Natural Sources of Cortisol

Cortisol is a hormone used in stabilizing metabolic processes in your body. It is secreted by your adrenal glands in response to heightened stress levels. However, there are several food sources that can potentially increase natural cortisol levels. When introduced in different dosages and levels within the bloodstream, cortisol can produce numerous side effects on your body. Patients with Addison's disease, secondary adrenal insufficiency and hypopituitarism often need to heighten their cortisol levels. As a health measure, schedule a visit with your health care provider to discuss cortisol.


Grapefruit is a natural source of cortisol. It leads to increased levels of cortisol within your body by blocking enzymes that break down the substance, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Addison's disease, a metabolic disorder, is linked to hormonal deficiencies or low hormone levels in the body, including cortisol. This condition can be improved by including grapefruit in your daily diet, UMMC hypothesizes. As a health measure, consult with a nutritionist or doctor when considering elevating your cortisol levels through grapefruit consumption.


Coffee contains amounts of cortisol. Drinking up to three cups of coffee daily will naturally increase cortisol levels in your body, reports Dr. Janet Hull who specializes in nutrition and alternative health. Not only can coffee promote cortisol secretion, it also acts as a stimulant within the body. Cortisol deficiencies can be harmful due to lower levels of blood glucose or decreased immune system functions, which can harm diabetes or sickle cell patients.


The University of Michigan Health System reports that licorice contains cortisol. Licorice herbs are made of glycyrrhizin, an acid ingredient known to inactivate enzymes that break down cortisol and increase cortisol levels in the blood. Currently, there are no documented adverse reactions associated with the consumption of licorice. However, it may elevate blood pressure in some individuals, UMMC states. Speak with your physician to discuss whether this herbal supplement is appropriate for your condition.