It may sound surprising, but certain healthy fats can provide relief from chronic stress that causes adrenal problems, fatigue, and thyroid problems.
If you’re constantly feeling overwhelmed, your adrenal glands are probably working hard to deal with it. Here’s how to spot the telltale signs of high cortisol levels and overworked adrenal glands, along with natural ways to relieve fatigue and reduce stress levels.
11 Symptoms of High Cortisol
Cortisol is the hormone produced by the adrenal glands to help the body deal with stress. It has a positive effect on the body when it acts as nature intended. But what nature didn’t expect is that we would be chronically exposed to stress, kept in a constant ‘fight or flight’ state if our lives aren’t really in danger. As a result, uncontrolled stress gives us consistently high cortisol levels.
When cortisol gets too high and stays high for too long, it produces noticeable symptoms. These include:
- Digestive Problems
- Increased risk of heart disease
- Sleep disturbances and insomnia
- Weight gain and inability to lose weight.
- Concentration and memory problems.
- Reproductive Problems
- Poor thyroid function
While some of these symptoms can be attributed to other factors, our bodies work together to maintain balance in the body. When a single organ starts to produce too much or too little hormone, a trickling effect occurs throughout the body.
Stress hormones in particular can affect the entire body in three main areas: weight, fertility, and thyroid.
Cortisol, especially when it’s high, causes fat storage and disruption of hormones that regulate appetite – it makes you want to eat, even if you’re not technically hungry.
In women, stress can disrupt ovulation and lead to irregular cycles, prevent ovulation or even stop menstruation altogether. If a woman is not ovulating, she cannot get pregnant. Even if you are not trying to conceive, a disrupted period during the childbearing years can lead to other hormonal changes, stress, sleeping problems, and mood problems. For men, research shows that stress can lead to low sperm count and quality problems, leading to lower fertility.
The thyroid and adrenal glands are endocrine organs, meaning they produce hormones. These hormones are so closely related that when one gland breaks, the other is also affected. During stress, thyroid function slows down and produces lower amounts of T3 and T4, the two main thyroid hormones. Stress can also affect the metabolism of thyroid hormone in tissues and cause symptoms similar to hypothyroidism.
Anti-Stress Fats to Calm Adrenal Fatigue
To relieve adrenal fatigue, practice anti-stress methods such as deep breathing, yoga, and therapy. If you drink coffee or alcohol, try to reduce your intake to keep your body from continuing the cycle of overstimulation.
Next, let’s explore a little-known way to help your body deal with chronic stress: Eat more healthy fats. The fats below can be easily incorporated into any diet and also provide nutritional benefits beyond balancing stress.
Grass-fed Butter and Ghee
Creamy grass-fed butter and ghee can help protect the body from the damaging effects of stress, such as inflammation and oxidation.
If you’re sensitive to dairy, go for ghee. But if not, you can mix grass-fed butter and ghee. Serve butter on your vegetables, fry your meat in ghee, pour butter over the fish, and even add ghee to your morning coffee. One tablespoon a day is enough to help your body deal with stress better.
Coconut oil is considered a superfood for its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, and it can also be anti-stress. An animal study has shown that coconut oil contributes to the physical and mental effects of chronic stress. In human research, coconut oil reduced inflammatory markers in the body associated with systemic inflammation.
Add coconut oil to smoothies, mix it with your coffee, use it as a butter substitute in baked sandwiches, or make delicious ketogenic coconut oil fat bombs. Even if you aren’t on a keto diet, these are great stress relievers to keep on hand.
Avocado and Avocado Oil
Avocado is high in fiber, which can have a balanced effect on glucose. Even if you don’t have diabetes, chronic stress can lead to spikes in glucose and low insulin levels (or problems with insulin resistance).
In addition, avocado is high in B vitamins that help control the stress response in the body. Avocado and avocado oil contain monounsaturated fats that can reduce inflammation.
Add slices of avocado to your salads, blend them into smoothies, fry them with a cracked egg in the hole, or use avocado oil in place of other cooking oils.