How Do You Reduce Cortisol?


Quick Answer

To reduce cortisol, Christopher Bergland for Psychology Today recommends exercising daily with aerobic activities; meditating to reduce stress; maintaining good relationships and friendships; and doing enjoyable activities that improve mood. Registered dietitian Dina Aronson for Today's Dietitian also suggests improving diet by eating more fruits and vegetables and reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol consumption.

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Full Answer

Cortisol is commonly called the stress hormone and is released during times of fear or severe stress. According to Bergland, chronic stress and the release of too much cortisol can increase the risk of developing depression and mental illness. Cushing syndrome can result if an individual produces too much cortisol or takes an oral corticosteroid medication, notes Mayo Clinic.

According to Aronson, chronic cortisol production can lead to weight gain and obesity since the hormone can increase cravings for high-calorie foods and stimulate appetite. Chronic inflammation while cortisol levels increase can lead to immune system problems including increased risk of cancer, infections and gastrointestinal issues. Since cortisol increases blood pressure to help in oxygenation of blood, long-term overproduction of cortisol can eventually lead to cardiovascular problems such as heart disease. An adrenal stress index, or salivary test, and a blood cortisol test can be performed to examine the adrenal gland and check cortisol levels.

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