Cortisol reduction is necessary because an overload of that hormone can be unhealthy and even dangerous. We all have those days where everything seems to go wrong. By the time the day is over at work and you return home you feel as though you are about to explode from the stress and pressures. This is caused by a build-up of cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid and what you are experiencing is somewhat like road rage from and an overdose of synthetic steroids. Learn how to use the 7 steps below to help manage these levels.
According to American Psychological Association as young girls reach puberty there is a significant hormonal change in their bodies and those changes become common as one gets older due to the uniqueness of a woman’s body. Sometimes these changes might affect your mood and as a consequence, you might feel tired, stressed, or a little under the weather.
In most cases when we feel stressed out it is probably because our cortisol levels are a bit high. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced by our adrenal glands as a body response to stressful condition and is highest in the morning when your body needs a kick start for the day.
Despite cortisol being beneficial to our bodies, it needs to be kept within regulated levels as high levels of it can result in high blood pressure, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain, hormonal imbalances, or acne among others health risks. Nonetheless, that should not be a worry as there are simple ways to manage and maintain cortisol reduction naturally.
Some Associated Cortisol Risks
When we live in a constant high-alert state, our cortisol levels remain unnaturally high and can cause all kinds of health problems, including:
• High blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
• Impaired healing and cell regeneration
• Insulin resistance
• Disrupted digestion, mental function, and metabolism
• Weakened ability to fight infection
• Imbalances in other important hormones such as DHEA, estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone
• Loss of muscle and bone
• Mood swings and depression
• Hair and skin problems
• Thyroid imbalances
• Carbohydrate cravings
• Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes
• Low sex drive
• Weight gain (especially around the belly, face, and neck)
7 Ways of Natural Cortisol Reduction
As a woman, you go through a lot of stressful conditions from waking up early, preparing breakfast, your children, and husband for school and job, respectively. Above all, you will also have to prepare yourself and head to work. Because you had more work at home that does not mean that you will be able to do less work at your job. You will have to maneuver your way through the heavy traffic, get to your job in time, and work through the office load just like anyone who had no chores.
By the time the day ends, what you will have gone through will be much and probably spiked your cortisol levels. However, if you follow these few tips you will be able to handle your cortisol reduction levels naturally;
1. Adequate Sleep
Studies support that cortisol production increases in people who sleep during the day compared to those that sleep during the night. Furthermore, the research also showed that sleep deprivation led to cortisol production. As a consequence, it was found that timing, quality, and length of sleep influences cortisol production. It is therefore recommended that you sleep within regular time and ideally for 7 to 9 hours to relax your body, balance hormonal production, and circadian rhythms.
Regular exercise is correlated with Irisin production, which is a feel-good hormone. As a consequence, when you are happy you are less likely to be stressed out. Additionally, when you regularly exercise in a period of 30 minutes to an hour on a daily basis, you will be able to aid normal metabolic reaction, balance hormones, and stress levels.
Though at the onset of the exercise your body will increase cortisol levels, they will be brought down as the body gets used to your exercise regimen.
3. Learning Relaxation Techniques
No matter how peaceful we like to be, there are just some situations, which are more stressful and as women, we are more susceptible to those conditions. Nevertheless, you can learn how to be calm and avoid spiking your cortisol levels by being positively minded always and avoiding negative thoughts that stress you out.
Moreover, you can practice deep breathing to help you relieve muscle tension and anxiety. There are other methods such as yoga and meditation that are a proven technique for a more relaxed lifestyle. Read our article on “Karma Yoga”.
4. Have Fun and Socialize
People who are extroverts tend to be happier compared to those that are introverts. This is because they don’t keep things that bother them to themselves and like to make and share with new friends, speak more openly, and have fun. As a consequence, they are able to retreat and relax from their stressful life and fill it with joyous moments.
However, if you don’t socialize and have fun, stress conditions might build up in your life making you feel gloomy and as a result, tend to have higher cortisol levels. You need to work on your cortisol reduction techniques.
5. Heart Healthy Diet
According to the American Heart Association, some foods have been correlated to a higher increase in cortisol levels. The study supports that continual intake of foods that have high sugar levels trigger cortisol hormone production. Moreover, the research supports that consuming trans fats, caffeine, and alcohol also promote its production.
Therefore, it is wise to avoid those foods and venture into eating more fruits, probiotics foods, fiber foods, healthy fat and protein foods, dark chocolate, black and green teas, with sufficient water intake. The DASH diet from the American Heart Association is a great way to implement this step. Read our article on the diet and different recipes in “16 DASH Diet Recipes to Lose Weight”.
6. Please Oneself First
Trying to always please others before yourself can lead to a spike in hormone levels as well. It is important to note that the media has constructed an image of how a beautiful woman should look and dress like and trying to cope up with that might be stressful.
Also, you might find yourself in a situation where you have to please your peers in order to fit n, or as part of your job despite being uncomfortable. It is therefore mandatory once you notice these trends in your life to stop them as they will increase stress and increase your cortisol levels.
Appreciate who you are and participate in activities that you love and are confident in.
7. Herbs and Healthy Natural Oils
Oils that are good sources of omega-3 are good in cortisol reduction. In a study of how fish oils prevent adrenal activation, 7 men who had taken fish oil showed little cortisol production in response to stress while it provided a positive impact on cortisol levels in women.
Ashwagandha an Asian herb proved to stimulate cortisol reduction levels in a study that involved 98 adult females according to a study as well.
Therefore, despite cortisol being a good hormone in our bodies it can spike and result in unwanted health risks. It is thus necessary to reduce cortisol naturally as we try to live healthily and regulating stressful conditions.
And by adhering to the above 7 tips, you will be able to live happily and naturally reduce cortisol levels.
From the pages of Dr. Axe: Get Your Cortisol Levels Under Control & Turn Down the Stress
How to Reduce Cortisol and Stress
A helpful article by Healthline: 11 Natural Ways to Lower Your Cortisol Levels