top of page

Cortisol and Holistic Ways to Manage It Quick Guide

Cortisol is our main stress hormone. Due to modern-day living, many people are feeling the effects of elevated cortisol. Learn how to balance your cortisol levels.

If you have any of the symptoms below, your cortisol levels may be off balance. Use the methods on the next page to help control cortisol levels.

Symptoms of chronically elevated cortisol levels can include:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Fatigue

  • Gut issues (bloated, pain, diarrhea, constipation, food sensitivities)

  • Headaches

  • High blood pressure

  • Irritability

  • Low libido

  • Mood swings

  • Poor concentration

  • Poor sleep quality

  • Skin slow to heal

  • Weakened immune system

  • Weight gain

Eat These Foods

Eat These foods help your body metabolize cortisol

  • Asparagus

  • Blueberries

  • Mango

  • Whole Grains

  • Greens

  • Broccoli

  • Papaya

  • Olive Oil

  • Banana

  • Onions

  • Pastured Eggs

Get quality sleep.

Here are some things that can improve your sleep:

  • Take magnesium glycinate before bed.

  • Avoid electronics one hour before bed.

  • Use blue light blockers in the evening.

  • Create a consistent bedtime routine.

  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol three hours before bed.

  • Avoid late night eating

Exercise within limits

Exercise both creates and uses cortisol. If you are someone who is often anxious or has signs of excess cortisol, you may want to avoid or limit high-intensity workouts to twice per week. Low and moderate-intensity exercise can be very helpful in controlling cortisol levels.

Laughter and social time

Laughter has been shown to directly reduce cortisol levels. Positive socialization stimulates a part of the brain that initiates the release of cortisol antagonists (hormones that work in the opposite way that cortisol does).

Fish oil

Supplementation with omega 3 fish oils has been shown to reduce blood plasma levels of cortisol during episodes of perceived mental stress.


This ancient herb has been shown to reduce cortisol and feelings of anxiety. In a randomized controlled study, there was a significant drop in serum cortisol levels after 60 days of ashwagandha use.

Positive physical contact

Physical contact with someone you are fond of (spouse, friend, child) releases oxytocin which is a cortisol antagonist. Give many hugs!

Avoid/limit these foods

  • Processed seed oils

  • Refined flour and sugar

  • Alcohol

  • Caffeinated drinks

These foods can increase the release or slow down how our bodies metabolize cortisol.

You can also have your cortisol tested via saliva or bloodwork, but ultimately the work that has to be done is in rejuvenating your adrenal glands, managing stress, and finding proper outlets.

12 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page