Five Ways to Reduce Cortisol and Decrease Inflammation By Dr. Tara Hosie
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by the body in response to every day activities such as waking up, exercising and in response to stressful situations. A certain amount of cortisol is necessary for the body to function properly under these circumstances.
The issue arises when the body is under consistently high levels of stress. Chronic stress can cause the body to pump out cortisol at a higher rate leading to a variety of detrimental health effects. These effects can include blood sugar imbalances, diabetes, weight gain, muscle and joint pain and inflammation, immune system suppression, stomach issues and cardiovascular disease to name a few.
As a chiropractor, I see many patients that are suffering from chronic pain. By addressing lifestyle factors such as sleep, stress, diet and exercise in addition to addressing their physical complaints these patients are able to make huge strides in their recovery. Addressing lifestyle factors helps these patients to reduce their cortisol levels and decrease inflammation within the body.
Here are five tips to help reduce cortisol levels and decrease inflammation in the body:
- Stay Hydrated- When you are dehydrated your adrenal glands sense this as a form of stress which causes them to pump out even more cortisol. Sodium is also often depleted when your body is pumping out cortisol. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea and supplement with and electrolyte formula if necessary.
Get Plenty of Sleep- Your body does its best healing when you are asleep. Proper sleep helps your body to balance your cortisol levels and fight inflammation. If you are having difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep consider supplementation with melatonin.
Deep Breathing Exercises- Taking a few minutes out of every day to focus on your breath can help to balance your nervous system and cortisol levels. As an added bonus, diaphragmatic breathing (deep stomach breathing) can help strengthen your core and lower your risk of developing low back pain.
- Eat Protein and Veggies at Every Meal – High cortisol levels can lead to increased hunger and food cravings. Eating high-quality protein and fiber from vegetables at every meal can help curb your hunger and cravings and keep you satisfied so that you don’t reach for those pro-inflammatory comfort foods.
Supplement During Stressful Times- Magnesium and B Vitamin supplementation can particularly helpful during times of high stress, as they are often required in larger quantities at this time. Magnesium can help with sleep as well as with chronic pain and B Vitamins help the body to properly metabolize nutrients and keep the nervous system healthy.
Dr. Tara Hosie is a Toronto area chiropractor treating various conditions related to the muscles, joints and nervous system of the body. Email Dr. Tara at firstname.lastname@example.org, or
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