pieces basa (or other flat, white fish)
1 ¼ cup basmati rice (see Notes for information on rice)
1 can chicken bouillon
– slice onion into chunks
– slice pepper into chunks
– crush and chop garlic
– peel and chop ginger
– mix olive oil, cayenne pepper and turmeric
– start rice preparation (see Notes)
– put the olive oil, cayenne pepper and turmeric mixture into a large frying pan
– add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook until onions are translucent on medium heat
– add the peppers and cook for a couple of minutes
– move the above mixture to the side of the frying pan and place the fish on the bottom of the pan
– pile the vegetables on top of the fish
– put the lid on the frying pan and cook the fish for approximately 6 minutes on medium/high heat; flip the fish and cook for another 6 minutes
– remove fish from frying pan
– add cooked rice to vegetables and stir thoroughly until rice is yellow
– The amounts of cayenne pepper and turmeric noted make this dish pretty spicy though it seems to depend upon the brand of spices used. Use more or less according to taste.
– Use more olive oil if you want / need to.
– I serve the above on basmati rice which is foolproof. Cook 1¼ cups of rice in 2½ cups of liquid (a can of chicken bouillon and the rest water is good but just water is fine too) for 11 minutes on low heat after having brought it to a boil.
– This makes 3 – 4 servings depending upon appetites.
And here’s another great recipe that includes flaxseed:
Banana Date Flaxseed Bread
Yields 10 servings This moist and tender quick bread is packed with fiber.
1⁄3 cup ground flax seed
3 bananas, mashed
1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
1⁄2 cup white sugar
3⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons whole flax seed
1⁄3 cup chopped pitted dates
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8×4 inch loaf pan. Use an electric coffee grinder or food processor to grind 1⁄2 cup flax seed; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together banana, oil, sugar and eggs. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground flax seed and 1⁄4 cup whole flax seed. Gradually stir flour mixture into banana mixture. Fold in dates; spoon batter into prepared loaf pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
Fat 9.2 g
Carbohydrates 32.4 g
Protein 4.1 g