Hey beautiful, welcome to PassionAte nutrition!
I have improved my health and energy levels significantly through a plant based diet and love to support you in eating more plants to feel amazing and reap the exciting benefits!
If you can hold on and enjoy the ride, knowing and trusting that life is getting better every day, everything will change in a positive way. Stress and challenging situations are part of life for every one of us, but it is our perception of these things which changes everything.
We can not always stop the stress, however, we can learn to manage it in a much better way. I personally start my day with a routine which has the aim of relaxing, reducing cortisol (the stress hormone) and generally help me feel uplifted. My routine includes meditation or focused breathing, noting things, situations and people I am grateful for, exercise and or stretching then listening to an uplifting podcast or book whilst preparing a green smoothie to include at least one adaptogen, supporting energy levels and a reduction in cortisol.
symptoms of high cortisol
We need cortisol, as it is a hormone which keeps us energised, alert and awake, however, it is when we get too much that huge problems can occur. Dr. Sara Gottfried author of ‘The Hormone Cure’ calls this hormone the ‘bad boyfriend’, you start to become addicted to the stress levels and you will suffer. Here are some of the signs that may indicate your cortisol levels are too high and that you would benefit from finding ways to manage your stress.
- weight gain
- acne or skin problems
- mood swings
- disrupted sleep
- muscular aches and pains
- excessive thirst
- prone to colds or infections
- irregular periods
- problems with fertility
the following will contribute to high cortisol levels…
- poor diet and missing out on nutrients
- over exercising
- recent surgery (because of inflammation)
- excessive alcohol or drugs
What can you do?
I have introduced strategies over time which support a positive mental health and these have become habits. If you think you could benefit from learning to manage your stress please keep reading for my five tips and take a look at the links below.
- increase oxytocin
What you want to do is increase your oxytocin levels, this is the love hormone and when you give or receive a gift, hug someone you will increase the oxytocin naturally lowering stress. Another proven way to increase oxytocin is to spend time with a woman, interestingly, this is the case for both male and female genders. If you are feeling stressed ring or meet up with a female friend and feel the benefits. Spending time in nature and taking some self-care, whatever that may be for you are all ways to reduce the stress and gain more balance.
2. focused breathing
Taking slow deep breaths, holding and then slowly breathing out will have the immediate effect of lowering your cortisol levels. There are many techniques and visiting a range of different yoga sites online will provide you with effective breathing strategies.
3. increase your vegetables
Eating more vegetables feeds the beneficial bacteria in your body which improves immunity (less illness), but also supports improved mood through the production of serotonin in the gut. Also reducing sugar, gluten and dairy as these can all contribute to inflammation which causes raised cortisol levels.
4. take an omega 3 supplement
We are generally unbalanced towards omega 6 and to reduce inflammation in the body, a balance of omega 6 and 3 is required. Omega 3 supplements (Vegan algae or fish oils) will support a reduction of inflammation reducing cortisol in addition to a huge list of reduced illness and disease! So good for the heart and the brain. Take these every day.
5. introduce adaptogens
Ancient Chinese and Indian medicine has included adaptogens and herbs to support a balance of hormones and a reduction of cortisol. My favourites include Maca powder, a malty tasting Peruvian root vegetables which balances hormones and naturally increases energy (known to have increased libido effects in men) and Siberian Ginseng, a natural uplifting Russian grown compound. Dr. Sara Gottfried recommends holy basil (Ayurvedic herb)and phosphatidylserine (a plant extract) as effective in lowering cortisol in the body and improving mood.
links to more information: