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Balance Your Cortisol Levels in a Day With This Meal Plan

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The 21st century is full of experiences that are high-tech, captivating and demanding. Whether you feel you are managing your day-to-day demands sufficiently, or feel overwhelmed by daily stressors, we are all searching for solutions to help us live a more harmonious lifestyle. There is no secret to discovering how to deal with everyday stress. Making the connection can be as easy as becoming familiar with cortisol and the areas in the body that are influenced by it and thereby increases cortisol.

How a Cortisol Imbalance Affects Your Body

Cortisol1 is a steroid hormone aka the “stress hormone” made by the adrenal cortex that helps the body respond to stress. It’s the body’s natural way of increasing energy levels to overcome stressors. Cortisol reacts to all kinds of stressors such as a busy lifestyle, lack of sleep, elevated heart rate, emotional health and also environmental factors. Too much cortisol can cause major changes in the body and can be the underlying cause of increased blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, a poor immune system and excessive belly fat. 

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After a night of too little sleep (5.5 hours or less) your circadian rhythm and hormone balance is disrupted, which can lead to a surge in blood glucose levels and, in turn, increases in fat storage. This is compounded with a rise in cortisol levels from tension placed on your body due to lack of sleep and/or stress.

A rise in cortisol levels can lead to irritability, increases in fat retention, blood glucose, reductions in free and total testosterone plus increases in cravings of simple sugars.

When you experience real or imagined stress you are likely to release adrenaline and cortisol, which trigger the production of glucose. A rise in cortisol levels can lead to irritability, increases in fat retention, blood glucose, reductions in free and total testosterone plus increases in cravings of simple sugars.

The key is to create healthy routines for yourself to ensure regulated cortisol levels because chronically low levels2, also known as adrenal fatigue, have symptoms that include chronic fatigue, anxiety and depression, decreased metabolism and sugar cravings.

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The Benefits of Restoring Balance to Your Cortisol Levels

So many demands make it challenging to prioritize a better lifestyle, but resetting your adrenal hormones is easier than you think. If you feel overwhelmed by your daily demands, know that you can gain control of your overall health by intentionally making better choices to balance your cortisol levels. When cortisol is in its optimum state, it maintains your energy levels so that you have most of your energy in the earlier part of your day, and then a gradual decrease to ensure the right amount of rest in the evening. You will also notice an improvement in your metabolism and emotional health with a hormonal balance.

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You can take corrective action to reduce cortisol levels, which has been shown to improve stress responses and the quality of your sleep. Lifestyle modifications include exercise, meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness and shutting off electronics.

Micronutrients That Balance Cortisol Levels

Effective supplementation options that can be easily incorporated are to drink rooibos tea, take 600 mg of ashwaghanda or 400 mg of Rhodiola Rosea as needed. Ashwaghanda3 has a proven reputation for treating depression, anxiety, enhancing work performance, eliminating stress-related fatigue and treating symptoms resulting from intense psychological stress.

Processed foods and toxins injected into meats are some of the most common external factors to play a role in increased cortisol.  By omitting these items from your diet, you can prevent negative effects on your hormone levels. Replacing sugars, processed carbohydrates, and grains with good fats, grass-fed meats, and Thermo-approved carbs requires some planning but also has longer-term benefits.

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Thermo Diet Encourages Hormonal Balance

The Thermo Diet is a dietary philosophy based on the principles of thermogenesis and the process of restoring the body to its natural healthy condition. This diet encourages people to increase their body temperature and metabolism by eating a diet rich in carbohydrates, proteins and good fats. The Thermo Diet centers around two principal players in the modern diet: blockers and activators. Blockers are compounds that inhibit the proper flow of energy through the body. Activators are nutrients that remove the blockers and allow the body to operate at an optimal level.

