Cortisol is an important stress hormone which is necessary for creating the body’s fight or flight response. It is very important for us as it helps prepare our brain in situations of stress or threat. Cortisol levels fluctuate throughout the day and are lowest at night. In some case though, these levels can remain high permanently. There is a link between high cortisol levels and abdominal fat. While per se cortisol doesn’t make you fat; one of its effects is to breakdown fats and utilize it for energy. Therefore, very high levels of cortisol could be one of the contributing factors of storage of abdominal fat. Today we will study some easy ways to lower cortisol levels.
1. Cortisol lowering supplements
To reduce cortisol levels and lose weight, many supplements are available in the market. However, you need to consult a physician before taking these medicines. If needed, get a blood test done to check if your levels are indeed elevated at all times. Once you get your doctor’s approval, buy good quality cortisol lowering supplements that contain ingredients like:
- Vitamin C- Take at least 1000 mg per day. This also gives antioxidant protection.
- Phosphatidyl serine (PS)- Daily dose of 800 mg daily is proven to lower cortisol
- Amino acids like Glutamine and Acetyl L-Carnitine are also known to lower stress and improve cognitive function in Alzheimer patients.
2. Eat foods that reduce cortisol naturally
You can even reduce cortisol levels naturally through food. It is very important that you avoid low calorie diets. Eat a balanced meal with proteins, good fats and fruits and vegetables. If you workout and exercise a lot, drink a protein shake immediately after the workout. Here are some super foods that lower cortisol and adrenal fatigue:
- Lemons- Start your morning with a glass of warm water and lemon juice
- Himalayan salt- Replace table salt with this variety
- Whole protein sources like lean meat, eggs, chicken and turkey
- Healthy fats- Olives, olive oil, flaxseeds, flaxseed oil, fatty fish, avocado, coconut oil etc
- Peppers- These are rich in vitamin C which helps lower cortisol naturally.
- Seaweed- This is rich in magnesium that relaxes mind and body
3. Use stress reduction techniques
Emotions like anger, anxiety and fear can all elevate cortisol levels. So use stress reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing etc. Yoga is also beneficial.
4. Take a break from stressful work
Avoid continuous stress if you wish to lower cortisol levels. At work, take frequent breaks by walking around or listening to some music or even taking a short nap. Take some time to unwind and relax from time to time. If possible go away on a vacation every few months. Use the weekends to relax and recover from stress.
5. Athletes: avoid over-training
Bodybuilder, weight lifters and athletes must measure their cortisol levels from time to time. It helps to vary the intensity of training. Opt for short bursts of high intensity workouts since cortisol levels rise every 45 minutes.
6. Avoid stimulants
Stay away from caffeine, alcohol, and other stimulants which elevate stress levels. You can start slowly by limiting your intake of these substances, but try to gradually quit these habits completely. This is an easy natural way to reduce cortisol levels.
7. Get plenty of sleep
If lack of sleep is causing stress, you can try listening to some relaxation music. Deep breathing before bedtime can also help.
8. Drink tons of water
Studies have shown that dehydration raises stress and cortisol levels. So drink at least 10 glasses of water every day.
Reducing cortisol levels and losing weight with medication may be the latest craze but you must not fall for it especially when there are many natural and easy ways to reduce cortisol naturally. Try out these 8 tips given above and see the difference.