Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. This hormone is responsible for several vital functions within the body, however, it can have a downside too. Cortisol is responsible for regulating the response of the body to stress by altering certain physiological functions. When this happens chronically, it leads to several unwanted symptoms.
-Metabolism of macro-nutrients (Fats, proteins, carbs)
-Functions of the Nervous System
Cortisol is essential for our health and survival, however, when Cortisol levels get too high or do not come back down to normal levels, it can wreck havoc. If a person is constantly stressed out, as most people are, the Adrenal glands may burn out, resulting in “Adrenal Fatigue”.
When Cortisol levels rise, it can cause:
-Reduced bone density
-Weight gain and inhibit weight loss (Especially abdominal fat gain)
-Slow healing of wounds and injuries
-Reduced Cognitive Function & difficulty concentrating
-High Blood Pressure
-Constant fatigue, etc
Now if you think about it, these are conditions that almost everyone suffers from. This may be due to the fact that our modern day lifestyles are ridiculously stressful and are therefore destroying our health.
Activities that reduce Cortisol:
-Creative activities like art, music, etc.
The best thing to reduce Cortisol is to take a walk in the early in the morning. At least one hour of walking, preferably in a park or some area that is full of trees, grass, and fresh air.
-A study done by Mr. Gregory Bratman at the University of Stanford showed that nature walks reduces “ruminition” (reflecting and brooding, especially over negative things). People who walk in parks, grassy areas and take nature walks, tend to be less depressed and respond better to stress, physiologically.
-Also, a study conducted by the University of Michigan, together with De Montfort University, James Hutton Institute, and Edge Hill University in the United Kingdom, showed that group nature walks resulted in reduced depression, less stress, and improve mental health.
Licorice root – A sweet, yet potent adaptogen herb has been used for centuries in folk
medicine, Ayurveda, and Chinese Medicine. “Adaptogen” herbs support/improve the bodies ability to adapt to stress. Licorice root’s Cortisol regulating effects have been seen in research mentioned In the medical journal “Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology”
Shilajit – also known as “Mineral Pitch” and considered to be “The Destroyer of Weakness” in Ayurvedic Medicine has been used to improve strength, stamina, and many other rejuvative functions. Shilajit is also an adaptogen and is considered to be one of the most powerful medicines in Ayurveda. This mineral rich herb, which is collected in the form of an exudate from the Himalayan mountains, has potent energy boosting properies and can effectively treat adrenal fatigue and regulate Cortisol.
Foods to reduce Cortisol:
As I always say, diet plays a vital role in treating illnesses and maintaining health. Foods rich in magnesium and omega 3s are able to assist in the regulation of Cortisol and help maintain mental calmness. Serotonin boosting foods can also help prevent Cortisol spikes by allowing you to stay calm.
Magnesium rich foods:
-Green Leafy Veggies
-Brazil Nuts, etc
-Tuna & Salmon
Serotonin Boosting foods:
-Foods rich in B-vitamins
Consume these foods daily to support your Adrenal glands, minimize the effects of stress and regulate Cortisol.
(Always use medicinal herbs under the supervision of a doctor)
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by Dr. Nishal R.
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