I originally was going to include this information in my post Adrenal Fatigue: What to Do About It, but it got to be so long I thought it deserved its own post. It never ceases to amaze me how every nutrient we need for health and wellness can be found in creation. You don’t need a degree in nutrition to know what your body needs! I wanted to share all of this information with you, so you can take back your own health.
Consider the source.
If you remember nothing else from this blog, remember this: never underestimate the impact of nutrient dense foods. This is particularly true for adrenal fatigue, as your body has already depleted its supplies of the raw materials needed to make cortisol. During times of stress and recovery from adrenal fatigue, you need to make sure you’re getting adequate amounts of protein, cholesterol, essential fatty acids and minerals, and vitamins A, B, C, and E. These substances are what your body uses to make coticosteroids. Eating grass fed meats and ocean caught fish will give you clean sources of protein that are also rich in essential fatty acids like EPA, DHA and GLA. Pastured eggs are a great source of dietary cholesterol and are more nutrient dense than CAFO eggs, so please consider the source of the food you’re consuming. Buy organic when you can, as organic produce is not only lacking in pesticides and other endocrine disrupting chemicals, but also more nutrient dense. Switch our your plain table salt for sea salt, and your intake of minerals will skyrocket.
Vitamins are found in colorful foods.
Sources of vitamin A include: liver, butter and egg yolks. Vitamin A is only found in animal products, but your body can convert the carotenoids found in plant foods into vitamin A. Plant sources of carotenoids include all the red, orange, yellow and pink fruits and vegetables, including carrots, tomatoes, peaches, apricots, sweet potatoes and squash.
Vitamin B 12 has gotten a lot of attention for its affects on boosting energy, but the truth is that your body needs the entire B vitamin complex. If you supplement too long with any one isolated B vitamin, your body will start to become imbalanced, and more symptoms will develop. This is why I think its much more effective to eat whole foods rather than focusing on supplements. Because there are so many different B vitamins, the list of foods that contain them is quite long: milk, meat, nuts, beans, green vegetables, sweet corn, egg yolk, liver, corn meal, brown rice, mushrooms, cheese, cabbage, legumes, wheat, sesame, asparagus, leafy greens, cauliflower, clams, oysters and algae.
Vitamin C is one that people are very familiar with, but you may not know that the vitamin C found in supplement form is different than vitamin C found in foods. Again, the supplement form is not complete, it lacks the cofactors, phytonutrients, and enzymes that make food source of vitamin C so much more effective. Great sources of vitamin C include: citrus fruits, rose hips, papayas, cantaloupes, strawberries, red and green peppers, broccoli, brussel sprouts, tomatoes, asparagus, dark leafy greens, and sauerkraut.
Vitamin E, like vitamin A, is fat soluble, and therefore one of the vitamins you can actually overdose on. If you consume too much of a water soluble vitamin, your body will simply eliminate it in your urine, but fat soluble vitamins build up in your tissues. Yet another reason to get your nutrients from foods, as its nearly impossible to overdose on fat soluble vitamins in your diet since you’d be full long before you reached toxic levels. Where do you find vitamin E? In nuts, wheat germ, milk, eggs, fish, muscle meats, leafy vegetables, palm oil and peanut oil.
My point in making this long list of foods is not to give you a grocery list that you have to take to the store and check off every single item. The point is to convey to you just how much you can impact your health simply by eating whole foods. If you make the effort to include lots of fruits and veggies, eat from every color of the rainbow, find sources of clean, grass fed meats and ocean caught fish when you can, and use sea salt, those are huge steps! You don’t have to remember that you get essential fatty acids from salmon and grass fed beef, or which vitamins are in your spinach salad with almonds. Just eat it! Enjoy it, and rest assured knowing that you’re providing nutrient dense foods for your body to support your adrenals and your overall health.
Selye, H. The Stress of Life. 2nd edition, McGraw-Hill, 1978.
Shayne, V. Whole Food Nutrition: The Missing Link in Vitamin Therapy, 2000.
This post is part of Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable.