Cortisol is a stress hormone released by the adrenal glands when you are under intense or chronic stress. High cortisol level can interfere with body functions, leading to poor immunity, low bone density, abdominal weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases. So it is best to reduce cortisol for the sake of your overall health. But how to lower cortisol? Now let's find out.
How to Lower Cortisol
Have a Balanced Nutrition
Get enough nutrition: As for how to lower cortisol, the first thing you should do is maintain a nutritious diet made up of fruits, vegetables and low glycemic foods like eggs. Meanwhile, whole grain products can aid proteins to control the creation of cortisol in the body. It is also best to take foods rich in folic acid and vitamin B5, such as beans, peas, sunflower seeds and the like.
Add more fish oil to your diet: Doctors believed that just 2,000 mg of fish oil per day could reduce cortisol levels. You can get fish oil by taking supplements or eating more fishes like salmon, mackerel, sardines and sea bass.
Avoid caffeine: Another answer to how to lower cortisol is to avoid taking caffeine. Caffeine can lead to a spike in body cortisol levels. You have to avoid drinks that contain caffeine like energy drinks, coffee and sodas.
Get away from processed foods: To reduce cortisol, you have to stay away from processed foods, particularly sugar and carbohydrates because they can increase your cortisol level greatly. Try to avoid processed foods like regular pasta, white bread, chocolates, cakes and candies.
Drink Enough Water
Drinking enough water is essential in lowering cortisol. Study shows that even half-liter dehydration can increase cortisol levels. Dehydration is nasty since it can form a vicious cycle: stress can result to dehydration and on the other hand, dehydration can make your stress worse. So make sure that you drink water throughout the day. Individuals that are not dehydrated have light urine which appears like water. So if urine appears darker, it can be a sign of dehydration.
Try Black Tea
Drink a cup of hot black tea to lower your cortisol level. Scientist have found that drinking black tea is effective in lowering the overall cortisol levels in individuals performing stressful tasks. So, next time when you feel the increase of cortisol and the threats of great pressures, try to sip a cup of hot black tea and relax.
Use Meditation Techniques
Meditation can activate Vagus nerve, triggering the body to reduce the cortisol level. To do this, sit in a quiet dark room and let the mind to meditate. If you need to relax, try to visualize a peaceful place and imagine how the body feels when it is relaxed. Try to recreate the peaceful feeling in your body. Close your eyes and breathe deeply until the heart rate slows down. Note the beating of the heart when you feel relaxed. Visualize that all the tension is coming out of the body through the toes and fingertips. For more tips on how to meditate and how it works, watch the following video:
Laughing more is perhaps the easiest way to lower cortisol. Joyous motion can lessen the creation of cortisol. So you can reduce cortisol level by watching a funny movie, listening to a funny story, talking to a funny friend or recalling some joyous memories.
Do Adaptive Exercises
Exercise is stress buster but not all exercises are effective in reducing cortisol. Avoid running and performing cardio exercises because they can increase the heart rate and the cortisol level. Adaptive exercises like yoga and Pilates can burn calories, strengthen the muscles and reduce cortisol level.
Watch the following video for some yoga exercises to relax yourself and lower your cortisol:
Take Melatonin for Better Sleep
The nighttime cortisol level in people about 50 year old is 30 times higher than that in people about 30 year old. Older people can take melatonin, a hormone produced at night to regulate sleep/wake cycles. It is best to take this medication before going to bed to boost the production of melatonin. If you always wake up at night or very early in the morning, melatonin can help assist you in getting deeper sleep. But if you become sleepy during the day, you can stop taking melatonin for a while.
Take Some Supplements
Get some supplements like B vitamins and minerals like chromium, magnesium, zinc and calcium. Likewise, vitamin C, grape seed extract, alpha lipoic acid and CoQ10 are also helpful. You may also take adaptogen herbs like ginseng, eleuthero, schizandra, Tulsi, ashwaganda and astragalus, these herbs aid the body in coping with the side effects of stress. These herbs and supplements can alleviate your stress, reduce cortisol and strengthen your immune system.