Control your stress levels and support your adrenal glands with the food you eat

stress management through food


The forthcoming holiday season can be a stressful one, especially for women. Many women get very busy and overwhelmed making sure everything is just right for the Christmas celebrations and tending to take on lots of extra work and responsibility. They end up taking care of  everyone else but often neglect,  or do not having time to tend to their own needs.

Stress is one of the worst culprits for robbing the body of nutrients. Also at this time of year healthy eating becomes more of a challenge with all the festive food and drink which is readily available.

Stress and busy-ness puts our adrenal glands into overdrive, leading to  increased feelings of panic, fear and self-preservation. With a few simple changes we can reverse this and end up feeling calmer, more relaxed, safer, more connected and more able to enjoy the holiday season.

You can help to support your adrenal glands and your stress response by including soothing, hydrating and simple foods in your diet. Your gut is like a second brain in that it contains many nerve endings and neurotransmitter receptors that enable it to register and respond to stress. So a diet that is dehydrating, full of irritating foods, or difficult to digest will compound the stress signals in the body. In addition this state will make any nutrients harder to absorb thus creating a vicious circle of nutrient depletion, further stress etc.

Keeping yourself well hydrated is vital. The body needs water for many functions such as manufacturing digestive enzymes, helping to transport nutrients and hormones around the body and for flushing waste material out of the body. Generally most adults require about 1.5 to 2 litres of plain water daily, taking at regular intervals through the day. Ensure any dried foods such as fruits, pulses, nuts and seeds are well soaked before use. Include lots of watery foods such as soups, juices, casseroles and fresh vegetables.

Avoid gluten rich grains such as wheat, barley and rye for these can cause irritation to the gut and can also ‘clog’ it up leaving it sluggish and unresponsive. Similarly dairy foods can be difficult to digest and can cause inflammation and contribute to excess mucous production. Incomplete digestion of dairy foods can interfere with the neurotransmitters in the gut leading to low energy, mood swings and poor sleep.

Stimulants such as sugar, coffee and alcohol should be excluded or kept to a minimum. Excess amounts of these products will artificially stimulate the adrenal glands and put them into overdrive.

Foods which particularly support the adrenals include aduki beans, black beans, walnuts, beetroot, celery, ginger and cranberries.

It helps to eat regularly, small frequent meals are best. Including some high quality protein with each meal helps to keep blood sugar stable and avoids the adrenals having to step in and rectify blood sugar imbalances.

In summary:

  • Keep well hydrated
  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, especially green vegetables
  • Avoid or minimise wheat, barley and rye
  • Avoid or minimise dairy foods
  • Avoid excess sugar
  • Minimise alcohol
  • Cut down on caffeine
  • Eat small frequent meals
  • Include some high quality protein with every meal

Have you ever noticed a connection between the food and drink you consume and your levels of stress or calmness?


  1. Great insights Dot! There are definitely certain foods and drinks to avoid when you’re already stressed. If you’re feeling the strain try to avoid energy drinks, tea, coffee, butter, cheese, fast food, sugar, alcohol, soft drinks and coconut oil.

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