Cortisol often receives a bad rap because it is a hormone related to stress. However, cortisol is actually a vital component to human survival and success. Back when we were cave people and were chased by wild animals, cortisol would kick in, boosting our blood sugar levels, heart rate and blood pressure for a quick hit of energy, allowing us the ability to make an escape.
In addition, cortisol stops our digestive and reproductive systems from working, allowing us to conserve energy in the state of stress. Even though, we are no longer being chased by wild animals, the function of cortisol still comes in handy when encountering stressful situations like accidents or situations where we may be in danger or need to make an important decision.
The real problem with cortisol today lies in the fact that we are currently living in a state of constant stress, where our sympathetic nervous system is always on. Both physical and emotional stress from places like work, personal life, financial, fear of sickness etc. make our bodies live with a constant release of cortisol and is therefore impacting our health. Imagine how our bodies are responding living in a constant state of high blood glucose levels, heart rate and blood pressure! It is no wonder we are aging faster, over weight, lacking sleep, and feeling and getting sick.
So then, the question lies as how to address our current state of stress. The bottom line is that our external stressors are not going to disappear magically or go away like wild animals would. Our stressors are constantly around and so we must learn how to manage our stress. The first step is addressing the things that are easiest to control such as diet, sleep and exercise.
Adding foods rich in magnesium, vitamin C, Omega-3s, zinc, antioxidants and adaptogens all help with lowering cortisol. Some easy examples to add would be citrus fruits, spinach, micro greens, beans, flaxseeds, walnuts, salmon and dark chocolate.
Additional, daily moderate amounts of exercise and removing or reducing cortisol enhancing items we consume such as caffeine and sugar, will automatically improve the way we sleep. By making these small changes, the amount of cortisol will automatically lower.
After making these small primary changes, it will be easier to take additional steps and allow you to be more relaxed, recognize stressful thinking through mindfulness, find more enjoyment, create and maintain healthier relationships, and have more consciousness to be our best self.
So next time you feel like your stress hormone may be elevated, take a deep breath, call a friend and go out to eat foods that lowers your cortisol at a place like Grater Greens. It is proven when you can nourish your body with stress free food and enjoy it with a friend, your mindset will begin to change and it will put you on the right path to better mental health and enjoyment.