Nobody enjoys cortisol. Cortisol has no ups other than saving your life in a life or death situation by kicking you into the fight or flight instinct, but that’s short-term cortisol. What cortisol does have is a ton of downs, especially long-term cortisol. Unless you’re a caveman living under a rock, you know all about cortisol and the nasty primitive hormone’s downsides. You want to lower cortisol. Everyone wants to lower cortisol and stress. Well good damn thing this post with foods that lower cortisol is in the works and will be up and lowering cortisol nationwide.
11 Greatest Foods That Lower Cortisol
- Antioxidants – acai, grapes, berries, pomegranates, and prunes
- Vitamin C rich foods – strawberries and pineapple
- Starchy carbs – potatoes and white rice
- Onions and garlic
Antioxidants are pretty much foods that relax you inside and out – they relax your brain as well as your body. They do that by lowering oxide stress. When your immune system and body mechanisms function smoother your cortisol levels drop and you can enjoy being in a relaxed state. Antioxidants taste great and are convenient. I don’t see any downs yet, maybe some of them are a little pricier.
Antioxidants have a bigger impact than I thought. A lot of oxide stress alone is a leading cause of hypogonadism (low testosterone levels). Crazy how just eating more antioxidants can increase testosterone a lot, and of course lower cortisol (study).
Antioxidants need to be the foundation of foods that lower cortisol.
Low antioxidant intake and being an athlete, strength trainer, bodybuilder, or sportsman = a lot of cell damage (study).
“Total antioxidant capacity was significantly decreased (75% decrease) in all patients during chemotherapy. Lower antioxidant levels and higher cortisol concentration were detected.”
“Male patients presenting lower antioxidant status and higher cortisol. A significant and persistent decrease in antioxidant capacity accompanied by increased cortisol concentration was observed.” – study.
Acai are berries that grow on palms mostly in Brazil. They’re crazy packed with antioxidants, more than any other food out there. Acai has 10 times the antioxidant level of grapes and twice the antioxidant level of blueberries!! Acai has 10 to 30 times the Anthocyanins of red wine.
Acai berries are packed with all omega fatty acids – omega 3s, omega 6s, and omega 9s. Most of those omega fatty acids are anti-inflammatory.
There are 19 different amino acids in acai berries.
Thing with acai berries is they’re hard to come across, especially fresh harvests. Unless you find some then you can go with acai juice. Acai juice is sold at Costco and probably some other local food stores. You can get it on Amazon too here.
Grapes are high in antioxidants and they inhibit aromatase.
The skin of red grapes has a component, resveratrol, which inhibits aromatase. The seeds of red grapes have another component, proanthocyanidin, which inhibits aromatase as well.
Proanthocyanidin does something else too – lowers cortisol.
Red and green grapes – rich in vitamin C and vitamin K and a good amount of copper.
Another delicious antioxidant and aromatase inhibitor – all kinds of berries.
Blackberries – rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, manganese, and a good amount of copper and vitamin E.
Grapes and berries are a great addition to foods that lower cortisol – convenient, delicious, and you can grow them yourself (natural and 100% organic) if you have some land space.
Pomegranate is the world’s greatest fruit.
- increases testosterone
- inhibits aromatase and lowers estrogen
- lowers oxide stress and cortisol
- increases nitric oxide
- increases red blood cells
- packed with vitamins and minerals
- juice alternative
- tastes like paradise
This study says – pomegranates improve sperm quality and increase testosterone in rats.
This study concluded that consumption of pomegranate pure juice has significantly increased salivary testosterone levels (average of 24%) in addition to effects on blood pressure, mood and the positive scores of anxiety and emotions in a large group of workers from different disciplines.
This study found that red blood cell resistance to free radicals is negatively associated with mortality in this species suggests that benefits of sexual signaling might trade against the costs derived from oxidation.
Pomegranate – high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K, thiamin, folate, manganese, copper, and potassium. It also has some Vitamin E, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, iron, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus.
Another antioxidant and a food that lowers SHBG as well.
Prunes – High in vitamin K, vitamin B6, and potassium. They also have a good amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, choline, magnesium, potassium, copper, and manganese. As you can see prunes are packed with all kinds of good stuff and they are an antioxidant.
Get some dried prunes here.
Vitamin C Rich Foods
Vitamin C is a pretty great vitamin…
- Lowers cortisol (study)
- Reduced the increases in circulating cortisol, adrenaline and anti-inflammatory polypeptides (study)
- Strongly and uniquely associated with stimulated and endogenous spontaneous GH secretion (study)
- Prevents endurance exercise-induced lipid peroxidation and muscle damage (study)
- Reduces systemic oxidation (study)
Foods that are rich in vitamin C are foods that lower cortisol. Strawberries and pineapples have the highest vitamin C content per 100g.
Strawberries – a cup of strawberries gets you 90mg of vitamin C. That’s 150% of the recommended daily intake. Other than that strawberries are high in manganese.
Pineapple – a cup of pineapple gets you 79mg of vitamin C. That’s 131% of the recommended daily intake. Other than that pineapples are high in manganese as well.
Starchy carbs are an essential addition to foods that lower cortisol since carbs are efficient at lowering cortisol.
The study here found that testosterone concentrations in seven normal men were consistently higher after ten days on a high carbohydrate diet than during a high protein diet. Their cortisol concentrations were consistently lower during the high carbohydrate diet than during the high protein diet. And the diets were equal in total calories and fat.
Then this study found that the stress hormone cortisol increases rapidly when trained athletes are put on low-carb diets.
Potatoes – one potato packs 27.4g of carbs, 2.5g of protein, a lot of Vitamin C, thiamin, niacin, Vitamin B-6, potassium, and copper.
White rice – high in manganese, has a good amount of thiamin, niacin, folate, and selenium. White rice is high in starch and low in fiber.
Onions and Garlic
I’m yet to find a bad thing about onions and garlics. They’re just great in all ways.
This study concluded – organic solvent and aqueous extracts of garlic and shallot bulbs had significant antioxidant potential, as measured by decreases in free radicals and an ability to inhibit lipid oxidation.
This study shows that the antioxidant properties of garlic compounds: allyl disulfide, alliin, allicin, and allyl cysteine exhibit different patterns of antioxidant activities as protective compounds against free radical damage.
This study found out that allicin, a thiosulfinate extract of garlic, has been presumed to be a very strong antioxidant.
“Testosterone contents in the testis were significantly higher and plasma corticosterone concentrations were significantly lower in rats fed 40 and 25% casein diets with garlic powder than in those fed the same diets without garlic powder.” – study.
Rats that drank onion juice for 3 weeks tripled their testosterone levels (314% increase) (study).
Onions – Rich in vitamin C and a good amount of vitamin B6 and manganese.
Garlic – Rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus, selenium and manganese. Also have a good amount of choline, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, iron, and thiamin. Superfood status.
There you have it – 11 greatest foods that lower cortisol.