The Beautiful Human Body, Part II - Adrenals
Adrenal is a small walnut-sized gland in the lower back that does a big job of managing our response to stress of all kinds. It produces hormones like cortisol and adrenalin, that regulate functions of our body.
Cortisol is meant to be a short-term response to stress, but when we are in chronic stress mode, cortisol is continually pumped out, the body fails to distinguish whether we are in a state of emergency or just simply stressed out in our daily lives. This affects many normal functions like digestion, sleep, metabolism of foods, fat storing triggers and other hormone production. Excess sugar taxes the adrenals since cortisol is required to balance it.
When the adrenal glands are compromised over time, they instead produce excess adrenalin, which is an important hormone that should be reserved for situations of real crisis. When every day life becomes difficult to handle, adrenal fatigue symptoms such as irritation, anxiousness, and exhaustion follow. Adrenals also affect the normal functioning of the endocrine system causing a ripple effect of an under-performing thyroid, stress on the liver, oxidative stress, and also blood sugar imbalances.
Adrenals, however, can be nourished. Along with practicing modalities that can assist with managing our physical and emotional response to stress, spiritual connection, eating nutrient dense foods at , supplementing with ginseng or ashwaghanda, and incorporating an exercise routine will go a long way toward improving the quality of sleep and energy through the day.
Foods that support the Adrenals
Nuts and seeds
Practice Personal Quiet Time (PQT), starting with 5 minutes and increasing it to 20 minutes a day. Same place, same time, every single day.
Yoga Asanas that support the Adrenals
Everything that helps activate the para-sympathetic nervous system:
Restorative and Yin Yoga are beneficial to nourish the adrenals
Practicing different breathing techniques like Ujjayi (Ocean’s breath), Alternate Nostril breathing
Forward bending postures
Eat at regular intervals and practice a few minutes of deep breathing everyday, perhaps during the most stressful times to nourish the Adrenals.
Haylie Pomroy, Author and Nutrition Counselor
Dr. Axe, certified doctor of natural medicine