Are you worried about your cortisol levels? Well, cortisol is essential, but having too much of it may be grave. So, if you are thinking of ways to control high cortisol, we are here to help! This blog is going to highlight the natural methods and supplements to reduce cortisol. But before we tell you that, let us check out everything about cortisol!
What is Cortisol?
The stress hormone that your adrenal glands release is known as cortisol. This hormone helps in dealing with stress when your brain tries to respond to several stressful situations.
But the levels of cortisol in your body need to have a balance to avoid any health problems. If your cortisol is high for a long time, you may develop several illnesses.
Over the years, if your cortisol levels are high, you might come in for high blood pressure, low energy levels, diabetes, weight gain, and more. So, before we tell you the ways and supplements to reduce cortisol, let us check out how it affects your health.
High Cortisol Consequences
You will notice studies to conclude that high cortisol levels can lead to several health problems. Some of the consequences of having high levels of cortisol are:
When you get high levels of cortisol over time, you may develop several chronic illnesses. Some of the health problems include osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
High cortisol can lead to weight gain. That is because when the level is high, you tend to eat a lot as your body metabolism shifts and stores fat.
Cortisol helps you in dealing with stressful circumstances. High levels of cortisol can disturb the proper functioning of other hormones. All of which can lead to tiredness and fatigue.
Improper brain functioning
Excessive levels of cortisol can create brain fog or mental cloudiness.
It can also hamper the functioning of your immune system. So, your body is prone to the various pathogens that lead to infections.
In certain conditions, high cortisol levels may cause Cushing’s syndrome. Even though it is a rare illness but it is indeed grave.
Natural Ways to reduce cortisol
Before you consume supplements to reduce cortisol, try out the natural ways to control high cortisol. Several lifestyle changes, relaxation methods, and dietary inclusions can help you.
So, let us check out the natural ways to reduce cortisol:
You can affect the level of cortisol by the quality, timing, and length of your sleep.
A conclusive review of 28 studies said that you would have a high cortisol level if you sleep during the daytime.
So, if you deprive yourself of sleep, you may have high levels of cortisol.
Also, if you have a shift of work that keeps rotating, it may disrupt the usual hormonal pattern. All of which can lead to tiredness and many more health problems.
The high intensity of workout sessions contributes to your cortisol level tremendously. As soon as you finish an intense workout session, your cortisol level increases. But it does decrease at night. So, you can say this is a short-term cortisol increase. This temporary increase helps your body to coordinate and fulfill the challenging situation. But your body starts to have a lesser cortisol level once it gets used to workout sessions.
Before you consume the supplements to reduce cortisol, try out some relaxation practices. All these are proven to be highly beneficial.
You can try out deep breathing that is an easy and convenient practice to reduce stress. Moreover, you can try it out anywhere without putting much effort into setting up a dedicated space.
A study asked twenty-eight middle-aged women to try out deep breathing techniques regularly. It was seen that they reduced their cortisol level by almost 50%.
Apart from deep breathing exercises, you can try massage therapy. You can reduce your cortisol level by almost 30% by massaging yourself regularly.
Also, another significant practice to try out is yoga. It can help in increasing your concentration levels and control your stress levels.
Who does not love music? You can listen to music and treat high cortisol levels.
Only by listening to music for around half an hour, you can reduce cortisol levels marvelously. So, if you think you are stress or anxious, put on your favorite number and be sure to reduce cortisol.
Indulge in Fun activities
You can reduce cortisol levels with medication, but the natural ways are the best way to keep it in control. Try to indulge yourself in fun activities to lower your cortisol levels.
If you have a low level of cortisol, you can keep your immune system strong, have a healthy heart rate, and control blood pressure.
If you keep yourself into activities that keep you happy such as laughter sessions, you will see a significant cortisol reduction.
You can also try out some hobbies, like painting, dancing, singing, gardening, reading, and more to keep yourself happy. It also helps you concentrate on the workplace, yet giving you a feeling of well-being.
Both outdoor and indoor activities can help to reduce cortisol. However, you will notice studies to show outdoor activities to be more effective.
Maintain Cordial Relationships
Don’t you feel a sense of happiness around your family and friends? Don’t those get-togethers excite you? So, be around your family, friends, and neighbors to keep yourself happy and content.
The sense of happiness you get when you are around your family members and friends is because of the cortisol levels. It gets into your hair in small amounts.
The cortisol test is done by testing the strands of your hair. Yes! You will find numerous studies that detect cortisol levels by testing hair strands.
A study done on children showed that cortisol levels were low in children coming from a stable and warm family. On the other hand, children who came from homes with conflicts had high cortisol.
