A Simple Guide to Eating on the Adrenal Fatigue Diet?

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH

Eating on an Adrenal Fatigue DietNutrition is especially important for sufferers of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, but following an adrenal fatigue diet may be confusing for some. The body is often so stressed and bent out of shape that inadequate nutrition can actually hurt the body and make the road to recovery longer. Making sure the body gets proper nutrition starts with the right diet. Every body is different, and the right diet must be specifically tailored for each person. Here are some general best practices to help the body recover.

The ideal adrenal fatigue diet for health should consist of frequent small meals and snacks. This kind of diet keeps energy levels consistent and causes the least stress on the body, which can affect the health of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome sufferers. The first meal should be before 10 am to replenish the waning glycogen supply upon waking, and a nutritious bedtime snack of soaked raw nuts can provide a more peaceful sleep. Meals and snacks should be balanced, combining whole grains, proteins and fats. 6-8 servings of a wide variety of bright colored vegetables should be eaten each day.

Whole, unrefined grains should be eaten in moderation with other foods. It is best to avoid any genetically modified wheat, corn, and soy products

Adrenal Fatigue Diet and MeatMeat, fish, eggs, fowl and dairy, free of hormones and antibiotics, are a healthy combination of both fats and proteins. Soaking raw nuts also provides a good source of essential fatty acids for a bedtime snack. Monounsaturated oils should be used for low heat cooking, and 1-2 tablespoons of oil should be mixed into grains, vegetables and meats throughout the day. While most health conscious experts advocate a diet high in vegetables that is biased towards an alkaline body (high pH), those in adrenal fatigue may need more meat and protein and indeed do better with a slightly more acidic body (low pH).

Eating different brightly colored vegetables provides a greater array of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. Sprouts and sea vegetables are an especially concentrated source of high quality nutrients. Soups and broths are valuable when the body is weak. Foods with high amounts of sugar can cause spikes and drops in blood sugar, and are to be avoided. These include dried fruits and fruit juice, soft drinks, and foods with honey, sugar, high fructose corn syrup or syrup. Pastas, white rice, breads, pastries, and other baked goods contain refined flour and also should not be eaten.

Common Pitfalls of the Adrenal Fatigue Diet

Poor choices for the adrenal fatigue diet include bananas, dried figs, raisins, dates, oranges, cantaloupe and melons are also high in potassium, which often makes Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome worse.

Trans-fats, also known as hydrogenated oils, are another bad influence on the body and are to be avoided. Once common in many junk foods and fast foods, greater awareness of the health risks of trans-fats have led to a decline in their use. Deep frying and browning foods can make them taste better, but can also make them less digestible and even harmful to your health. The extra stress from these kinds of foods should be avoided, especially for sufferers of Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.

Two other considerations include fruit intake, which should be limited to around 3 servings a day; and polyunsaturated fats such as corn, safflower, sunflower, and peanut oil, contain essential fatty acids and can be mixed with foods, but should never be used to cook.

Lastly avoid beverages that can congest the liver or stimulate your body. These drinks include alcohol, caffeinated beverages, coffee and energy drinks. One of the most frequently overlooked mistake in adrenal recovery is not drinking enough fluids. Most AFS sufferers are in a subclinical state of dehydration. During adrenal fatigue, the body’s ability to retain salt is reduced. Net loss of body fluid is the natural consequence if fluid replacement ( often with a bit of salt and lemon ) is not aggressively replenished.

Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome affects the entire body; a proper adrenal fatigue diet with optimum nutrition starting with the right diet personalized and designed to fit the proper metabolic type of the sufferer, is key to keeping the body healthy on the road to recovery.

Having a good nutritional baseline is not only essential for fighting off adrenal fatigue syndrome but it also plays a role in keeping the balance within our body, the maintenance of homeostasis. This is important because disrupting this balance will deregulate the neuroendometabolic (NEM) stress response structure that plays a holistic role in preserving the body’s natural ability to cope with stress. When the NEM’s stress response is weighed down, symptoms will appear in the form of fatigue, supplement intolerance, lowered libido, weight gain, and sleep disturbances cardiac arrhythmia, irritable bowel disease and a compromised immune system. It is evident that our dietary habits need to be well managed in order for a properly running biological system to ward off potentially harmful conditions.

© Copyright 2015 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Dr. Lam’s Key Question

Each kind of berries has their health benefits. Even though goji berries have been recently promoted to have many health benefits. Remember that a balanced lifestyle, a good clean diet, proper exercise, eat in moderation are more important.

Adrenal fatigue diet

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Thank You & God Bless You For Your Compassion, Patience, & Time & Un-Selfishness! You Are A Very Caring & Loving Person ! Such An Excellent Doctor! There Are A Lot Of Doctors Could Learn True Integrity By Your Fine Example ! For You To Unselfishly Take / Make Time For People That Aren't Even Your Patients !


  • Matt says:

    Would you recommend staying away from avocados since they are high in potassium? They actually have more potassium than any other fruit.

  • Margretha says:

    Thank you for this great article. Is adding Himalayan sea salt to the water a good thing to do?

  • Ellen says:

    Thank you for finding the time to write all of your wonderful articles

  • WomanLate30s says:

    Thanks. This seemed very helpful. Really appreciate it.
    Do you have any suggestions for what I can read to deal with excessive burping/gas?
    I had my appendix removed 20 years ago in teens. This symptom has only started recently but I’ve had the exhausted after a meal quite often on-off over the years (many of exhausting work & travel), but often when barely eating any carbs. I have lemon pretty often but not every meal, and barely any other sweet drinks. Haven’t yet been able to last off coffee yet. Without it am total brain fog sat at PC. Your advice somewhere else re computer great. Sometimes I can have lots of energy but sit at PC and it all dissipates and arms ache, just need to sleep, can literally go down and sleep an hour or a few. Just feel drained by it, but like many my work is still on computer. So thanks if anything you can think I can read about this stomach problem (burping-excessively in past year, occasional bloating) and adrenal issues. I also have a family history of B12 deficiency, and have happier days when I take food based vitamin B supplements. Other issues seem thyroid related: cold hands unless I take chinese red dates or niacin-so cold I can’t type and keep rubbing them. Lately put on a bit of weight. Very sensitive to temperature: hot and sweaty or chattering teeth cold if step outside not super wrapped up. Thank you so much.

  • Kathryn says:

    In my earlier post, I mentioned that I’d had CFS with a viral relapsing problem, but I caught a common cold virus that I’d gotten from a roommate and everyone got over it but me. My immune system was depleted due to the over-prescribing of antibiotics as well as drinking alcohol and eating sweets when I was a young woman. My naturopath told me the results of my saliva test for Adrenal Fatigue showed my immune system was very low, the result of gut dyspbiosis and low probiotic intake, and my adrenals became worse much later when I tried to drink alcohol and, even though I was on sugarless, fruitless diet to control candida and leaky gut, alcohol really lowered my immune system again and, even though I recovered from the resulting CFS with huge doses of probiotics, my adrenals took a serious hit and have never returned to normal even though I take the right supplements and am on a very healthy diet. I believe that the connection between CFS and Adrenal Fatigue should be reinforced in your article and a fruit bowl isn’t a good way to advertise an anti-candida diet to people with this terrible problem. Otherwise, I’m really happy with the article and everything you wrote. Thank you!

    • Newsletter says:

      For those that have what you have, your advise is certainly important. Thank you for the reminder to those that have a combination of AFS, CF, and candida.

      Dr Lam

  • Laura says:

    Thank you so much for writing these articles. I live in Michigan and have been to an end and pulmonary doctor. I finally got genetic tests done on my own. I am Celiac DQ2 & DQ8 positive. I seem to have histamine issues also. My adrenals seem to get fatigued if I eat something high in histamine or gluten. I am learning more every day.

    • Newsletter says:

      You are welcome. Histamine is a very common problem and often overlooked. When you are in Adrenal faitgue, the body is slowing down. Metabolic byproducts increases, leading to inflammation. Histamine overtone is almost inevitable. Learn to control histamine will be a great step forward in your adrenal recovery. Read Histamine & Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome for more information. Also try to avoid corn, wheat, diary, and gluten if you have histamine issues.

      Dr Lam

  • Anna says:

    Vegans can still recover from adrenal fatigue. Combing grains with soaked nuts and seeds and then adding soaked and or sprouted beans along with all of the other dietary recommendations can be very effective. Of course the other lifestyle recommendations have to be considered. This can be intelligently done.

  • MaryEllen Seehafer says:

    At the very beginning of the article you state that “1-2 tablespoons of essential oils should be mixed into grains”, surely you don’t mean that?! Essential oils are used in drops, not tablespoons, and using them orally isn’t always the best practice and even then the oils usually go into a capsule and are diluted. Can you explain what ypu meant?

    • Newsletter says:

      Thanks for pointing out the typo. The word “essential” should be deleted. Some essential oil are ediable, but certainly the vast majority are not.

      Dr Lam

  • Kathryn says:

    Dear Dr. Lam,
    Thank you for the great article! One footnote that I can add is that I believe a large number of people who suffer from Adrenal Fatigue were also suffering from a combination of CFS and gut dysbiosis, which resulted in such a significantly lowered immune system and relapsing viral illness. It important to make sure nobody with a severe infection of candida or susceptibility to reoccurance of fungus tries to eat simple carbohydrates like honey, sweet fruit and juice because it only feeds the yeast and won’t help recovery in the gut where so much immunity lives. It’s been my experience that, after a severely restricted diet including lots of protein, vegetables, and limited intake of caffeine, I’ve been able to improve everything contributing to a profound state of adrenal fatigue over time and feel better. Thank you again for the article, it’s important stuff!

  • next to last paragraph, last sentence. Shouldn’t that read at the end

    …if fluid replacement…is NOT aggressively replenished?

    I suffer severe dehydration even with 80 oz of water a day. I weigh 168 lbs.

    • Newsletter says:

      Thanks for pointing out the obvious error. if you are replenishing fluid, make sure the osmolality is balanced. Too much water alone can lead to a condition known as dilutional hyponatremia which can cause lethargy. There are other conditions aside from AFS that can present with fluid loss also, including diabetes insipidous. Do check with your doctor.

      Dr Lam

  • I wish to thank Dr. Lam very much from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful article and helping nature of his on behalf of our brethren who are suffering from AFS.

    Thanks once again and best wishes to you and your team.

    Warm wishes,

    Walter Dsouza INDIA

  • Sheila beckett says:

    Thank you so much…your advice is so useful in this drawn out recovery