Everyone has had their food cravings every once in a while. The urge happens because of the pleasure experienced from eating a certain food. Sometimes, it’s because of a good memory people want to relive.
If you’re suffering from adrenal fatigue though, food cravings are a reflection of what’s happening inside your body. And while an average person can binge eat on their cravings every once in a while, people with adrenal fatigue can’t — or shouldn’t. What you eat (or drink) can further affect adrenal health. That’s why it’s important to be watchful of your diet.
The Science Behind the Cravings
One of the common cravings of people with adrenal fatigue is food that has high salt content, such as chips and French fries. The adrenal cortex, which produces the stress hormone cortisol, also releases aldosterone, the one responsible for regulating water and getting rid of minerals in the body. This gland gets overworked when someone has adrenal fatigue; therefore, people suffering from this condition tend to pee more frequently.
What happens then is minerals such as sodium and potassium are always flushed out of the system. That said, you get the hunger pangs for salty food. Now, salt is important in adrenal fatigue treatment. Las Vegas-based functional medicine doctors in medical institutions such as RedRiver Health and Wellness Center explain, however, that you need to be extra picky with the type of salt you include in your diet.
Another typical craving among those with adrenal fatigue is sugar. Patients are in constant fight-or-flight arousal, which prompts the body to produce more cortisol. This causes increased sugar in the bloodstream to help you deal with the stressor that caused the fight-or-flight mechanism. Later on, the body would prompt cravings for sugar to refill what was spent.
Most people tend to reach for chocolates and coffee, but the problem with these is they only provide spikes of energy in your system, not long-term sustenance. In addition, too much sugar causes cortisol levels to drop further, stressing out the adrenal glands and leaving you more tired.
Healthy Approach to Unhealthy Cravings
Cravings in adrenal fatigue cases aren’t necessarily bad. They are clues for what’s happening within your body. What may not be healthy, though, is how you respond to cravings. When craving something salty, some people go for fast food burgers or processed meat. When craving sugar, others binge on donuts and soda. These food choices are not just unhealthy for your condition; they may also put you at risk for other health problems. So, take the healthy approach to your cravings.
The first step is asking your doctor for a nutrition plan. This should be at the core of your treatment program. Find healthy substitutes, such as fruits and vegetables. The next thing you want to do is drink plenty of water. Most people find their cravings less extreme when they address their thirst, not their hunger. If you really can’t help but give in, try having only small portions of food and avoid binge eating.
Salt and sugar cravings are hallmark symptoms of adrenal fatigue. Consult your doctor for a nutrition plan that would help you manage such symptoms.