“Poor cortisol!” Even though it strives to do good for the mankind, it always ends up being blamed. And, the reason is that it does not know the right time to end its functioning. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, is produced by the adrenal glands. Its primary functions include regulating the blood pressure and immune system when an emergency strikes. This hormone also helps in tapping into the energy stored in your body and improve your infection combating potential.
Cortisol And Its Impacts
Cortisol fails to function the right way, due to the extremely high levels of persistent stress. This high gear churning leads to obesity, sleeplessness, glucose and insulin intolerances, and an increased abdominal girth. An increase in cortisol level sends the body into a flight or fight mechanism.
So, what would be the antidote that would regulate the synthesis of this hormone? The answer is relaxation. Here are some effective ways you can alleviate stress and thus lower the production of the stress hormone.
Simple Ways To Curb Cortisol Synthesis
1. Meditate Regularly!
According to the Harvard physician, Herbert Benson, regular practice of meditation can help in activating the relaxation response in human bodies. Once your body relaxes, the cortisol secretion lowers. Another study conducted on the effects of meditation of the production of stress hormone suggests that regular practice of this relaxation technique could lower cortisol by about 20%.
2. Eat Antioxidant Rich Foods!
There are numerous fruits, vegetables, cocoa powder, and nuts that are rich in multiple antioxidants, such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and flavonols. These foods effectively reduce the oxidative stress inside the human body, in turn lowering the levels of cortisol. According to various studies, people who include unsweetened cocoa powder in their diet were shown to have lower levels of cortisol as against the non-cocoa users.
3. Say Bye To Caffeine!
Bid goodbye to caffeine from your food. It is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lower cortisol production and increase DHEA production. Studies suggest that 200 mg caffeine triggers the secretion of the stress hormone by over 30% in less than 60 minutes.
4. Schedule A Massage!
Massages, especially the deep-tissue and aromatherapy variations, help in easing the stress experienced by body and mind alike. Studies suggest that people who underwent regular massage therapies for about three weeks had about 33% lesser cortisol levels than the no-massage group. Along with keeping the levels of cortisol under control, massages also help in improving the synthesis of the “feel good” hormones, serotonin and dopamine.
5. Do Some Yoga!
Simple yoga stretches such as Child’s Pose and Downward Facing Dog pose help in warding off the stress your body experiences. You can also include a simple breathing technique such as Alternate Nostril Breathing to bring down the stress levels. The asanas and Pranayama techniques help in improving the circulation levels also.
6. Sleep Properly!
Studies support the fact that people who do not get an average of 7 hours of deep sleep a day a bound to have 30 times higher cortisol levels than good sleepers. Include foods that trigger the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your wake/sleep cycles. Also, try cutting off your dozing time during the day to ensure that you have plenty of rest at night.
7. Take Life A Little Easily!
Indulge in a hobby of your choice and exercise regularly. Enjoy quality time with your family. Spend enough time with your spouse. Have quality sex regularly! All these things will put you at ease and curb the production of cortisol.
Life has its set of ups and downs. However, life is pretty short also. Indulge in a little fun and lower you cortisol! Stay healthy! Live longer!