Adrenal PCOS - Diet & Lifestyle Tips

Your driver: Adrenals

How are you adrenals driving your PCOS?

  1. Your adrenal glands, in the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, produce cortisol and adrenaline to increase your blood pressure and heart rate in response to stress. Chronic stress then leads to excessive cortisol production, increasing your DHEA-S levels. High DHEAs in women can lead to PCOS symptoms of excess body and facial hair, menstrual irregularities, and acne. 
  2. When there is excessive stress and or blood sugar dysregulation, the adrenal glands produce more cortisol which increases your blood sugar levels. Consistently elevated blood sugar levels leads to increased insulin resistance, affecting insulin uptake into the cell therefore increasing blood insulin surges. This stimulates elevated testosterone and estrogen levels in females, exacerbating PCOS symptoms. 
  3. Overactive cortisol production and dysregulated blood sugar from the adrenals in response to stress often leads to stubborn weight gain in the abdominal region, which also correlates with excessive androgen production and inflammation. Increased fatty tissue in the belly begins to act as an organ, producing more estrogen and testosterone through aromatization to worsen PCOS hormone imbalances.

Diet Tips 

  • Your adrenals need fuel, and can function optimally when you are eating regularly. Your eating times and patterns should follow your natural cortisol production. Cortisol is generally highest around 8am, so instead of skipping breakfast focus on introducing a meal with lean protein and fat at this time. An omelette with avocado and salmon, or a berry smoothie with collagen protein and chia seeds. This will improve your metabolism and blood sugar regulation throughout the day!
  • Instead of dinner being your biggest meal of the day, increase your portion size and nutrient content in your lunch to support your adrenals. This will help keep your cortisol balanced and will prevent a blood sugar drop in the afternoon (this will then help prevent you reaching for that sugary pick-me-up at the 4pm slump)!
  • Keep dinner light and try eat your last meal between 5:30-6:30pm. This is when your cortisol should be the lowest to help you wind down for a restful sleep. Having a salad or some roast vegetables with a small serve of grains and meat / tofu is a great place to start.
  • Have your coffee after breakfast, and keep it to one coffee per day. We generally rely on caffeine for energy if our adrenals are over-worked and under functioning. This is a vicious cycle because the more caffeine we ingest, the more our adrenals have to work to respond with cortisol and adrenaline to sustain energy, which actually leads to more adrenal fatigue long-term.

Lifestyle tips

  • Sleep! Aim for a minimum of 7 hours per night. Some tips to help improve your sleep quality are:
    • Avoid all blue-light screens after 8pm to prevent a cortisol spike in the evenings.
    • Do five minutes meditation or mindfulness before sleeping to engage your rest and digest state (your parasympathetic nervous system).
    • Have a calming herbal tea after dinner to reduce any hyperactivity or anxiety before sleeping, we recommend a blend of chamomile, lemon balm, and lavender.

  • Manage your stress and take the load of your adrenals!
    • Engage in daily relaxation practices like meditation, breathwork, singing, humming and cold showers. Set aside 20-30 minutes everyday for self-care routine that incorporates your favourite practices to help you unwind. If you are experiencing chronic emotional stress, lean on professionals like psychologists, kinesiologists and counsellors to help.

  • Increase your earthing and grounding time.
    • Spend more time barefoot outdoors in contact with grass, soil, stone and sand to reconnect with the Earth's natural electric charge. By connecting with the electrical conduction of the earth you can harness potent stress-relieving, anti-inflammatory and increased blood flow activity in the body. Many people report feeling more relaxed, less anxious, less stressed and more grounded when practicing regular earthing.

If you are looking for an effective treatment option, I offer 10 minute herbal medicine consults where I am able to formulate you your very own unique mix to balance and support your hormones. If this sounds like something you are ready to explore, book today using the link below!

Access your herbal formula here >> Herbal Medicine Consult 

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