Nutrients Help Fight Effects of Stress Hormone

When you’re in the midst of priming yourself for a battle against the effects of stress, consider the power of these nutritious foods to fight inflammation and other symptoms created by cortisol.

Your diet won’t win your victory by itself, but when combined with exercise, meditation and other measures it can bring your body back into balance and able to handle whatever life throws at you next.


Better food generally won’t be a quick fix for your stress — it takes time for your body to absorb nutrients and repair damage before it begins to build you back. But the quickest-acting mineral you can try is likely to be magnesium, which promotes relaxation while metabolizing cortisol and lowering blood pressure. These foods are especially rich in magnesium:

  • Spinach
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Dark chocolate
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Nuts, especially almond and cashews


This essential nutrient balances blood sugar, curbs overeating (including stress eating) and provides emotional support through tryptophan:

  • Chicken or turkey breast
  • Eggs
  • Lentils
  • Quinoa
  • Lean beef
  • Chia seeds
  • Peanuts
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus

Omega-3 fatty acids

These champion anti-inflammatory chemicals are important in everyone’s diet, but especially when you’re fighting the fight-or-flight syndrome:

  • Anchovies
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel and other oily fishes
  • Flaxseeds
  • Olive oil
  • Walnuts

Vitamin B12

All B vitamins, especially B12, are especially important for metabolizing cortisol:

  • Fortified cereals
  • Organ meats
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Dairy products

Vitamin C

This nutrient is critical in bringing your cortisol and blood sugar levels down to a manageable level after their surges in reaction to stressful events. Try:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blackberries
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cantaloupe


Keeping yourself hydrated will be key to fighting the effects of cortisol. If your adrenal glands are constantly pumping out the stress hormone, they will eventually be depleted, which could lead to lower electrolyte levels.

Dehydration can raise your cortisol levels and is a known trigger for panic attacks.