Cortisol is known as a stress hormone due to the fact that it is one of the main hormones we release when we are under physical or mental stress it is essentially what helps to kick in the ‘fight or flight response’.
Cortisol is essential for our survival but when cortisol levels get too high that is when we start to have problems.
If you notice any of the following symptoms then your cortisol levels may be too high, and you should look at ways to lower your cortisol;
Symptoms Of High Cortisol Levels
#Weakened immune system.
#You’re gaining weight, mostly around your abdomen, even when you are eating well and regularly exercising.
#You’re not sleeping well.
#Even when you sleep well, you’re still tired.
#You experience headaches and backaches.
#You experience cravings for junk foods.
#Depression and anxiety.
#Your stomach plays up – constipation, cramps or diarrhea.
Five Ways To Lower Your Cortisol Naturally
There was a study done by harvard medical school showing that regular exercise of 30 – 60 mins a day depending on the intensity can help balance hormone levels as well as regulating metabolic functions and helping you sleep better. (1).
Also exercise will make your body produce more testosterone naturally, when you have higher levels of testosterone it lowers your cortisol levels.
However if you train too hard for too long then your body will raise it’s cortisol levels which will also lower testosterone levels. If you are doing high intensity training such as weight training then try not to train for longer than an hour.
Good Quality Sleep
Getting not just enough sleep but deep restful sleep helps your body manage your cortisol levels. As discussed above regular exercise will help you to get a good quality sleep.
You should aim for 7 – 9 hours of sleep each night depending on activity levels and the quality of sleep, if you are having trouble getting a good nights sleep the try these tips to improve your sleep quality.
Manage Your Stress
If you are feeling anxious or worried all the time you need to analyze your life style and see what it is that is causing all the stress.
Either eliminate or reduce what is causing all the worry or you can work on ways to deal with stress more efficiently such as meditation.
A Clean Well Balanced Diet
A healthy diet consisting of as much fresh organic wholefoods as possible and as little processed foods is an effective treatment and prevention for just about any health problem.
Your stomach actually produces more seratonin than your brain. Seratonin is a hormone that promotes feelings of well being, so messing with your gut health via disrupting healthy gut flora.
Eating wholefoods will provide prebiotics for beneficial bacteria to feed on.
Eating GMO’s that have been sprayed with glyphosate kill of friendly bacteria. So organic food that is minimally processed is what you want to be eating.
Thanks to modern agriculture our food is not as nutritious as it once was meaning many people are deficient in micro nutrients which leads to poor sleep, anxiety, weakened immune system just to name a few.
Here is a study showing that high amounts of vitamin C and decent amounts of other vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) can help lower cortisol levels. You can do this by taking vitamin tablets or naturally from foods, naturally results in better absorption.
Some foods work better than others to manage cortisol levels, check out this list.
Drinking adequate amounts of water can also have beneficial effects on cortisol levels.
Green teas also help in reducing cortisol levels.
Medicinal Herbs And Superfoods That Lower Cortisol
There are many herbs and superfoods that work to naturally lower your cortisol levels.
Ginseng is a powerful herb with many health benefits, the best form of ginseng to use is called panax ginseng.
Licorice root has multiple health benefits however use this with proffessional guidance as can effect blood pressure.
Ashwgandha has been used for thousands of years in eastern medicine to treat all sorts of ailments.
Holy basil is an Indian herb that is normally made into a tea.
Cordycep mushrooms are mushrooms with high antioxidant properties.
Astragalus root is used in chinese medicine to boost immunity and manage stress.