Tips On How To Reduce Cortisol Levels

reduce-cortisol

By: Dana Yarn, RDLD

It has almost become a cliché to be diagnosed with adrenal insufficiency or similar term. Adrenal insufficiency is related to excessive, sporadic, and/or low cortisol production. Some health professionals say that some practitioners use it as a “catch all” diagnosis. Regardless of what labs, or symptoms may reveal we all can be affected by stress and stress hormones and the harmful effects of insufficient cortisol.

Insufficient cortisol production can result in poor sleep, weight gain specifically in the abdominal area, excessive cravings for carbohydrates and sugar, low sex drive and inability to mentally focus. Stress hormone imbalances can increase risk for heart disease, thyroid disease, gastrointestinal stress and nutrient absorption.

By making small changes in your daily life you can offset the negative effects of a cortisol imbalance.

Stress hormone management strategies:

Reduce caffeine consumption. False energy from stimulants will only reduce the body’s ability to naturally produce adrenaline. Stick to 1-2 cups of coffee and/or tea daily, avoid chemically packed energy drinks and fat burning stimulant supplements.

Aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Give up some screen time and hit the sack. The difference between 6 and 8 hours of sleep is incredible. Studies have shown that those who sleep 6 hours or less will have elevated cortisol levels for the next 48 hours. 8 hours is enough time for your body to naturally repair from the days stressors. If you have problems sleeping consider supplementing with melatonin, a sleep hormone that can help the body fall asleep more easily.

Book a monthly massage. Massage helps naturally detoxify the lymphatic system. A massage naturally increases dopamine and serotonin levels, those “good mood” hormones that are also increased when playing and doing something that you truly enjoy.

Sleep naked. Sleeping in the buff has been shown to naturally reduce cortisol levels because it keeps you cooler allowing the body to produce adequate melatonin and growth hormone allowing the body to have proper rest naturally decreasing cortisol.

Cut back on the sweet stuff. Sugar can naturally increase inflammation and cortisol production. Reducing sugar especially from processed sources is one of the best ways to keep stress hormone levels under control.

Patriotic Strawberries

patriotic-strawberries

A festive way to eat dessert with less guilt.  These looks great on any party table spread.

Prep: 5 min.
Assembly: 10 min.
Yields: 18

Ingredients

box of fresh washed strawberries
1 c white chocolate chips
1 tsp. coconut oil
Blue (and red) sprinkles, and sugar for decorating

Directions

1. Lay parchment paper on large cookie sheet or pan.
2. Melt coconut oil and white chocolate on double boiler and stir
3. Dip strawberries in chocolate and sprinkle to decorate
4. Let chocolate harden in fridge for an hour and serve!
5. Store in fridge in airtight container.

Fueling Up For A Road Trip

fueling-for-road-trip

Jodie Parus, RD, LD

When you begin packing for your vacation or road trip this summer, don’t forget to plan for fuel along the way…for your body that is! Traveling can be exhausting, so you will want to take things that will give you energy and keep you alert, especially if you are the driver.

Stopping at a gas station and running in for a restroom break can present you with a myriad of tempting treats to eat. If you are starving you are more likely to grab something you normally wouldn’t. Plan ahead and pack some of the following smart choices for your travel. They will leave you feeling satisfied and you will have more money to spend at your destination.

Water
Apples, grapes
Carrots, cherry tomatoes
Nut butter, Nuts
Trail Mix
Snack bars, muffins
Sandwiches or wraps
Hummus
Yogurt

Some of the foods will require a cooler, while others do not. Pack some of each, hit the road and enjoy your trip!

Shrimp Quinoa Casserole

shrimp-quinoa-casserole

Super easy to prepare and packed with protein!

Difficulty: Easy
Total Number of Servings: 4
Serving Size: approximately 1 cup

Ingredients:

¾ lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
½ C chopped onion
½ tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp tomato paste
3 tbsp olive oil
2½ tsp cajun seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
2½ C cooked quinoa

Instructions:

1. Toss the shrimp and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning together, set aside.
2. Toss the tomatoes with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp Cajun seasoning, set aside.
3. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium heat in a cast iron skillet (or any oven-safe skillet.) 4. Cook the shrimp until opaque, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
5. Add the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pan along with the onion, jalapeno and garlic. Cook until the onion and jalapeno are tender, stirring often. Mix in the quinoa, tomato paste, ½ tsp Cajun seasoning and tomato. Top with the shrimp.
6. Place in the oven and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

Berry Basil Pops

berry-basil-pops

There is nothing better than a cold treat after being out in the heat on a hot summer day, the problem is traditional popsicles are loaded with sugar, dye and low in nutrients.  Try this easy homemade version for a twist.

Prep: 5 min.
Assembly: 2 min.
Cook: let freeze approx. 1 hour
Yields: 4 pops

Ingredients:

1 c fresh or frozen berries of your choice (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and black berries)
½ c pure pomegranate juice
½ c water
¼ c fresh basil chopped

Directions:

Blend all ingredients until smooth and pour into Popsicle molds. Freeze and serve when ready.