Conquering Cortisol with Food
Let’s talk cortisol! Cortisol is a cholesterol-based hormone that is strongly associated with the human stress response. In fact, it is often known as the “stress hormone.” As the body perceives stress, the adrenal glands (small walnut shaped glands located on the top of each kidney) release cortisol into the bloodstream as part of the fight-or-flight mechanism. Although cortisol is essential for managing acute stress, when the stress doesn’t stop, cortisol continues to be released and levels in the blood can remain elevated. Cortisol’s effects on the body are wide and varied. Some of the ways exposure to chronically elevated levels of cortisol can impact the body include:1
- Depressed immune cell function
- Heightened muscle tissue breakdown
- Challenges initiating sleep
Fortunately, there are a few things that can be done to help the body better deal with the effects of stress and minimize the health risk from exposure to chronically elevated cortisol levels. In addition to stress management techniques like meditation, exercise, and deep breathing, one of the biggest ways to impact health is through supplying the body with nutrient dense foods. The food choices one makes can have a deep, lasting impact on health:
- Foods rich in plant-based omega-3: Adequate levels of omega 3s are associated with several markers of health as well as lower inflammatory markers and blunted stress response.2 Omega-3 rich plant foods include chia seeds, Brussels sprouts, hemp hearts, walnuts, and certain algae sources.
- Foods rich in Polyphenols: Polyphenols are abundant phytonutrients found in every plant food. Polyphenols serve as a powerful, whole body health support, but play a special role in the stress response by preventing dampening of the immune response due to the impact of stress on the body.3 Brightly colored spices, herbs, and plants like wild blueberries, turmeric, parsley, and tomatoes are amazing sources of polyphenols among other health enhancing nutrients.
- Foods rich in Vitamin C: Although humans do not “store” vitamin C, the adrenal glands have among the highest amounts of Vitamin C in the body. Interestingly, secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH, a hormone secreted by the pituitary whose key function is to signal production of more cortisol) has been shown to preferentially increase the levels of vitamin C in the kidney’s blood supply over peripheral tissues.4 Vitamin C rich foods include bell peppers, strawberries, kiwis, and citrus.
In addition to diet, including potent stress-squashing botanicals like Vimergy Organic Lemon Balm and Vimergy Organic Ashwagandha and cellular level nutrients found in Vimergy Vegan EPA & DHA, Vimergy Micro-C, and Vimergy Adapto-B capsules provides multi-dimensional health and stress balancing support. Formulated with potency, purity, and performance in mind, this Vimergy bunch is ready to support you with both the expected and the surprises in your health and life.