How to lower cortisol: 8 natural remedies to reduce the stress hormone
To understand how to lower cortisol we must first investigate what it is. It is a hormone or an important substance for the human organism, but which in some cases can even be lethal.
Cortisol is also known as a stress hormone, as it is essential to keep stress and fatigue at bay. Before talking about it together, we suggest a video where you can find some remedies for everyday fatigue.
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and synthesized by the hormone ACTH (Adreno Cortico Tropic Hormone), which is produced by the pituitary gland. Its role in the organism is fundamental because it is linked to the correct functionality of many of our body's activities, as long as it remains at normal levels.
Here are its main functions:
- monitors blood sugar levels
- keeps blood pressure low
- regulates the activity of the heart and blood vessels by exercising careful control over the production of red and white blood cells
- counteracts any substances formed during inflammatory processes.
In addition to all this, cortisol is able to produce energy by intervening on the flow of sugars.
The release of this hormone also allows a lower perception of pain and stimulates the central nervous system to make quick decisions, without being paralyzed by anxiety, favoring greater concentration.
In short, the stress hormone acts as a real lifesaver, as long as it remains within controlled limits: a deficiency or an excessive presence of it could in fact be very harmful.
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What happens when cortisol is too high or too low?
In cases of an excessive increase in cortisol, the damage it can create mainly concerns the organism's imbalances.
An overproduction of this hormone, mainly caused by chronic stress, causes high blood sugar levels that promote insulin resistance, that is, the poor sensitivity of cells to the absorption of glucose which therefore remains in the blood.
It is good to know that there is a correlation between insulin and cortisol: after a meal rich in carbohydrates, in fact, the pancreas secretes insulin to eliminate glucose from the blood; this action generates a glycemic drop and the immediate activation of the hormone. stress that brings glucose back to the right level.
Conversely, a cortisol deficiency can lead not only to fatigue, weakness, muscle aches, but also headache, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite and consequently anorexia, amenorrhea and even infertility and depression.
How to lower cortisol: harm to the human body
Having high levels of cortisol could interfere with the functioning of the whole organism, in particular here is what we can observe:
- sleep disorders
- water retention
- loss of muscle mass and bone density
- weight gain
- increased blood pressure
- increased cholesterol
- decreased thyroid function
- learning and memory disorders
- lowering of the functions of the immune system
- irritability, anxiety and chronic fatigue.
Other disorders may also include fragility of the skin and capillaries, acne, osteoporosis, amenorrhea or an irregular menstrual cycle.
To understand if your blood cortisol levels are too high, just do a simple blood or urine test.
The causes of the increase in cortisol
One of the main causes of the "increased cortisol is an" increased production of ACTH, the hormone that stimulates the adrenal gland to produce more cortisol than normal. But why does this happen?
It may be due to a dysfunction of the thyroid gland, to stress, to the intake of cortisone-based products. Another cause is obesity and finally also the problems of hypertension.
What is the link between stress and elevated cortisol?
We have already seen that cortisol is released in response to fear or stress by the adrenal glands: the body is mobilized and made ready for action, but it is important that there is also a physical release, otherwise the cortisol levels increase in the blood leading to an upheaval in the mind and body. Cortisol will return to normal levels when the situation that caused it to rise is resolved.
How to lower cortisol? Here are 8 natural remedies
1. Focus on good food
Food is a valuable ally to lower cortisol in the blood. Here are 5 rules to follow in order not to make mistakes.
- Eat every 3 hours to avoid glycemic imbalances.
- Focus on low glycemic index carbohydrates to counteract the excessive release of insulin.
- Never skip breakfast because food deprivation leads to hypoglycemia. As the first meal of the day, the ideal is to choose carbohydrates since after an overnight fast the body must restore the blood sugar levels that drop during the night.
- Prefer fresh fruits and vegetables, essential because they fight free radicals and can damage cells, triggering an "inflammation which, in turn, causes the release of cortisol.
- Eat fish rich in Omega 3 and 6 at least a couple of times a week.
- Avoid foods rich in sugar because they have a high glycemic index.
2. Do constant physical activity
An "alternative to lower cortisol is to do physical activity constantly avoiding a sedentary lifestyle in all ways. It will be important to choose the right sport for us, practicing it in moderation. There is no need to become competitive athletes, activities such as yoga or pilates. they will be fine.
3. Ensure the right hours of sleep
Trying to sleep at least 7/8 hours every night is important to ensure the right balance of the body.
Creating a routine, avoiding a lifestyle that is too unregulated, regaining the right sleep-wake rhythm, will help keep cortisol levels within the normal range.
4. Drink a lot
Those suffering from stress hormone syndrome should make sure to drink at least 2 liters of water a day, so as to eliminate harmful toxins more quickly. In all these cases it is best to avoid the consumption of exciting drinks, such as coffee. , drugs and alcohol.
5. Try relaxation techniques
Dedicating some of your time to meditation reduces anxiety and cortisol levels. Even simple breathing exercises can help bring the stress hormone back to normal by helping to slow heart rate and lower blood pressure.
It may seem strange but it is true: we know that laughing is good, but from today we also know that laughing reduces high levels of cortisol. It takes 10 minutes to restore normal blood levels.
7. Listen to music
To lower blood cortisol levels, another trick is to listen to music. Nothing could be simpler and more relaxing: just choose your favorite songs, better if adapting them to your mood. From today we have one more reason to continue listening to the music we love!
8. In general, do what you love
As a general rule for lowering cortisol, it is good to always remember that doing what we love and feel good will make us much more relaxed and consequently will benefit the whole body.