Joey, from The Functional Edition is back with another guest nutrition blog….
Members can get 50% off a consultation with Joey, ask a member of our team for details.

At the studio we are often talking about cortisol levels – commonly known as the stress hormone. Cold therapy (the cryo), heat therapy (the infrared sauna) and HIIT (the vasper) are all examples of a concept known as Hormesis which is the process of short term stresses on the body (raising those cortisol levels) result in long term benefits, making our bodies more resilient and able to deal with other stresses. 

So we know that in this respect some cortisol is good for us, but what we don’t want is chronically high levels of cortisol over long periods of times as this can lead to inflammatory and metabolic diseases, suppressed immune function, weight management issues, cognitive impairment, digestive and gut problems, mood disruptions, sleep disruptions, muscle and bones deterioration, hormone imbalances leading to things like low libido and fertility issues, and accelerated ageing. 

So how, aside from all the great things we are doing in the studio, can we keep cortisol levels in check? Here are our top tips;

  • Regular, consistent exercise and getting outside; Coming to the studio is great, but if possible also incorporate some outdoor movement into you exercise each week, even a 20 min walk can really help reduce cortisol, and being in nature in a great natural way to reduce stress. 
  • Ensure you have good quality sleep; This is not just quantity but quality, make sure you are getting periods of deep regenerative sleep each night. A good sleep routine will help you achieve this, regular bedtimes and wake times, a good sleeping environment which is cool and relaxing, including limiting screen time and not eating too close to bedtime.
  • Focusing on how your nutrition can support your cortisol is critical; consuming too much refined sugar and processed foods creates stress and inflammation in the body so focus on sticking to a whole food diet with a good balance of protein, fibre, fats and carbs in very important. Limiting caffeine and alcohol can be very beneficial in reducing overall cortisol levels too. Look at adding in some supplements such as  Omega-3s, probiotics and adaptogens, such as Ashwangandha, is also an easy way to help support gut health and reduce stress in the body.
  • Lastly, emotional stress plays a big part on cortisol, so ensure you are making time in your life for fun, social activities or mindful and creative pursuits that bring you joy and help you relax. 

All of these things are very personalised and next week we will be explaining how the hormonal testing kits available in the studio can help you get a picture of what’s going on specifically with your body. In the mean time please feel free to talk to Max about any concerns you have, or Joey if you would like further tips specifically in relation to nutrition. 

Got a question about Cortisol or anything else on this topic, head over to Facebook or Instagram and comment in the post.