There is no magic pill or potion to make stress and anxiety disappear. But we got juice. And that’s a start.
It goes without saying, these are stressful times. Between home life, work life, work at home life, love life, family life, friend life, mask life, new normal life, and all the other factors comprising pandemic life, our cortisol levels are higher than ever, resulting in more stress and anxiety.
You probably know this but here’s how it works: cortisol levels rise with stress. As cortisol builds-up in the system we become anxious and irritable, even depressed. We’re also more susceptible to inflammation, digestive problems, weight gain, sleep problems and fluctuating energy levels.
We talk about cortisol constantly as this pesky little hormone that causes wrinkles and breakouts, and of course, stress and anxiety. But what really is cortisol and what can we do about it?
(Scroll for juice suggestions below or nerd out here with me for a minute to learn the science behind the madness.)
What is cortisol?
Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands which sit on top of each kidney. When released into the bloodstream, cortisol can act on many different parts of the body and can help:
- your body respond to stress or danger
- increase your body’s metabolism of glucose
- control your blood pressure
- reduce inflammation.
Cortisol is also needed for the fight or flight response which is a healthy, natural response to perceived threats. The amount of cortisol produced is highly regulated by your body to ensure the balance is correct.
What happens when you produce too much or little cortisol?
Your body usually produces the right amount of cortisol. In a condition such as Cushing’s syndrome, it produces too much. In a condition such as Addison’s disease, it produces too little.
Symptoms of too much cortisol include:
- weight gain, particularly around the abdomen and face
- thin and fragile skin that is slow to heal
- for women, facial hair and irregular menstrual periods.
Symptoms of not enough cortisol include:
- continual tiredness
- nausea and vomiting
- weight loss
- muscle weakness
- pain in the abdomen.
You can proactively reduce stress and anxiety by incorporating ingredients proven to help balance and lower cortisol levels, including Vitamin C and adaptogenic herbs (ancient remedies for stress-related problems).
Juicing has a myriad of benefits including greater concentration of nutrients per ounce, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, and enhanced absorption of key anti-stress actors, ie, more cortisol-balancing Vitamin C and adaptogenic herbs. Within minutes of enjoying a fresh or cold-pressed juice, we start to digest and reap the benefits of several nutrients. So no, it’s not magic, but juicing might help us start breathing that much needed sigh of stress relief sooner.
Get Your Juice On
“Dear juicer, sorry you’re covered in dust. It just didn’t work out.”
I am absolutely NOT going to give you dozens of fresh juice recipes because I have tried and failed at homemade juicing on more occasions than I’m willing to admit. While fresh juice is great, the reality is that we are already moving at 1000 miles an hour; it’s just so much easier to grab a cold-pressed juice from Target and run. Enter Suja, an accessible and mainstream cold-pressed juice and kombucha brand with great options for beginners looking to get their juice on.
“Our plant-powered beverages are organic, never (ever) GMO and free of preservatives, fillers and chemicals. From our cold-pressed juice to our functional shots and our slow-brewed Kombucha, find a drink that’s right for you.” – Suja
If you ARE ambitious enough to dust off that juicer you insisted on getting two years ago, the Ordinary Vegan has two recipes to help you get juicing and jiving without all the stress holding you back!
Cheers to ginseng no tonic!
“The role of cortisol in the body”, Health Direct, Australian Government Department of Health
“Juicing vs. Blending: Which Is Better for Me?”, Healthline
“Juicing To Lower Cortisol Levels That Cause Stress and Anxiety”, Ordinary Vegan
The above is not substitute for conventional medical service. If you are in need of medical assistance, please consult a physician.