The Only Way to End Stress and Lower Cortisol

Cortisol is one of several hormones the body produces naturally. Cortisol levels do go up when you’re stressed. But it doesn’t deserve its bad rap.
“Cortisol supports overall health,” Dr. Lin says. “It helps us wake up, gives us energy during the day and lowers at night to help us sleep and rest.”
The problem arises when chronic stress keeps cortisol levels high for the long haul. High cortisol levels over weeks or months can lead to inflammation and a host of mental and physical health problems, from anxiety to weight gain to heart disease.ortisol interacts with neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that send signals in the brain. Neurotransmitters play an important role in mood. And cortisol isn’t the only compound that influences them. “To make those neurotransmitters, you need all the raw ingredients: vitamins, minerals and other nutrients,” Dr. Lin says.
The best way to get them is with a balanced, plant-heavy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, she adds. “A healthy diet is the underpinning of stress management.”
A balanced meal plan can ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. “And talk to your doctor about taking a basic multivitamin. It’s a good insurance policy to make sure you’re not deficient in any vitamins,” Dr. Lin says.A balanced meal plan can ensure you’re getting the nutrients your body needs. “And talk to your doctor about taking a basic multivitamin. It’s a good insurance policy to make sure you’re not deficient in any vitamins,” Dr. Lin says.The supplement aisle at the natural foods store is hardly a one-way ticket to a stress-free life. But some items may help keep cortisol levels in a healthy range, Dr. Lin says. Research suggests these herbs and natural supplements might lower stress, anxiety and/or cortisol levels:
Ashwagandha.
Rhodiola.
Lemon balm.
Chamomile.
While some herbs might help lower cortisol levels naturally, you don’t want to swallow everything in sight, Dr. Lin says. “Teas like lemon balm and chamomile are quite safe.
How to Reduce Cortisol and Turn Down the Dial on Stress

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