In today's fast-paced world, stress has become an inevitable part of our lives. From hectic work schedules to personal responsibilities, stress can take a toll on our physical and emotional well-being. One of the hormones that play a crucial role in our body's response to stress is cortisol, often referred to as the "stress hormone." In this post, we'll delve into the effects of high cortisol levels on our body and explore how mindful practices, diet and herbs can help manage stress and promote overall wellness.

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. 

Understanding Cortisol:

Cortisol is a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Its primary function is to regulate various processes in the body, including metabolism, immune response, and blood sugar levels. When we encounter a stressful situation, cortisol levels spike, initiating the body's "fight or flight" response. While cortisol is essential for survival in acute stress situations, prolonged exposure to high levels of cortisol can have detrimental effects on our health.

 

Effects of High Cortisol Levels:

High cortisol levels can disrupt numerous bodily functions and contribute to a range of health issues. Some common symptoms of high cortisol levels include:

  • Persistent fatigue, despite adequate rest
  • Difficulty relaxing and unwinding
  • Racing thoughts and inability to focus
  • Increased irritability and impatience
  • Trouble falling asleep and maintaining a restful sleep pattern
  • Additionally, high cortisol levels can contribute to external factors such as acne, weight gain, and difficulties in losing weight.

 

Mindful Activities to Promote Cortisol Balance:

Engaging in outdoor activities and holistic practices can play a crucial role in managing cortisol levels. Spending time in nature lowers cortisol levels and promotes relaxation.

Activities like:

  • Walks in nature alleviate stress and restore inner balance.
  • Prioritizing quality sleep is essential for cortisol regulation. Adequate and restful sleep supports optimal cortisol levels, while sleep deprivation can lead to elevated cortisol levels and increased stress.
  • Incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or gentle yoga before bedtime can promote better sleep and help maintain healthy cortisol levels.

 

The Role of Diet in Cortisol Management: 

Diet plays a significant role in regulating high cortisol levels and supporting overall well-being and prioritizing nourishing food choices over sugary and caffeinated options is essential for cortisol balance. Instead of restricting sugar intake and caffeine, which may feel challenging, try starting meals with healthier options. For example, eating a plate of fruits before reaching for sugary treats may curb cravings or having a cup of soothing herbal tea before opting for another coffee can help reduce reliance on caffeine.

  • Increase Protein Intake: Protein-rich foods such as chicken, fish, eggs, and tofu can help stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the negative effects of high cortisol.
  • Healthy Fats: Healthy fats from avocado, olive oil, and nuts can help balance hormones and reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Reduce Sugar and Processed Foods: Reducing sugar and processed food intake can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cortisol production in the body.
  • Reduce Coffee and Alcohol: Reducing consumption of coffee and alcohol can also help reduce cortisol levels.

By making mindful food choices, you can support healthy cortisol levels and promote optimal wellness.

 

Instead of restricting sugar intake and caffeine, which may feel challenging, try starting meals with healthier options. For example, eating a plate of fruits before reaching for sugary treats may curb cravings.

 

Managing Cortisol Levels With Herbs:

Another natural way to manage cortisol levels and mitigate the effects of chronic stress, is to incorporate soothing herbal teas into your daily routine. Herbal teas are renowned for their calming and therapeutic properties, making them an excellent choice for stress relief and relaxation. 

 

Best Herbs for Stress Relief:

Several herbs have been specifically linked to stress reduction and reducing cortisol levels. Some popular options include:

  • Chamomile: Known for its calming properties and ability to promote restful sleep. You find it in our blends Glow Getter, Nourish and Nourish Flow and Rise.
  • Lavender: Aromatic and soothing, lavender tea can help alleviate stress and anxiety. You find it in our blends Sleep and Sleep Serenity.
  • Holy basil: Also known as tulsi tea, holy basil has adaptogenic properties that support the body's response to stress. You find it in our blends Blooming Bliss and Rise.
  • Lemon balm: With its mild, citrusy flavor, lemon balm tea is ideal for reducing tension and promoting relaxation. You find it in our blends Sleep and Sleep Serenity.

 

Conclusion:

By understanding the effects of cortisol on the body and incorporating natural remedies into your routine, you can take proactive steps to reduce stress and promote overall wellness. Whether you're sipping on a cup of lavender tea to unwind after a long day or enjoying a 10 min meditation before bedtime, you can support your body and mind in times of stress and absolutly be in control of how you feel.

As always, consult with a healthcare professional when considering new additions to your wellness journey.

 

     

    References:

     

    Holy Basil for stress support

    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22331521/

    Anti-stress effects of Lemon Balm:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4131030/

    Effect of Lavender on anxiety and high cortisol:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8000889/

    Chamomile's potential balancing effect on high cortisol:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5710842/

    Related Blog Posts

    High Cortisol: Mindful Practices, Diet, and Herbs to Balance it

    High Cortisol: Mindful Practices, Diet, and Herbs to Balance it

    Balancing High Cortisol Naturally.
    Healing Acne from the Root

    Healing Acne from the Root

    Essential Herbs for Acne Healing.
    The Empowering Benefits of Holy Basil for Women

    The Empowering Benefits of Holy Basil for Women

    The serenity master adaptogen.
    4 Herbs To Naturally Relieve Menstrual Cramps

    4 Herbs To Naturally Relieve Menstrual Cramps

    Essential herbs for easier periods.
    A Guide To Restorative Sleep

    A Guide To Restorative Sleep

    Science-backed herbs and lifestyle changes for optimal sleep.
    Why Your Skin Breaks Out In Spring

    Why Your Skin Breaks Out In Spring

    How changing seasons affect your skin and hormones and how to balance it.