When you have a conflict with your partner, you get a short-term raise of cortisol that comes back to normal. Also, studies say that if you get empathy from other people, your cortisol levels may fall.
Affection and support from anyone you love can help you reduce stress and anxiety. All of which can help you reduce cortisol. So, before you start consuming supplements to reduce cortisol, keep yourself away from conflicts.
Look after a pet
You can reduce your cortisol levels by coming in contact with animal companions.
A study was done on children to reduce stress levels during a medical procedure. It was seen that the levels of cortisol decreased miraculously by coming in contact with a therapy dog.
More so, you will notice that dogs can reduce cortisol better than any friend during a stressful circumstance.
Several studies were done on non-pet-owners and pet owners. Out of which it was pet owners had a low cortisol level than the non-pet-owners. Moreover, when they were given pets, the non-pet-owners had a significant fall in cortisol.
Surprisingly, you will find the same effect in pets too. So, both you and your pet can benefit each other to reduce cortisol when you stay together.
Be at Your Best
Try to keep yourself away from guilt, inadequacy, and shame. Any negative thought may increase cortisol.
A study was conducted on two groups of people. Some people participated in identifying and coping up with their negative feelings while another group did not. It was seen that the group that participated in the program had a decrease of cortisol level by 23%.
Once you do the cortisol test and find out it is high, try fixing all the sources before consuming supplements to reduce cortisol. You should analyze and find the sources of your guilt or shame. Then, try to forgive yourself and improve the way of living. Holding onto things will slowly give you all the high cortisol levels of symptoms that can lead to serious health problems.
If you are unable to console yourself, then you can try taking help from a counselor. Counseling is a great way to overcome any internal conflicts. Ego, self-shaming, and guilt are the triggers of cortisol.
Incline towards your spiritual self
Are you spiritual? If you have faith in spirituality, then incline yourself towards it to reduce cortisol.
Several studies show that you can keep your cortisol levels low by increasing your spiritual faith. More so, you can combat chronic illnesses by your faith.
You can pray to vent out sorrows, depression, and anxiety. It helps in coping up with your sad self and overcoming high cortisol levels.
If you are not a spiritual person, don’t worry! You can try out meditation and indulge in groups that help in social support to reduce cortisol.
Consume Nutritious Foods
You will find several foods that cause cortisol. So, you should choose your foods wisely to avoid high cortisol.
Sugar is among the foods that increase your cortisol levels. So, you need to control your sugar intake to avoid any unusual cortisol increase.
Consuming a lot of sugar can contribute to your body weight. So, by controlling your sugar intake, you can lower cortisol levels and lose weight simultaneously.
Surprisingly, you can have a low level of stress if you have a controlled sugar intake.
Taking both these facts into consideration, now you know why ice-cream gives you such a lot of joy, temporarily. So, it is essential to control your sweet intake to avoid cortisol’s adverse effects over the years.
Foods that Reduce Cortisol
Apart from considering the foods that increase cortisol, some food items can also benefit from controlling cortisol. Which are:
There were two studies conducted on 95 adults. They were all given dark chocolate and saw a significant low cortisol response to a stressful circumstance.
You can eat pears and bananas to reduce your cortisol levels. Studies show that both are great for keeping cortisol in control.
Green and Black tea
Studies show that both green and black tea are great for reducing cortisol. But it would help if you consumed them in controlled amounts. That is because caffeine can lead to insomnia.
Prebiotics and Probiotics
Bacteria is suitable for your gut. You can consume foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and yogurt to get probiotics. Also, prebiotics, like soluble fiber, works well for your cortisol reduction.
Dehydration can increase cortisol by large amounts. So, drink water as it is the best source for hydrating yourself without consuming calories.
Supplements to Reduce Cortisol
Once you incorporate all the natural ways into your regime, you can try consuming some supplements to reduce cortisol.
Several studies show that some supplements have promising effects to control high cortisol levels.
Check out the following supplements to reduce cortisol:
Fish oil can supply you with many omega-3 fatty acids to keep your cortisol level in control.
Studies show that consuming fish oil supplements can significantly help in lowering cortisol.
Fish oil supplements prove to be better than many other over-the-counter medicines as per many studies.
An Asian supplement is the ashwagandha. It is excellent to keep your stress levels in control that can further help in reducing cortisol.
Several studies show that by consuming ashwagandha, you can control cortisol marvelously. But always consult a doctor to know the correct dosage of ashwagandha.
It is always best to keep away from consuming any supplements. You can try incorporating natural ways to reduce cortisol.
But if you find yourself getting worse symptoms, consult a doctor at the earliest. He/she will perform the cortisol test and prescribe you the supplements to reduce cortisol.
However, once you are on supplements, you can still incorporate the natural ways to boost the cortisol reduction process.