9 Ways To Lower Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is a steroid hormone associated with stress. Cortisol is necessary, but too much of it causes a lot of problems. In this video, I’m going to explain what cortisol is, what causes its secretion and what you can do about excessive levels of it by changing your nutritional choices and environment.
Too much cortisol can cause autoimmune disease, depression and make you feel awful.
Cortisol has many purposes and is a vital hormone, meaning we need it for survival, but today most of us are over-stressed.
1. Increase growth hormone (GH) levels
As you age the opposing hormone called growth hormone goes down. Increasing growth hormone has a lot of benefits, such as muscle growth, the strength of your bones and is also important for general growth around the body. Anything that increases your GH will generally decrease cortisol levels (such as sleep).
Exercise in itself is a stressor, so exercising too much could have the exact opposite effect, but exercising on a regular basis helps to regulate cortisol.
3. Sun exposure/vitamin D
Getting enough vitamin D helps. Enough sun lowers cortisol. Try to get us exposure every single day. In winter consider supplementation.
4. Increase Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Increasing omega-3 fatty acids can help. A deficiency of the fatty acids EPA and DHA found in fish, particularly salmon and also in flax seed, walnuts, grass-fed meats, dairy and supplementation help lower cortisol.
Walking can help with cortisol. Walking is relaxing and therapeutic. Meditation, yoga and/or any sort of mindfulness training (even journalling) can be a great way to manage stress.
6. Eliminating Unhealthy Foods
Eliminate are sugar, trans fats, smoking and anything you know is bad for you. Consuming enough fiber is also key. Focus on balancing your blood sugar levels through the food you eat.
7. Adaptogenic herbs
Adaptogenic herbs can help too and some have evidence backing showing reductions in cortisol. Some examples include ashwagandha, ginseng and rhodiola.
A study showed a relationship between microbiota in poop, serotonin and cortisol levels. Increasing probiotics through food and/or supplementation and prebiotics (soluble fiber) are great ways to help heal your gut.
9. Reduce caffeine intake
Consider reducing your caffeine intake. Yes, coffee has a lot of benefits, such as high amounts of antioxidants, but coffee by itself increases cortisol and so it’s important to reduce your coffee consumption if you’re particularly sensitive to stress.
Fasting can be an option too, but prolonged fasts actually increase cortisol. The flip side is that much like exercise fasting is a good stress (eustress) meaning it helps you develop a sort resilience to stressful situations.