Picture this: It's way back when and you're picking berries with your fellow tribeswo/men. You look up, suddenly realizing a lion is watching you. A rush of adrenaline courses through your body, your blood pressure spikes, and your brain is flooded with oxygen. In a split second you decide to run for it; your muscles are fueled with glucose and you run like never before. You manage to escape; your body returns to its normal, relaxed state. This quick reaction to danger is called the flight-or-fight response, and it was made possible by your adrenal glands.
Fast-forward to today. You can still feel the lion's eyes on you. Your mind is racing with thoughts of all the things you need to accomplish and things you mustn't forget. You have an approaching deadline at work. You must think of, shop for, and make dinner, all before your children's dance class at 7:00. These thoughts are making you anxious, and your body is starting to think it's in an emergency situation.
This is because your adrenal glands, which are responsible for regulating your response to stress, are reacting to your thoughts as if they were lions stalking you in the wild. The incessant stream of stressful thinking is putting you on an almost constant high alert. Your adrenals were designed to help you in occasional emergency situations.
When daily life becomes so tense that your adrenals sense 'danger' each day, they become burned out. They can become so overworked that they're no longer able keep up. When they get burned out, you're incapable of dealing with any stress, making you feel even more stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, and finally exhausted.
If your adrenals are fatigued it is crucial that you address this. Over time it can lead to other health issues, like hormonal imbalance and immune system suppression. Don't worry too much, there is good news: there are a couple of simple things you can do to restore your adrenals.
The first one is to, you guessed it, de-stress. When you feel yourself getting wound-up, pause, take a long, deep breath, and bring it down a notch. Tell your body there is no emergency.
Secondly, add adaptogenic herbs to your daily regimen. Adaptogens are supportive of your adrenal glands in that they help your body adapt to and respond healthily to stress.
The delicious breakfast smoothie below is an easy and effective way to give your adrenals a boost. You'll get plenty of fiber, healthy fats, protein and phytonutrients in addition to the healing and restorative benefits of adaptogenic herbs.
Adrenal Superhero Smoothie
- 1 banana or avocado (depending on your preference)
- 1 cup frozen strawberries or raspberries
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 1-2 cups kale or spinach
- 1 Tbsp. raw coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 serving of your favorite protein powder, yogurt, or a couple of Tbsp. nut butter
- A little honey or other sweetener to taste
- 1 tsp. Maca powder
- 1 tsp. Ashwagandha powder
- 1 cup of brewed Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil) tea
- Place ingredients in a blender, puree.
- Add liquid (juice, almond milk, etc) depending on the thickness you want for your smoothie.
Above all, remember this: you're most likely not being chased by a lion, so try and relax!
Writer Elise Tyrie lives and works in beautiful Boulder, CO. For more information about what she does, as well as more fun blog posts and newsletters.
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.