Simple tips to naturally reduce cortisol levels

Sustained exposure to stress triggers elevated cortisol levels in the body.

Cortisol, often referred to as “the stress hormone,” is produced by the adrenal glands [1]. Although its short-term release helps individuals cope with stress and danger, prolonged high cortisol levels can harm mental and physical wellbeing [2].

To help manage and reduce these heightened cortisol levels, there are several effective strategies that individuals can incorporate into their daily routines:

Reducing stress: This serves as a direct method of lowering cortisol. This involves evading stressors whenever possible, prioritizing stress management, and seeking mental healthcare. 

When stress results from a mental health condition, addressing it through therapy aids in reducing its impact. Engaging in relaxation techniques activates the body’s relaxation response, countering the stress response and ceasing cortisol production [3].

Diet plays a pivotal role in cortisol regulation: Consuming a balanced diet and monitoring sugar and caffeine intake are vital.

Certain foods such as bananas, garlic and antioxidant-rich options like fruits and tea help stabilize cortisol levels. Staying hydrated is also linked to lower cortisol levels. Avoiding caffeine, particularly in the evening, supports quality sleep, which is crucial for maintaining healthy cortisol levels [4].

Adequate sleep and a consistent sleep schedule contribute to cortisol balance: A well-structured bedtime routine involving relaxing activities and screen-free time before sleep fosters better sleep quality [5].

Pursuing hobbies: Such as gardening or creative endeavors, offers stress relief by shifting focus away from stressors [6]. Having fun and laughing contribute to lower cortisol levels, as does cultivating solid relationships with loved ones.

Engaging in physical activity is beneficial:  However, moderate-impact exercise is preferable for individuals with high cortisol levels [7]. Formulating healthy relationships with partners, friends and family aids in navigating stressful periods. Additionally, studies suggest that pet ownership can reduce cortisol levels, highlighting the benefits of companionship [8].

Quitting smoking is linked to lower cortisol levels: Research indicates smokers experience higher cortisol levels and disrupted sleep than non-smokers [9].

In summary, managing cortisol levels involves a holistic approach. Combining stress reduction techniques, dietary adjustments, healthy sleep patterns, engaging hobbies, fostering relationships and making lifestyle changes like quitting smoking can effectively lower cortisol and contribute to overall well-being [10]. Always consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to manage cortisol levels effectively.

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The information included in this article is for informational purposes only. The purpose of this webpage is to promote broad consumer understanding and knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.