Cortisol is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Overproduction of cortisol can have dangerous implications for overall health and wellness. Certain foods and dietary strategies are known to lower cortisol production. With the right proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats most people can significantly decrease production of this stress hormone.
High-quality sources of protein can help to decrease cortisol production. Whey protein, eggs and lean animal meats contain amino acids that are essential to survival. By taking in 15 to 30 grams of protein every two to three hours, we can drastically blunt cortisol production. Other useful protein supplements include soy, rice, pea, hemp and vegetable proteins.
Low-glycemic carbohydrates can also help lower cortisol levels naturally. Make sure to avoid sugary carbohydrates that can lead to insulin surges, which cause body fat storage. Lower glycemic choices include brown rice, wheat bread and pasta, sweet potatoes, beans, and fruits and vegetables. Eat carbohydrates immediately following exercise to blunt the surge of cortisol that intense activity causes.
Not only do healthy fats have heart-protective and anti-inflammatory effects on the body, they can also help to decrease cortisol. Omega-3 fats from fish and flax seed oil can help to control stress. Healthy monounsaturated fats from avocados, nuts and seeds, olive oil and egg yolks can also help. Combine a serving of healthy fat with low-glycemic carbohydrates and lean protein every few hours to avoid overproducing cortisol.
Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetable contain many healthy phytonutrients and vitamins that can inhibit cortisol production. For example, vitamin C from citrus fruits and greens has been shown to be very effective at decreasing cortisol production. Eat as many servings of raw organic fruits and vegetables as you can.