It’s likely that you’ve heard about the detrimental effects of the stress hormone cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels and chronic stress can affect every physiological system in your body. It can make you tired, anxious and irritable; lead to weight gain, bone loss, high blood pressure, insomnia and digestive issues; and contribute to diabetes and heart disease risk.

Cortisol is also known as the aging hormone. When cortisol gets too high, it puts you into a “fight-or-flight” mode, which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system and adrenal glands. Your body isn’t meant to be in this emergency stress mode constantly but, unfortunately, this is how many people spend the majority of their days. Chronic stress will ultimately burn out your adrenal glands, stress your digestive tract, cause you to gain weight around your tummy and age you more rapidly.

Getting a handle on your stress levels is essential to looking and feeling healthy, as well as aging gracefully. Luckily, there are a handful of herbal remedies, lifestyle hacks and functional techniques for balancing cortisol and alleviating stress and anxiety naturally.

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for good health and vitality. It is considered the ‘anti-stress’ nutrient as it helps to calm and support the nervous system making it beneficial for people with anxiety and trouble sleeping. Magnesium deficiencies are associated with fatigue, weakness, twitching and muscle cramps, and a predisposition to anxiety and insomnia.

Magnesium occurs abundantly in whole foods and the best dietary sources include: legumes, seeds (flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds), nuts (cashews, peanuts, almonds), whole grains (oats, millet, quinoa), avocados, sea vegetables, and green leafy vegetables such as spinach. Since up to 70% of the population is deficient in magnesium, I suggest a supplement, like Natural Calm. The recommended dosage is 300-400 mg of elemental magnesium daily.


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