Feeling Stressed? Here are the Best 5 Foods That Naturally Reduce Cortisol, the Stress Hormone

Stress is common in our daily lives, but too much of it can have horrible consequences. Stress management can help us deal with difficulties, and part of this includes knowing what to eat. Certain foods can help lower cortisol, the most common stress hormone, and boost mental wellbeing greatly.

Stress can be managed with nutrition – source

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to help reduce stress, including causes, daily habits to reduce it, and foods that naturally reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

What is Stress

Stress is the body’s response to a situation, resulting in physical, emotional, and mental distress. Many consider it an emotional reaction, but in truth, it is also a physical mechanism in the body. 


Stress can cause your heart rate to rise, your blood pressure to go up, and your breathing to quicken. It may tense the muscles, reduce digestion, and even cause you to go into fight or flight.

Fight or flight is an evolutionary trait that protected our ancestors from danger, and prepared them to either fight off the threat or run from it. In the modern world, there are few tigers to fight or run from, but there are stressors that can cause a similar reaction.


Stress may be caused by many things. Some can be as simple as sitting in traffic, thinking about an upcoming meeting, trying to meet work deadlines, or even paying bills. Stress causes mental fatigue and physical damage to the body, especially when it becomes chronic.


Small amounts of stress are good for you. It can help you focus and makes you more alert. This can be helpful for a presentation or any situation that needs your full attention. It may even be due to exercise. However, chronic stress, as in constant stress, can put your health at risk.

Chronic stress leads to muscle aches and pain, trouble sleeping, and unfocused thoughts. It may even lead to inflammation in the body, high blood pressure, and eventually diseases like cardiovascular disease. This is due to the constant flood of cortisol in the body, the stress hormone. Cortisol impacts the immune system, nervous system, muscular system, respiratory system, and more. Basically, every part of your body. Too much can cause weight gain, muscle weakness, diabetes, hypertension, and weakened bones.

5 Foods that Reduce Cortisol, the Stress Hormone

Without further ado, here are 5 foods that help reduce the stress hormone cortisol.

1. Omega 3

These help reduce inflammation and cortisol greatly. Many get their omega 3 from fish but you can also get it from walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, and olive oil.

2. Magnesium

Magnesium is essential for many processes in the body, including muscle relaxation, reducing inflammation, and reducing cortisol. It is also good for heart health as it regulates the heartbeat and lowers blood pressure. Food high in this includes pumpkin seeds, almonds, pistachios, bananas, avocados, spinach, dark chocolate, and broccoli.

3. Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 can help reduce and metabolize cortisol, reducing it in the body. Foods high in B12 include meat products, especially organ meat, eggs, nutritional yeast, and fortified cereals.

4. Fermented Foods

Fermented foods help boost the immune system, can help increase digestion, and support a healthy metabolism. Plus, most of the serotonin, a happiness hormone, used by the body is created in the gut, so regulating microbiota can have a great effect on mental wellbeing. Eat fermented foods like sauerkraut , kefir, greek yogurt, kimchi, and kombucha.

5. Beans and Legumes

Foods that help regulate blood sugar are also vital in managing stress and reducing cortisol. Going too long between meals can actually cause stress, so make sure you are eating regularly, and reach for high-fiber and protein options, like beans and legumes, that also act as antioxidants. 

Daily Habits to Reduce Stress Hormone

Here are some daily habits that can further help you manage stress.

The Takeaway

Stress is normal, but there are ways we can reduce it in our day-to-day lives. Chronic stress is the cause of many preventable diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Certain foods can lower the stress hormone cortisol, which can naturally give us a boost in mental wellbeing.

Remember that health comes from within, so eat well, exercise daily, and take care of your mental health. Daily habits are the building blocks from which mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing flourish. Try to take care of your gut health too! Microbiota health affects everything from muscles and bone health to digestion, metabolism, and mental health! Get your complete guide to gut microbiota health for free here today.

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