Stress has become a common companion for a large part of the world’s population. Indeed, many are looking for natural ways to lower the stress hormone cortisol, as excessive amounts in the body lead to harmful consequences. In this article, we share three recommendations to help you lower your body’s cortisol levels.
Many products (pharmaceuticals, in-store products) are claimed to lower cortisol, but there is no scientific evidence to support them. The best way to prevent stress is to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands that is responsible for preparing the body for dangerous or threatening situations. It is part of the human instinct for survival, that is, it has a positive effect in principle.
Thanks to this substance, we become active and can focus both physically and mentally on our daily tasks. It helps us adapt to change and contributes to the regulation of blood pressure and adrenaline levels. In addition, it promotes digestion and insulin control and is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
So, as you can see, the problem is not the hormone itself, but its long-lasting hypersecretion. This is what stress causes; it is a constant anxiety that has many detrimental effects on our bodies.
So how do we keep cortisol in check? How can cortisol levels be lowered?
How to lower cortisol levels? Three recommendations
We would now like to share three recommendations to help you lower your cortisol levels. They are based on healthy everyday habits and cost nothing. All you have to do is hone your organizational skills a little. These are the most natural ways to reduce the harmful effects of cortisol hormone in the body.
See what these recommendations are!
1. Eat healthy and balanced
Diet is one of the most convenient ways to lower cortisol. Just as some foods increase nervousness and stress, some have the exact opposite effect.
The most common recommendations are:
- First, stop completely or at least minimize caffeine consumption. Caffeine raises cortisol levels. Note that it is not only found in coffee but also in tea and cocoa.
- Second, avoid sugar and processed carbohydrates. There is scientific evidence that these products are associated with a number of mental disorders.
- Maintain fluid balance. Dehydration increases stress in the body and thus raises cortisol levels.
- Eat foods high in phenylalanine. Phenylalanine is found in a wide variety of protein foods, such as red meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, and some whole grain products. They increase dopamine production, which reduces cravings for sugar and carbohydrates.
- Finally, eat more other healthy foods rich in vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids. Ask your doctor how to properly use artificial supplements.
2. Sleep, relaxation and exercise are ways to lower cortisol levels
Exercise and sleep can lower cortisol levels. A healthy lifestyle requires a proper balance between exercise and rest. The recommendations in this regard are therefore straightforward and are largely based on common sense:
- Follow healthy sleep hygiene. Poor sleep has a detrimental effect on physical and mental health, and an increase in cortisol levels is one of these effects.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise secretes dopamine and serotonin into the brain, which lowers cortisol levels. A daily half-hour walk is enough.
- Do relaxation exercises. These are a great way to lower your stress levels. You should try deep breathing, tai chi and transcendental meditation, for example.
3. Organize your time and control your mind
You may not have known this, but one of the biggest causes of stress is poor organization. Ideally, you should be able to do all the chores of the day and you still have enough time for rest breaks and a good night’s sleep.
Poor relationships are another common source of stress. Repeated quarrels or constant friction cause tension that lowers the mood. For this reason, you should always try to find ways to solve such problems. At least take a distance from them if you can’t solve them – that’s enough.
Sometimes there is no definable cause for stress. It may appear in seemingly minor or insignificant problems. In that case, its cause may lie deeper and come from experiences that have gone unaddressed. The best course of action in this case is to seek psychological help.
Stress is not healthy
Elevated cortisol levels can profoundly impair quality of life as it adversely affects sleep, mood, and performance. For this reason, it is important to strive to lower it, and the best way to do this is by adopting healthy eating and everyday habits.
Also try to implement the recommendations we have given above. Start gradually so you don’t get frustrated with too high expectations that you may not be able to meet. Keep in mind that every small step means and brings you closer to balance.