High cortisol may be the reason behind your bad mood and low energy levels. Cortisol is regarded as the “stress hormone” as it is released in the body as a response to stress or danger.
While cortisol serves an essential function in our bodies, excessive amounts can adversely affect our health. Lowering your cortisol levels is necessary for maintaining a healthy mind and body, so finding effective ways is essential.
Prolonged exposure to stressful situations regularly may leave your cortisol levels soaring. There are natural remedies that can help you deal with this. Here, we discuss five natural methods to reduce your cortisol levels.
5 Natural Ways To Lower Your Cortisol Levels
To naturally reduce cortisol, it’s essential to incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine. Here are five practical ways to lower your cortisol levels:
A well-balanced diet complete with nutritious foods is vital to support hormone regulation. What you put into your body matters when lowering cortisol levels. Choose whole foods high in nutrients and low in processed ingredients. Include plenty of lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables.
Magnesium plays a crucial role in reducing cortisol levels and promoting relaxation. You can increase your magnesium portions by eating leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Vitamin C might also play a role in lowering cortisol levels during stressful situations. It does not reduce cortisol directly but works in synergy with cortisol to combat stressful situations. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, kiwi, and strawberries are rich sources of Vitamin C.
Avoiding excessive caffeine and refined sugars is also important for balancing cortisol levels. While caffeine may provide a temporary energy boost, it can also stimulate the release of cortisol. You could opt for herbal teas or water infused with fresh fruits instead of relying on coffee or energy drinks to get through the day.
Drinking enough water throughout the day improves hormonal balance. It is required for several bodily functions to take place.
Care for your gut microbiome
Chronic stress can disturb the balance of bacteria in the gut and increase cortisol levels. Taking care of your gut health becomes vital for reducing cortisol levels, as the gut and brain are closely connected through what is known as the gut-brain axis. A healthy gut microbiome may promote the production of chemical messengers such as serotonin, which helps regulate mood and stress.
To care for your gut microbiome, eat foods that promote good bacteria growth. Fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi are rich in probiotics that support a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut. Foods rich in fiber content, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, can also help nourish the beneficial bacteria.
A regular exercise routine is a great tool that can help you combat rising stress levels. When it comes to lowering cortisol levels, exercise plays a crucial role. Here are some ways exercise can help:
- Increase endorphins: Physical activity releases feel-good chemicals in the brain called endorphins. These natural mood enhancers can help reduce stress and anxiety, lowering cortisol levels.
- Improve sleep quality: Regular exercise promotes better sleep by regulating circadian rhythms and reducing insomnia symptoms. A good night’s sleep is required to maintain healthy cortisol levels.
- Enhance immune function: Exercise strengthens the immune system, making it more resilient to stressors. By boosting immunity, you can minimize the impact of cortisol on your body.
- Promote weight management: Regular physical activity helps manage weight by burning calories and increasing metabolism. Maintaining a healthy weight is vital for optimal hormonal balance.
Make sure you prioritize getting enough restorative sleep to keep your hormone levels in check and maintain a healthy equilibrium. When you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol levels may rise, which could cause stress and anxiety.
To ensure quality sleep, create a relaxing bedtime routine that allows you to unwind before bed-
- Watching TV or using electronic devices for long hours right before sleeping can interfere with melatonin production—the hormone responsible for regulating sleep-wake cycles.
- Create a comfortable environment by keeping your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet.
- Consider using an eye mask if you have trouble sleeping in complete darkness.
Lowering cortisol levels requires making conscious choices that prioritize our well-being and freedom. Here are a few ways to achieve this-
- Prioritize self-care: Take time daily to engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Whether reading a book, playing your favorite instrument, or practicing mindfulness, make self-care a non-negotiable part of your routine. By nourishing yourself, you allow your body and mind to rejuvenate.
- Practice stress management techniques: Find healthy outlets for stress relief, such as exercise, Yoga, or meditation. These practices help reduce cortisol levels and provide mental clarity.
- Foster positive relationships: Surround yourself with people who uplift and support you. Cultivate friendships that are based on trust, love, and respect. Positive social connections are less stressful and improve our emotional well-being.
- Simplify your life: Embrace the concept of minimalism by decluttering physically and mentally. Let go of unnecessary possessions, commitments, or toxic relationships that weigh you down.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can cortisol levels be lowered through medication or supplements?
Yes, cortisol levels can be managed through herbs and natural supplements like Ashwagandha, fish oil, and bacopa monnieri (Brahmi), which may be helpful in stress management. However, consulting a healthcare professional before starting any medication or supplement is advisable.
- What are some common symptoms of high cortisol levels?
Persistent fatigue, weight gain, hypertension, diabetes, and muscle weakness are common symptoms of elevated cortisol levels. Most people usually experience high irritability and difficulty concentrating. Acne breakouts may also be a response to elevated cortisol levels.
- How long does it typically take to see a decrease in cortisol levels after implementing natural methods?
Cortisol levels have been found to reduce fractionally just after engaging in relaxing activities, like art therapy. However, to feel noticeable and permanent changes, you must adhere to a routine involving self-care, a healthy diet, and enough sleep.
- Are there any specific foods or drinks that can increase cortisol levels?
Processed foods, added sugars, caffeine, and consumption of alcohol over time might lead to increased cortisol levels. Caffeine, being a stimulant, increases activity and provides an energy boost, but it may also increase cortisol levels in the body.
- Can stress management techniques like meditation or yoga help lower cortisol levels?
Yes, Yoga can improve balance and blood flow to the body parts. Meditation may also help in enhancing stress management by providing a calming effect.
Cortisol performs many essential bodily functions, but its high levels can lead to various health problems, as mentioned.
Stress has become a part of our daily lives, which exposes us to this problem. Therefore, including stress-busting activities and foods in our routine has become important.
Experiment with different activities until you find the ones that bring you peace and joy. You must patiently and consistently follow these natural remedies to see a substantial impact.
Rachel has been a freelance medical writer for more than 18 years. She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville in 2005 and is currently practicing as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at a Level I trauma center.