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How to Naturally Lower Cortisol Levels

By Sara Butler

It's the time of the year when everyone feels at least a little stressed. Maybe you put on a few pounds over the holidays or your blood sugars aren't quite where they need to be. Or maybe you simply know you're not getting the amount of exercise you should. If you're feeling stressed about any of those things (or something completely different) there's one thing that's guaranteed to be true: Your cortisol levels need to be brought under control. Here's what you need to know about cortisol and how you can work to naturally lower your levels and reduce stress in your life.

Cortisol: What is it?

Cortisol is a stress hormone your body manufactures as a response to feeling stressed. It's produced by your adrenal glands and spikes every single time you feel alarmed or a bit frazzled. It was certainly helpful to your ancient ancestors who used it to avoid dangerous animals and life-threatening situations, but the problem is that your body doesn't know the difference between being charged by a lion and stuck in rush hour traffic -- its response to release cortisol is the same. That means you're often swimming in cortisol when you really don't need to be.

This may not sound as if it's totally bad news, but the impact of cortisol on your health can be a bad thing. If your cortisol levels are out of balance, then it can lead to:

  • Unhealthy body weight
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

Your best course of action to avoid these unpleasant side effects is to work every day to naturally reduce your body's release of cortisol.

How to Reduce Cortisol

Managing your levels of cortisol isn't as difficult as you may fear. In fact, there are several ways you can easily and naturally reduce your cortisol:

  • Reduce caffeine intake - If you can reduce the amount of caffeine in your diet or eliminate it entirely, then you can work to reduce cortisol levels. If you can't go cold turkey with caffeine, then consider gradually reducing the amount you have each day.
  • Reduce sugar in your diet - Heavily processed foods full of refined sugars aren't good for you and if you can cut them out of your life, then your cortisol levels can be impacted in a positive way. Consider cutting out white bread, soda, candy, cakes, and pastries and you'll feel better.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol - Alcohol can make you feel relaxed, which may make you think that your cortisol levels will drop, but the truth is that alcohol has the opposite effect and can make your cortisol levels rise

If you have questions about ways to naturally reduce stress in your life, then talk to the chiropractors at The Joint Chiropractic today.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Downey, Calif.

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