eating for adrenal health

By: Debra Delson, C.N.
Edited date: January 29, 2022Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

The main purpose of your adrenal glands is to help your body cope with stress. It is their job to enable your body to deal with all types of stressors, which may include injury, disease, workplace and relationship issues, environmental stress (pollution, etc.) and even food allergens. Your resilience, energy, and endurance depend on their effectiveness. The hormones secreted by your adrenal glands influence all of the body’s major physiological processes, such as:

  1. • Utilization of carbohydrates and fats
  2. • Conversion of fats and proteins into energy
  3. • Regulation of blood sugar
  4. • Gastrointestinal function
  5. • Immune system function
  6. • Reactivity to allergens
  7. • Sex hormone function
  8. • Muscular strength and stamina
  9. • Exercise endurance
  10. • Weigh gain or weight loss
  11. • Neurotransmitter synthesis
  12. • Inflammatory response

Thus, keeping the adrenal glands health and responsive to life’s demands is crucial for maintaining good health.

The main lifestyle recommendation for supporting adrenal health is to manage stress: Avoid extra obligations, take time-outs, relax throughout the day, and do not work long hours without taking breaks.

  1. • Learn to organize your life around self-care and health
  2. • Do not skip meals!
  3. • Lower your exposure to toxins. If necessary, put an air purifier in your home and work.
  4. • Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
  5. • Exercise lightly, such as walking, yoga or stretching
  6. • Chew food well for better digestion
  7. • Get 7-9 hours per night of quality sleep. If you are waking up between 2 am and 3 am, try a protein-based snack prior to bedtime. A lack of good sleep can prolong the healing process.

If you have a hard time falling asleep, ask your healthcare professional for some natural sleep enhancers and for nutritional therapy that will calm down any overproduction of the adrenal stress hormones at night.

Eating Tips for supporting adrenal health

  1. Eat 5-9 servings of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables per day. Eat a rainbow of colors to get a daily dose of vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids, and antioxidants.
  2. Eat organic poultry, grass-fed beef, and Omega-3 eggs. Your goal is to eat foods that do not contain hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide residues.
  3. Eat protein at every meal, along with fat and low-glycemic carbohydrates. This will provide you with more stable energy. Low-glycemic carbohydrates have the lowest sugar content are found in yams, whole grains, vegetables, and most fruits.
  4. Eat 4-6 meals per day for effective blood sugar regulation.
  5. Eat foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as flax oil and walnuts.
  6. Consume good fasts, such as butter, olive oil, olives, sesame oil, walnut oil, raw nuts and seeds, chia seeds, avocados, black currants, borage, and evening primrose oil. Don’t eat fried foods or hydrogenated oils! Use cold-pressed oils.
  7. Eat whole grains, such as brown rice, millet, quinoa, whole wheat, spelt, kamut, amaranth, and oats.
  8. Eat soluble fiber in the form of beans and legumes.
  9. Eliminate from your diet all refined flour products (breads, pasta, etc) sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and soda.
  10. Consume 2-3 servings of fish each week.
  11. Avoid fast food and junk food.

Meal Plan


2 poached eggs                                                               
¼ cup gluten-free oatmeal
Cucumber and tomato salad                                          
¼ cup almonds
Olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette                                
¼ cup raspberries
4 oz organic nut or rice milk


¼ cup trail mix (raw almonds, raw pecans, peach, dried cranberries, unsalted raw sunflower seeds, and raw pumpkin seeds)            
1 Slice of goat cheese


Tuna salad                                                                     
3 oz turkey breast
Large green salad (red leaf, green leaf, green lettuce leaves and romaine lettuce)
Cabbage slaw 
One slice of whole-grain spelt bread                             
2 slices of tomato
1/8 cup brown rice (If not sensitive to gluten grains)  

Place slices of turkey on green lettuce leaf. Add a spoonful of cabbage slaw, tomato, scoop of rice. Fold lettuce. Continue until all turkey is used.


1 medium apple                                                        
A handful of walnuts
Hummus dip       


Turkey chili (black beans)                                                   
Chicken and vegetable stir-fry
Oven-roasted asparagus                                                       
Spinach salad
Baby Asian green salad                                                        
Olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette     

Additional Snacks (Gluten, Dairy, Soy and Egg Free)

  1. Garlic hummus with cut-up vegetables (carrots, celery, zucchini, and cucumbers)
  2. Red pepper hummus with rice crackers
  3. Tuna salad with rice crackers and cut-up vegetables
  4. Almond butter on apple slices
  5. Goat cheese on celery sticks
  6. Trail mix: Combine raw almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, pistachios, dried cranberries, raisins, shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds.
  7. Peanut butter on celery sticks
  8. Vegetable dip: Mix pureed broccoli, parsley, and spinach with goat cheese. Spread on roasted or baked corn chips.
  9. Guacamole: Combine avocado and salsa. Spread on baked corn chips, rice crackers, or cut-up vegetables.
  10. Lettuce wraps: Wrap chicken salad in a leaf of butter lettuce.
  11. Nutty cookies: Mix nuts with cinnamon, ghee (clarified butter), and honey. Spread on wax paper and bake at 350*f for 12-15 minutes. Remove from baking sheet as soon as they come out of the oven and put onto a serving tray to cool.
  12. Goat cheese, cut-up vegetables, and rice crackers
  13. Goat yogurt (plain, 6oz) with fresh blueberries
  14. Fresh fruit smoothie with ClearVite-SF (K24) Add 1 tablespoon of Super EFA Complex (K08) (flax oil) and almonds. Blend if you need more sweetness add 1 teaspoon of xylitol.
  15. Pinto bean dip with cut-up vegetables and rice crackers