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By increasing activators and decreasing blockers, the Thermo Diet is one of the best ways to reduce cortisol levels, regulate nutrient deficiencies, correct hormonal imbalances and bolster the immune system against disease and health problems. In other words, by cutting down on inflammation and nutrient deficiency, you are reinforcing better performance and energy levels. These are two important factors that determine adequate sleep which contributes to balanced cortisol levels. The Thermo Diet eliminates inflammation by ridding all polyunsaturated fats and processed foods, therefore allowing the maximum absorption of nutrients.  This is why the Thermo Diet is not only adopted for weight loss purposes, but it is also favored for its assistance in controlling and lowering high cortisol levels.  

All of these principles align with balancing your cortisol levels to help increase overall wellness and reduce chronic stress. Knowing that food plays the most significant role in your health and is related to balancing your cortisol, is truly life changing. You can learn more about the Thermo Diet here.

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Sample Three-Meal plan

Breakfast

  • Egg, tomato and mushroom omelette
  • Cup of mixed berries
  • Coffee

Why this works: Eggs are a great source of vitamins and minerals and are loaded with protein. Combine your protein with carbohydrates and fiber by adding raspberries and strawberries. This is an easy solution to increasing your fiber intake which will help reduce inflammation.

Mid Morning Snack

  • Handful of macadamia nuts
  • Banana

Why this works: Macadamia nuts contain antioxidants and support healthy immune systems. Even though calories per serving are a little high, keep in mind that those calories are rich in nutrients. Combine this with a banana for added fiber for a mid-morning snack.

Lunch

  • 1 Serving wild salmon
  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Cucumber and tomato salad

Why this works: Salmon is believed to have positive effects on stress hormones, and the healthy fats in salmon are considered “essential,” meaning you must get them from your diet since your body can’t create them.

Dinner

  • Grilled chicken stir-fry (onions, bell peppers)
  • White rice or potatoes

Why this works: Bell peppers are high in vitamin C. Consuming carbohydrates in the evening will promote relaxation and a great night’s sleep.

Know How to Lower Cortisol Naturally

It all comes down to knowledge and putting that knowledge into practice. Cortisol has its place in a healthy functioning body. However, excess levels are a recipe for illness and low quality of life. Once you know how to reduce cortisol, you hold the key to reversing sickness, disease and stress.

The research and development team here at UMZU has created an all-natural, clinically-proven cortisol reducer that we call Cortigon. Our clients say it helps them become the best version of themselves. But don’t just take our word for it; see for yourself!

Citations and Sources

1.
Chan S, Debono M. Replication of cortisol circadian rhythm: new advances in hydrocortisone replacement therapy. Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2010;1(3):129-138. [PMC]
2.
Garabedian M, Harris C, Jeanneteau F. Glucocorticoid receptor action in metabolic and neuronal function. F1000Res. 2017;6:1208. [PMC]
3.
Olsson E, von Schéele B, Panossian A. A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Parallel-Group Study of the Standardised Extract SHR-5 of the Roots ofRhodiola roseain the Treatment of Subjects with Stress-Related Fatigue. Planta Med. 2008;75(02):105-112. doi:10.1055/s-0028-1088346
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Trey Triplette

Trey is a Certified Nutritionist, AADE Diabetes Coach and owner of 3natural Bionutrition. A former Division I college athlete who played football for the Louisiana State University Tigers staying in shape and optimizing nutrition performance is nothing new to him. 3natural Bionutrition provides a wide range of all-natural solutions for all types of dietary restrictions, eating habits and health-related goals to optimize your performance, recovery, training, health and quality of life. Trey received his training from San Francisco College where he studied a myriad of nutritional aspects including but not limited to clinical nutrition, food service, food science, and nutritional biochemistry. While attaining his certification he took part in many nutritional research studies and projects and community organizations and nutritional health centers such as the Children’s Council of San Francisco. He also actively supports the San Diego Ag in the Classroom, Oceanside Chamber of Commerce, Camp Pendleton Armed Services, Triathlon Club of San Diego and Alpha Bridge Partners to name a few.
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