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PTSD Professional Perspective: Foods to Fight Cortisol

Posted Feb 26 2010 12:00am

Friday, February 26th, 2010 • •

katie-against-tree-full-length1 A typical PTSD symptom is a high level of cortisol. Did you know there are holistic ways to bring it down? 

A couple of weeks ago Katie Humphrey taught us about how to use exercise to combat cortisol . Today, she continues the cortisol attack with a great post on how to use nutrition to lower your stress hormone level.

Cortisol can be counteracted through consistent exercise and proper eating habits. Did you know that certain foods can either reduce or increase the production of cortisol? Read on to discover which foods will help you decrease cortisol and which ones may raise it.

help to lower cortisol. This includes whole grain bread and cereals, oat bran, oatmeal, beans, citrus fruits, strawberries, beets, and carrots.

can help to prevent a rise in cortisol and protect from other indications of stress. It can be found in green peppers, citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes and broccoli.

, specifically the tryptophan found in whey, can increase serotonin, thus lowering cortisol levels. Whey protein powder can make a delicious shake.

activates the HPA axis, causing the adrenals to produce more cortisol. Studies indicate that consuming more than one drink per day may increase cortisol levels.

ncreases cortisol secretion when consuming more than 200 milligrams per day.

may elevate cortisol levels if an individual is gluten-intolerant. It can be found in any product containing wheat. Talk to your doctor if you think you may be intolerant to gluten.

, mainly coming from sodium in packaged foods, modifies an enzyme that turns cortisone into cortisol. Watch the amount of packaged foods you are consuming. It’s best to stick with whole, natural foods (Michaels 130-131).


Michaels, Jillian. Master Your Metabolism. New York, New York: Crown Publishers, 2009. 

Katie Humphrey helps women gain the knowledge, confidence and motivation to live a healthy life. Many women have enjoyed the benefits of Katie’s personal training and nutrition coaching in her home studio as well as through online training and nutrition plans. Katie is a Certified Personal Trainer and owner of Katie Humphrey Fitness in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

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