Other Ways To Relieve Stress
Your diet plays an important role in managing stress symptoms, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. “The main thing in lowering stress is working on daily habits to change our body’s response to stressors around us,” says Moday. “This way you can blunt the release of cortisol over time regardless of the situation.” Here are some techniques that can help:
Conquer Stress With Crunchy Foods
A lot of my clients, when they think about crunchy foods, they think of chips, but sometimes you can manage stress with healthier crunchy foods like celery and carrots with hummus, Porrazza said.
Cutting up an apple and then munching on it can also release stress, as Porrazza has observed with her clients. Doing something with their hands can help them take themselves out of their head and give them a little bit of a mindful moment, which can take them out of the stress of the moment, she added.
Consume More Vitamin C
Foods such as red and green peppers, oranges, grapefruit and kiwi are rich in vitamin C, which in high doses has antidepressant effects and improves mood, and may be helpful in treating stress-related disorders.
Other research has revealed that vitamin C may help reduce anxiety among high school students.
To boost your vitamin C intake, aim to include one vitamin C-rich food with a meal, and another for a snack. You could also try one of my favorites: dark chocolate-dipped kiwis or oranges for dessert!
Also Check: Can Stress Cause Lupus Flare Up
Can You Eat To Relieve Stress
In this fast paced world, everyone has some sort of stress. According to the National Institute of Health , 31% of U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their life. Part of living a healthy lifestyle is finding ways to manage stress, and part of stress management includes exercising and choosing the right foods. Below are 10 ways to help manage and relieve stress.
Why Reducing Stress Hormones Is So Important
First of all, stress is not bad or evil. In fact, it is basically healthy and good. It helps us to cope better in hectic times and to deal with stress.
Normally, stress subsides once we have overcome the situation. In the recovery phase, our body comes to rest again and the stress cycle is interrupted.
In large quantities, however, cortisol is pure poison for us!
It becomes dangerous when there is too little rest. Because then body and mind are overstrained.
This can have very bad consequences. From headaches, sleep disorders, concentration problems, high blood pressure and up to really serious diseases, there is a lot involved.
But tension, racing thoughts and stitches in the chest area are also possible.
But for us women, there’s even more to it: we can also have problems with our cycle. Often, permanent stress leads to the fact that your period is missing or that ovulation does not take place.
The problem with this is that if the stress level cannot be reduced for a very long time, it may take many months. This is then referred to as burnout.
Don’t Miss: How To Practice Stress Management
Get Positive Physical Contact
It is advisable to get physical contact such as cuddling, sex, kissing, and hugging whenever possible since it can help neutralize stress. Having physical contact with someone you love triggers the release of oxytocin, a cortisol antagonist. Oxytocin also helps lower blood pressure, thus relieving tension. Cuddling for stress relief has also been observed in our closest cousins, the chimpanzees.
How Your Body Returns To Balance
Returning to balance also requires high cortisol levels .
From the point of view of energetic Chinese medicine, in times of mental stress and strain, the liver is heavily affected, due to blockage of energy that has accumulated and is not flowing properly in the body.
This energy blocking in the liver may cause the appearance of symptoms such as muscle tension in the neck, shoulders and upper back area, nervousness and mood swings, various digestive problems, headaches, and more.
Don’t Miss: Can Stress Cause Shortness Of Breath
Figure Out Your Stress Triggers
Stress and cortisol are closely interlinked. A stressor is any stimuli that causes anxiety or stress. It can be something physical or psychological, like a threat to your safety or an unexpected change to your environment. It could also be pain, financial worries, relationship issues, or work-related problems.
When your body is exposed to stress, cortisol is released to keep the body on high alert and can even provide much needed energy, an important factor in the fight or flight response. Therefore, stressful situations increase cortisol production.
Understanding your own triggers is vital if you want lower cortisol levels. Keep a journal to record stressful situations. You dont have to go into detail, but make a note of what happened and consider why it made you feel bad.
You can use this information to find practical ways of managing these situations. For example, stepping away from arguments, learning to say no to extra work, and avoiding unnecessary triggers are good places to start.
Carbo Loading For Mental Health
Eating carbohydrates makes you feel better no matter how many low-carb diets try to convince people otherwise, thats an actual scientific fact. As mentioned above, carbs cause secretion of insulin, which alters the plasma tryptophan ratio and leads to greater serotonin production in the brain.
But since stress tends to increase blood sugar anyway, you might want to lean toward complex carbs that wont make the spike worse. So, in these events, a snack of oatmeal might be more stress relieving than, say, a bag of M& Ms.
But dont rule out chocolate altogether some studies have suggested that chocolate can trigger a feeling similar to being in love. Were not sure thats true, but it definitely causes the blood vessels to relax, which lowers blood pressure and improves blood circulation overall.
Recommended Reading: Is There Medication For Stress
Stress Reducing Foods To Lower Cortisol Faqs
Does magnesium lower cortisol?
