Plant Based Diet for Adrenal Support
Many of you consider your adrenal glands as just another spleen: you know you have both organs, but they don’t get any special attention. Your daily choices either abuse or support these glands, however. If your adrenals take too much abuse, it leads to adrenal fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is currently a chic diagnosis in the world of alternative medicine, although most doctors do not recognize this health issue. As someone who has struggled with adrenal fatigue, I can tell you that it is very real. Fortunately, with some straight-forward dietary and lifestyle changes, you will be on your path to adrenal fatigue recovery.
Here are some of my favorite plant-based interventions for stress and its eventual result, adrenal fatigue:
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): The root of this perennial shrub from India has been shown(1) to help the body maintain a normal cortisol response under physiologic or emotional stress.* It is a classic example of an “adaptogen” – a substance that provides “non-specific” resistance to stress.* It works wonders for people who are exhausted at day’s end but can’t sleep; that is, those who are “wired and tired.”* Among the adaptogens, it is one of the most calming.*
- Rhodiola root (Rhodiola rosea): Native to Canada and Northern Eurasia, this adaptogen is on the opposite end of the spectrum from ashwagandha. It is stimulating and energizing, and there’s no need to restrict its use to your patients – it has been shown(2) effective for tired, stressed physicians on night duty.*
- Tulsi herb (Ocimum sanctum): Also known as holy basil, this gentle herb is prized in India as a way to increase awareness and focus, and is effective against a broad range of physical and mental stressors.(3)* I’ve found it especially useful for people who feel their stress in their digestive tracts.*
- Schisandra fruit (Schisandra chinensis): A staple of traditional Chinese medicine, the bright red berry native to Eurasia is a classic adaptogen, capable of promoting stamina and overall strength.* A Swedish review paper summarizing Russian research(4) concluded it “increases physical working capacity and affords a stress-protective effect against a broad spectrum of harmful factors….”*