Cortisol Killers: How to Lower Stress Hormones Naturally
Don't STRESS. I've got a few secrets to help you naturally lower the stress hormone cortisol.
Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after we’ve fought our enemy or flown away from danger.
Thing is, that doesn’t happen too much in our society - stress responses nowadays is a "hold it all in until we finally burst like a firecracker with overwhelm, seven years later." In other terms, it becomes a a long-term, chronic reaction with potentially deadly side effects.
You’ve probably heard of cortisol, the main stress hormone, released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep.
What you might not have known is that increased levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity.
Do you experience any of these symptoms? Well, then read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally!
Foods and nutrients to lower cortisol
Let’s start with one of the biggies that increase your cortisol… sugar. Reducing the sugar we eat and drink can be a great step toward better health for our minds and bodies.
High doses of caffeine also increase your cortisol levels. If coffee makes you feel anxious and jittery, then cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest. Or choose green tea instead, having a lower effect on your cortisol levels
Also, being dehydrated increases cortisol. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially if you feel thirsty. Roughly 8-10 glasses per day.
Eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods; this doesn't just help reduce stress hormone, it helps all aspects of your health.
Lower your cortisol levels with tea and dark chocolate (not the sugary milky kind!). Have a bit to unwind.
Don’t forget your probiotics and prebiotics! There is so much new research about the gut-mind connection, and how taking care of your friendly gut microbes is key! Make sure you’re eating probiotic rich fermented foods and getting a healthy dose of prebiotic fiber.
Lifestyle techniques to lower cortisol
It’s not just food, but there are things you can do with your time that can lower cortisol.
Reduce your stress with mindfulness. Many studies show that reducing stressful thoughts and worry reduces cortisol.
Quality Sleep- Getting adequate sleep is way too underrated. Sleep reduces cortisol levels and also helps improve your overall health in so many ways.
Exercise- Consistency is key when it comes to utilizing fitness to lower your stress. You will feel better about yourself and sleep like a baby.
Relax and have fun. Things like deep breathing, massages, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol.
Be social and bust loneliness. Would you believe me if I told you that science has shown health risks from social isolation and loneliness? It’s true! Maintaining good relationships and spending time with people you like and who support you is key.
Too much of the stress hormone cortisol can have several negative impacts on your health. There are many proven ways to reduce levels of cortisol naturally.
In terms of foods and nutrients, have less sugar and caffeine. And have more water, fruit, tea, dark chocolate, probiotics, and prebiotics.
Lifestyle factors are huge when it comes to cortisol. To lower yours, exercise 2-5 days per week, get 6-9 hours of sleep, relax, and have more fun.
In the comments below, let me know your favorite ways to bust the stress hormone cortisol!
Recipe (High fiber prebiotic): De-Stressing Chocolate Pudding
3 ripe avocados
¼ cup cacao powder (unsweetened)
¼ cup maple syrup
½ tsp vanilla extract
+ dash of Stevia if you like it sweeter
1 dash salt
Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: Try adding a pinch of cinnamon for a deeper flavor.