Posted By: CustomVite Nutrition Team Date: October 11, 2017 Comments: 0
Known as the “stress hormone” , cortisol is a type of steroid hormone produced in the body by the adrenal glands and is released in response to fear or stress (even the stress of waking up). Although necessary to help regulate blood pressure and the immune system during a sudden crisis, some experts worry that our bodies are constantly releasing cortisol due to our fast-paced and stressed-out lives. When cortisol is consistently high, weight gain and increased abdominal fat can result, which is associated with health problems such as metabolic syndrome, elevated cholesterol, heart attack, and stroke. Lowered immunity, blood sugar abnormalities, fertility problems, insomnia, chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disease, dementia, impaired memory, and depression have also been linked to elevated cortisol levels.
Thankfully, you can make some simple diet and lifestyle choices that will help reduce stress and lower your cortisol levels. Below are 5 tips for reducing your cortisol levels everyday:
- Regular Physical Activity: Any aerobic activity, like walking, jogging, swimming, biking, and riding the elliptical are great ways to lower cortisol levels. Just 20-30 minutes of activity most days of the week can help to lower cortisol on a daily basis as well as in the long run.
- Diet: Eat a varied diet high in fiber and avoid foods that contribute to inflammation, which causes elevated cortisol levels, such as high glycemic index foods (like white pasta or corn), saturated fat and trans-fat, caffeine, and alcohol.
- Sleep: Not getting enough sleep can significantly increase cortisol levels. Aim for 7-8 hours a night to help your body recover from daily stresses.
- Manage Stress: Meditation, massage therapy, listening to music, laughter, and connecting with family or friends can help reduce anxiety and lower cortisol levels. Even stopping to take a few deep breaths will help to slow your heart rate, lower blood pressure and decrease cortisol.
- Supplement: A good multivitamin including B vitamins, and vitamins C and D will help combat stress and ensure you’re meeting all your micronutrient needs. Supplements such as turmeric, fish oil and probiotics can help combat inflammation (which as noted above, causes elevated cortisol levels). Herbs such as ginseng, ashwaghanda, cordyceps and rhodiola can also help your body adapt to stress and promote a more balanced level of cortisol in the body.
With the above diet and lifestyle tips, you can help keep the “stress hormone” in check and avoid cortisol from wreaking havoc on your body and health.
(1) Bergland, C. (2013, January 22). Cortisol: Why “The Stress Hormone” Is Public Enemy No. 1. Retrieved October 05, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1
(2) Boyles, S. (2010, September 09). Stress Hormone Predicts Heart Death. Retrieved October 05, 2017, from https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20100909/stress-hormone-pr
(3) Cortisol – Its Role in Stress, Inflammation, and Indications for Diet Therapy. (n.d.). Retrieved October 05, 2017, from http://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml