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Question
Posted by: Thuli | 2012/01/11

cortisol

Hi diet doc, due to chronic massive stress in my life my cortisol levels are way high, can u recommend any foods to avoid or anything to eat in particular, to bring this hormone level down? I cannot do it by reducing stress right now as the cause of the stress is so in-my-face as to be impossible to get away from. But I realise my stress hormone levels are skyrocketing and I am gaining mid-section weight despite exercising and eating healthily. Can you suggest some specific dietary changes I could make to reduce ths hormone in my body?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDietDoc

Dear Thuli
I am so sorry to hear that you are being subjected to mega-stress and that your cortisol levels are skyrocketing. This is a very detrimental situation and can result in so-called adrenal fatigue which influences every aspect of your metabolism including the function of the thyroid gland. My first advice would be: "get out of that situation ASAP", but you say that you can't just yet, so one option is to get assistance from a clinical psychologist who can help you learn how to cope with stress more effectively (relaxing and deep breathing exercises and mental adjustments so that the stress is not all conquering). From a dietary point of view, athletes keep their cortisol levels under control by using carbohydrates (e.g. energy drinks, etc). You may find that if you use low-glycaemic index (GI) carbs throughout the day (Click on 'Diet & Nutrition' and 'Weight loss' and 'The Glycaemic Index' and read the articles on the GI) plus a complete vitamin and mineral supplement (Centrum or Supradyn Forte), that you can lower these soaring cortisol levels. If you find it tricky to adjust to a low-fat, low-GI diet please consult a registered dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area).
Hang in there, but get out as soon as possible to save your health and immune system.
Best regards
DietDoc

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Our users say:
Posted by: DietDoc | 2012/01/11

Dear Thuli
I am so sorry to hear that you are being subjected to mega-stress and that your cortisol levels are skyrocketing. This is a very detrimental situation and can result in so-called adrenal fatigue which influences every aspect of your metabolism including the function of the thyroid gland. My first advice would be: "get out of that situation ASAP", but you say that you can't just yet, so one option is to get assistance from a clinical psychologist who can help you learn how to cope with stress more effectively (relaxing and deep breathing exercises and mental adjustments so that the stress is not all conquering). From a dietary point of view, athletes keep their cortisol levels under control by using carbohydrates (e.g. energy drinks, etc). You may find that if you use low-glycaemic index (GI) carbs throughout the day (Click on 'Diet & Nutrition' and 'Weight loss' and 'The Glycaemic Index' and read the articles on the GI) plus a complete vitamin and mineral supplement (Centrum or Supradyn Forte), that you can lower these soaring cortisol levels. If you find it tricky to adjust to a low-fat, low-GI diet please consult a registered dietitian (visit the Association for Dietetics in SA Website at: www.adsa.org.za and click on "Find a Dietitian" to find a dietitian in your area).
Hang in there, but get out as soon as possible to save your health and immune system.
Best regards
DietDoc

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