Maybe- a study showed that diffusing magnesium salts in a quiet room can help to reduce cortisol, though they were also in a quiet dimly lit room to help calm them. Hard to identify it was the magnesium itself.
Does turmeric lower cortisol?
Perhaps a preliminary animal study in cows indicates that turmeric may be helpful in reducing cortisol levels
Does caffeine increase cortisol?
Yes, it can. A study in humans who drank 400 mg caffeine found that their cortisol was increased, but their positivity about the stress was better, though it didnt necessarily improve how they responded to the stress.
Does apple cider vinegar lower cortisol?
For now, no A preliminary animal study in shrimp showed that cortisol was not improved when consuming apple cider vinegar. I talk more about the truth about the whole apple cider vinegar trend for health in my ACV Goli review here.
Can taking CBD help with lowering cortisol?
It can! Personally, I do take CBD for my stress/anxiety. It does wonders in helping me relax and manage my stress itself, which can reduce cortisol levels.I get asked about my CBD routine a lot and I use the brand Equilibria. Everyones routine is different but I use a combo of the drops and the soft gels . Not only does it help with stress and anxiety but I sleep like a BABY! Which also helps with cortisol levels!You can use this link for 15% off your first order if you want to give it a try Equilibria too.
Eat A Nutritious Diet
Nutrition can influence cortisol for better or for worse.
While all foods can be enjoyed in moderation, being mindful of the foods you eat may alleviate symptoms of stress and help you better manage your cortisol levels.
Regular high added-sugar intake may result in elevated cortisol levels. Interestingly, a high sugar diet may also suppress cortisol release during stressful events, making it more difficult for your body to handle stressful situations (
For better gut and mental health, opt for a nutrient-dense diet full of whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and foods high in prebiotics and probiotics.
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Stress Headaches
Maintaining A Good Bedtime Routine
A good bedtime routine usually results in longer and higher-quality sleep. People should get into the habit of turning off all screens and just relaxing before heading to bed.
It will usually also help to keep phones, and any other potential distractions turned off. Limiting fluid intake before bedtime can also minimize the likelihood of disturbed sleep.
Signs You Have High Cortisol
“If you’re dealing with high cortisol levels for a long time, this may develop into or be a sign of a disease called Cushing’s syndrome,” says McMahon. Actual root causes of Cushing’s can range from chronic use of corticosteroid medications and familial genetic tendencies, to tumors of the pituitary, adrenal glands, or other areas of the body. Some symptoms of Cushing’s syndrome may include:
- Rapid weight gain
- Pink or purple stretch marks on the skin
- A fatty hump or bump between the shoulders
- Red face or excessive acne
You don’t have to have Cushing’s syndrome to have high cortisol levels, however. Many of us do not, but the “silent” signs of high cortisol over an extended period time can still wreak havoc on our health. Moday says some other signs that your cortisol is cruising at higher, prolonged altitudes than normal include:
- High blood pressure
- Insomnia or difficulty falling and/or staying asleep
You May Like: What Are Symptoms Of Stress Overload
What Are Stress Hormones
When we talk about stress hormones, cortisol typical tops the list, and for good reason. It is called the primary stress hormone, after all.
Its released when were under pressure and triggers the fight or flight survival response.
However, cortisol isnt the only stress hormone, and truthfully, it may not even be the most important of the stress hormones.
That title could just as easily be reserved for insulin. While most people think of diabetes when discussing this hormone, insulin is related to weight gain, PCOS, low testosterone and, of course, blood sugar levels.
In addition, insulin can affect almost every hormone in the body and certainly has a major impact on stress.
I always say oxytocin is the master hormone, Dr. Cabeca says. If you would consider oxytocin the dean of the university, the professors would be insulin and cortisol, and the student body is the rest of the hormones.
Other stress hormones besides cortisol and insulin include:
Listed From Least To Most Stress
Vitamin C content: 1 cup, 15 mg, 25% DV
Tart and sweet, cherries are like candy from the earth. They’re about 81 percent water per volume so they’ll fill you up for very few calories and a one cup serving boasts a quarter of the day’s vitamin C. Cherries have also been marked as a natural sleep aid thanks to their melatonin content. And speaking of catching some Zzz’s, be sure to read up on these ways to lose weight in your sleep!
Vitamin C content: 1 cup, 13.3 mg, 22% DV
They’re not just known for their UTI-fighting powers cranberries are also one of the lowest-sugar fruits, which makes them a tasty pop of color for your salads or on top of a smoothie bowl.
Vitamin C content: 1 cup boiled, 13.8 mg, 23% DV
This diuretic vegetable is one of the top plant-based sources of tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid which serves as the foundation for serotonin stimulation. When your body produces more serotonin it can boost your mood. Asparagus also boasts high levels of folate, a nutrient that may fight depression. Between all that and the vitamin C, these green stalks are like little sticks of instant joy!
