Cortisol is an important hormone that helps your body maintain a good immune system. It also brings about other benefits, such as energy production and blood sugar. Even though there is no doubt that cortisol is essential for your good well-being, too much can become detrimental to your health. If your cortisol levels are regularly high, you might experience symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, diabetes, high blood pressure, diabetes and more. Here are some healthy ways that you can lower or block cortisol in your body.
1. Learn to Relax
Stressful situations cause your body to compensate by producing large amounts of cortisol. You can combat this by making relaxation a daily part of your routine. Having a hobby can help you fight stress by taking your mind off things that make you anxious, whether it's a deadline at work or a pile of bills. If you don't have a particular hobby, you can also try meditation. Low impact exercises like yoga and Pilates can also help you relax. Other relaxing activities include taking a walk outdoors, singing or chatting with a friend.
2. Eat Healthy, Natural Foods
Many people today constantly eat processed and packaged foods, and this can put a lot of digestion pressure on the body. This pressure leads to stress, which in turn leads to more cortisol production. If you're one of those people who likes to reach for unhealthy junk food each time you feel stressed or bored, learn to develop healthier eating habits. For instance, instead of snacking on potato chips or candy bars, enjoy tasty snacks that are good for you such as nuts or fruits smoothies.
3. Get Enough Sleep
A good night's sleep is perhaps the best fuel that you can equip your body with for the next day. When you get plenty of sleep, you wake up feeling replenished and ready to take on the day's challenges - even the most stressful situations. Learn to develop regular sleeping patterns by going to bed and waking up at the same times every day. If you feel your energy dipping in the middle of the day, take a nap to recharge your energy levels.
4. Avoid Caffeine
Drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages is one of the habits that can cause you to develop chronically high levels of cortisol. Studies have shown that a mug of coffee can raise your cortisol levels by as much as 30% in just an hour. What's worse is that the cortisol level in your blood stream can remain high for up to 18 hours. If you wish to block cortisol, removing caffeine from your diet is one of the best things you can do.
5. Get Some Aerobic Exercise
Since stress and cortisol production are closely linked, it's only natural that you should learn to keep your stress levels in check if you want to block cortisol. One of the ways you can do this is to perform some aerobic exercises such as running or walking. A 30-minute jog or stroll at least five times a day can help you lower your cortisol significantly.