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Stressed Out? 3 Supplements to Keep Your Cortisol Levels in Check

7 min read

Stress is one of the biggest causes of disease, but that doesn’t stop the majority of us from regularly getting stressed to the max. Blame modern living. Blame inboxes that never stop dinging. Blame a success-obsessed culture that awards overwork but not rest or self-care.

Stress is a totally normal human response, but the issue with modern day stresses is that there is no resolution. We aren’t in fight or flight situations. We live in a state of harassment by any number of small, persistent stressors (most of them coming from ever-present technological devices), all of which seem to pile on to each other and never peter out.

But our innate stress response system only does “on” or “off”. It doesn’t calibrate based on the type of stress, so even those minor stressors wipe our bodies out. It’s why you’re so darn exhausted when you finally go on vacation once a year. You’re finally able to step back and breathe for the first time in months.

While you may not be able to slow your life down, you can utilize natural supplements to mitigate the amount of harm all that stress does on your body. How? With natural herbs and minerals.

Here are three stress-busting superstars to add to your pantry.

1. Ashwagandha

This adaptogenic Ayurvedic herb is becoming more and more popular as a powerful stress mitigator. And in this case, science and traditional medicine are actually on the same side.

Ashwagandha is a sort of adrenal tonic, preventing the glands from getting overburdened and helping them heal from chronic burnout when consumed long-term. As an adaptogenic, it helps the body maintain homeostasis, even in times of physical and mental stress.

There is evidence that ashwagandha is able to lower cortisol levels and balance thyroid hormones, which means it can keep your body stable, even when external factors are trying to push it all out of whack.

You can find ashwagandha root extract in both capsule and powdered form. The powder can make a nourishing addition to smoothies, or even warming drinks like golden milk for daily consumption.

Dried cordyceps militaris isolated on red background.

2. Cordyceps

These mushrooms may be the newest thing to hit your medicine cabinet. Cordyceps are powerful mushrooms that are well-known for their ability to help your body adapt to stress. Not only do they keep stress hormones in check, but they prevent bodily fatigue during times of stress as well.

In research, mice were able to swim 12.5 percent longer before fatiguing when administered cordyceps. Cordyceps have the added benefit of being a powerful immune system booster. Cordyceps has even been shown to have an anti-cancer effect in studies.

While you can purchase cordyceps as a supplement, it also comes in powdered and tea form. Four Sigmatic makes a delicious and popular cordyceps elixir that might be the perfect tea to add to your stress-busting wellness arsenal.

Almonds Can Improve Sleep

3. Magnesium

Good old magnesium! Unlike ashwagandha and cordyceps, practically everyone knows what magnesium is. But what everyone doesn’t know is just how important it is for stress management.

Stress causes our bodies to deplete our magnesium stores. The more cortisol floating around your body, the less magnesium. So, odds are you could benefit from more of it.

Magnesium works to reduce anxiety, relax muscles, and balance cortisol levels. If you find that you suffer from stress-induced insomnia, taking some magnesium before bed may be just the ticket.

Good food sources of magnesium include almonds, dark chocolate, spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, avocados, bananas, and black beans. It may also be helpful to indulge in magnesium-rich epsom salt baths or use magnesium oil topically to supplement your diet, especially if you’re particularly high strung.

While chronic stress requires a multi-faceted lifestyle shift that includes gentle exercise, self-care time, meditation, and more, there is a lot that these minerals and herbs can offer. Stress will come and go, but the ability to handle it without getting pummeled is key.

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