Vitamin C content: 1 cup, 14.4 mg, 24% DV
Vitamin C content: 1 cup, 10.2 mg, 34% DV
Vitamin C content: 1 cup, 27 mg, 45% DV
Vitamin C content: 1 large potato , 28.7 mg, 48% DV
Vitamin C content: 1 cup, 32.3 mg, 53.8% DV
Vitamin C content: 1 large sweet potato , 35.3 mg, 59% DV
Vitamin C content: 1 cup shredded, 39.9 mg, 66% DV
Vitamin C content: 1 cup, 44.2 mg, 74% DV
Also Check: Can Stress Cause Erectile Dysfunction
Other Ways To Reduce Stress
Meditation is a great way to calm your mind, plus its free and you can do it anywhere, anytime.
Yoga may help with practicing mindfulness not only is it a great form of exercise but it incorporates meditation to slow down and calm the body and mind.
Get outside for fresh air and to connect with nature.
Good quality sleepis of utmost importance for long term health and regeneration. Few people can function properly with less than seven or eight hours of sleep per night.
Regular, gentle exercise is very beneficial for relieving stress and decreasing negative emotions such as worry or anxiety. However, for people with significantly depleted adrenal hormones, intensive cardiovascular exercise may further deplete adrenal reserves.
Regular relaxation needs to be built into daily life. Reading, having a bath, getting a massage or listening to music are great ways to promote relaxation.
Counselling or other therapies may be beneficial for those having to cope in the face of severe stressors.
If you are feeling stressed and anxious, do not disregard it. Seek advice from your GP or health professional.
Kerry Torrens is a qualified nutritionist with a post-graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years, she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.
What Are The Stress Hormones
Cortisol, adrenaline, noradrenaline or all of them together? Let’s quickly clarify a few terms.
Adrenalin is an acute stress hormone. Our body releases it when we are startled or something falls on us. Adrenaline works in muscles, blood vessels and fatty tissue. It is produced very quickly and is gone again just as quickly.
Norepinephrine is mobilizing in the nervous system. You surely know it from school or university time. This hormone helps you to get the best out of your work quickly and just before the deadline.
Cortisol is the long-term stress hormone. Once it has been formed, it takes a long time for it to be broken down again. If we do not succeed in reducing this hormone again and again, it can end in burnout.
Recommended Reading: What Can Help Relieve Stress
Natural Ways To Lower Your Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is a stress hormone the adrenal glands release. It helps your body deal with stressful situations, as your brain triggers its release through the sympathetic nervous system the fight or flight system in response to many different kinds of stress .
While the short-term release of cortisol can help you run quickly from danger, when cortisol levels are too high for too long, this hormone can hurt you more than it helps .
Over time, this can lead to an array of health issues such as weight gain, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, insomnia or difficulty sleeping, mood irregularities, and low energy levels (
This article discusses 11 ways to help naturally lower your cortisol levels.
Tulsi Or Holy Basil An Adaptogen Herb You Can Take Daily To Help Your Body Respond To Stress
Tulsi, also known as holy basil or the queen of herbs, is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine, and is a member of the mint family.
This plant is a powerful antioxidant. While people have used it for a variety of treatments, its most significant potential might be for stress-relief and relaxation.
People who take it often report that it gives them a calming energy and a general sense of well-being.
Tulsi has also been found to help regulate your blood sugar and support heart health.
In traditional healing systems, people have often taken this herb over a lifetime to increase vibrant health and longevity.
Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Stress At Work
How You Can Reduce Stress Hormones
It is important that you know that everyone reacts differently to stress. For some, it is enough if a planned appointment has to be postponed.
Others juggle between 3 appointments at the same time and are still not stressed. Just as our perception of stress is different, so is the breakdown of stress hormones.
What we all have in common: Everyone needs time out from stress to come down again.
How you can reduce stress hormones can be summed up in three words: Proper nutrition, enough breaks and exercise. These are the main factors to reduce stress.
Functions Of Cortisol In Human Body
Endocrine functions are dependent on environmental factors, including the manner and quality of diet as well as physical activity.
A number of dietary and endogenous factors affect on maintaining an appropriate level of glucose in human blood. Cortisol acts on glucose amount by activating hepatic glycogen stores, reducing the oxidation of glucose, stimulation of lipolysis and intensification of gluconeogenesis from amino acid severity. Persisting high levels of this hormone contributes to the development of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension and obesity. Mobilization of glucose reserves is particularly important in case of rapid stress situations like endurance training due to prolonged effort .
Furthermore, cortisol affects the appetite . De Sa et al. demonstrated that oral administration on this substance amplified startle responsiveness during presentation of pictures of food with high glycemic index. There was not such an effect in case of normal and pleasant non-food images . It was shown that injection of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger, increases levels of cortisol, ACTH and growth hormone but does not affect leptin .
Cortisol influences neuronal plasticity and neurodegenerative processes by acting on neurons and glial cells within the central nervous system. In addition, it modifies mood and behavior, as well as perception of pain, which is particularly important in mobilizing player in time of starts .
Don’t Miss: How Does Stress Affect The Heart