Do you experience stress on a day-to-day basis? The feeling that we describe as “stress” is actually the result of elevated levels of cortisol, a steroid hormone that’s produced in the adrenal kidneys. When there’s more of this hormone flowing through your body, you’ll feel greater stress and anxiety as a result. So, how can you lower your cortisol levels?
Sleep plays an important role in the body’s ability to regulate cortisol levels. When you don’t enough sleep at night, cortisol levels go up and you’ll experience greater stress throughout the day. So, how much sleep do you need at night? This is a question that researchers and medical professional continue to debate; however, the general consensus in the medical community is that adults should get seven-to-eight hours of restful sleep, while teens and children should get slightly more.
According to a recent Thai study, people who engaged in daily Buddhist meditation over a 6-week period experienced a “significant” decrease in both blood pressure and cortisol levels. Other studies involving different types of meditation have found similar results, so don’t assume that Buddhist is the only type of meditation that’s going to lower your cortisol levels.
There’s a reason why spinach was Popeye’s favorite food: this delicious leafy green vegetable contains a healthy dose of magnesium, which is believed to regulate production of cortisol. Spinach is also loaded with vitamin B-12, vitamin A, and vitamin C, making it a powerhouse food for your body and mind.
There’s nothing quite as relaxing as deep-tissue massage – and it may even help to lower your cortisol levels. A study performed by researchers at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that people who received massage therapy for several weeks saw a 33% average decrease in their cortisol levels. Furthermore, massage therapy promotes the release of dopamine and serotonin, two key hormones that are associated with happiness and relaxation.
Oranges, Lemons and Limes
Citrus fruit – oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, etc. – are believed to the slow the body’s production of cortisol. This is due to the fact that citrus fruit contains a high concentration of vitamin C, which stunts the production of cortisol. So the next time you have a snack craving, grab a piece of citrus fruit instead of a bag of chips. It’s a healthier, more nutritious alternative that will ward off stress.
Give me a call today to learn how you can get back on track to better health!