Cortisol mocktails, also known as adrenal cocktails, are trending all over the internet right now and for good reason. They’re tasty, refreshing, easy to make and packed with minerals that work to replenish your adrenal glands and balance hormones as a result.
But, like anything, *ESPECIALLY* things that are trendy, it’s not a cure-all and you should definitely have all the facts before you jump on the bandwagon.
Also, if you decide you do want to partake, you’re also going to need a fire adrenal cocktail recipe (which I’ve got you covered with below).
Read on for everything you need to know regarding cortisol mocktails including how they work, hormone health benefits, key ingredients, a delicious watermelon mint cortisol mocktail recipe and more.
A cortisol mocktail, also more widely known as an adrenal cocktail, is an alcohol-free drink rich in key vitamins and minerals that support adrenal function and overall hormone balance.
To understand the hormone health benefits of a cortisol mocktail or adrenal cocktail, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how your adrenal glands work.
Your adrenal glands sit on top of your kidneys and are part of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, better known as the HPA-axis. These three endocrine glands form a complex feedback loop to regulate hormone production and use.
The adrenals create a number of hormones, including stress hormones cortisol, aldosterone, and adrenaline, which do everything from properly maintain your energy levels throughout the day to increasing your heart rate and blood pressure if needed (part of your “fight or flight” response necessary for survival).
As long as your hormones stay balanced, the adrenals can carry out their tasks, keeping you feeling energized and even keel throughout the day.
However if you’re chronically stressed (which let’s be real, it’s hard not to be these days!) your adrenals become overstimulated by the constant demand to output more cortisol, which requires A LOT of energy and nutrients. The more your stress system is activated, the more it depletes vital nutrients needed for hormone balance.
Coming full circle, providing our stress hormones with these valuable vitamins and minerals works to repair damage caused by chronic stress and counter our body’s stress response, which then gives our adrenals a chance to heal. And the cortisol mocktail contains three essential nutrients that work to do just that!
The three main components of a cortisol mocktail or adrenal cocktail are:
When you experience stress, the adrenals’ use vitamin C to make more cortisol and other hormones. Thus, this vitamin needs replenishing frequently. It also works to heal your body from stress related damage. I use freshly squeezed limes in this cortisol mocktail recipe, which are packed with vitamin C.
Our adrenals secrete a hormone called aldosterone, which controls our ability to hold onto sodium. The stronger our adrenal glands, the stronger our aldosterone levels, and the better our ability to hold onto salt. On the flip side, if we have weakened adrenals (due to chronic stress) then we have lower aldosterone and lower sodium.
And when we have lower sodium, we lose water and blood volume, which can lead to feeling lightheaded, chronically dehydrated and fatigued (three of the most common symptoms of adrenal dysfunction aka “adrenal fatigue”). I like to use Celtic sea salt in this recipe, more on that below.
Potassium works closely with sodium to help maintain fluid balance in your body and keep blood pressure levels stable. When your adrenals become overwhelmed due to chronic stress, they struggle to produce sufficient amounts of hormones (such as cortisol), which can lead to imbalances in hormones your body needs to regulate fluids, leading to an electrolyte imbalance.
Therefore adding in potassium works to replenish electrolytes and nourish your adrenals. I love using coconut water in this watermelon mint cortisol mocktail for its high potassium content and naturally sweet taste.
The OG cortisol mocktail aka adrenal cocktail recipe, created by Susan Blackard, NP, ND, PhD, contains the following three ingredients:
Due to its high vitamin C content, most adrenal cocktail recipes contain 1/4 to 1 cup of freshly squeezed orange juice. Vitamin C rich substitutes often include lemon or lime juice.
High in potassium and dissolves easily in citrus juice (without affecting the taste).
If you’re not keen on using cream of tartar, coconut water is a great potassium-rich and naturally sweet alternative. I’m obsessed with this brand, which tastes especially delicious in this watermelon mint mocktail recipe.
If you want to make your adrenal cocktail recipe next level good, try mixing in a huge dollop (about 2 tbsp) of full-fat coconut cream. This adds some healthy fats to help keep blood sugar levels stable, and makes this watermelon mockail taste super creamy/dessert-like!
I absolutely love adding in fresh watermelon to this recipe, which is another excellent source of vitamin C (and potassium!) and also lends a vibrant pink hue and naturally sweet taste to this cortisol mocktail recipe.
If you want a serious hormone balancing boost, try adding a dropper full of Elix’s Daily Harmony or Cycle Balance Blend, which are medicinal herbal formula’s clinically proven to treat the root cause of menstrual symptoms (buh bye pms, hello happier periods). You can also use my code SOFRESH20 to save 20% off.
While it’s safe to enjoy your cortisol mocktail at any time throughout the day, the most effective time to drink it is between 10 am to 2 pm, when your stress hormones are naturally lower (which is why your energy dips and you tend to get that “afternoon slump.)” I personally enjoy mine right after lunch, which helps to curb my blood sugar and satisfy my sweet tooth.
You can also consume this recipe at any point during your menstrual cycle, however if I’m having it during my follicular or ovulatory phase I swap Elix’s Cycle Balance Blend for their Daily Harmony Blend, in order to properly cycle-sync my herbs for optimal hormone balance. Additionally I like to add in a warming ingredient like freshly minced ginger if enjoying during my luteal phase, which better aligns with the TCM perspective of focusing on warming foods and beverages during this phase.
**Please keep in mind this drink is NOT a meal replacement, rather a whole food supplement meant to be enjoyed before or after meals.
While a cortisol mocktail does not directly influence weight loss, it does work to nourish your adrenals, so that they can produce and regulate hormones (especially your stress hormones!) effectively. And your stress hormones do directly affect your weight, with cortisol stimulating your fat and carbohydrate metabolism and weight loss.
Bottom Line: The more balanced your hormones are, the easier it will be to maintain a sustainable, healthy weight.
Let’s be real, nobody NEEDS a cortisol mocktail to survive. That being said, I personally think they’re a fun, easy and delicious way to incorporate an abundance of vitamins and minerals that work to nourish your adrenals in times of stress. Think of it as a supplement, aka it’s not a meal replacement or cure-all, rather a little boost that should be used in tandem with other hormone healthy habits to promote overall wellbeing.
After reading all of this, you might be wondering if you have a cortisol imbalance or “adrenal fatigue.” First, it’s important to know that while “adrenal fatigue” is a popular term, it’s actually incorrect, as your adrenals don’t actually get fatigued.
The proper terminology for what you might be feeling is HPA axis dysfunction, which happens as a result of chronic stress. Overtime, the adrenals become desensitized and stop properly responding, leading to dysfunction in the HPA axis feedback loop.
If you suspect you have HPA axis dysfunction, dysregulated cortisol levels or a hormone imbalance, you can take this free quiz to investigate further.
Additionally, you can begin implementing some of the tips below (along with making your delicious adrenal cocktail) to nurture your adrenals.
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This delicious watermelon mint cortisol mocktail contains nutrients that work to nourish your adrenals, counter stress + balance hormones.
Author: Lauren Chambers
Recipe Type: beverage
*This beverage makes 2 large drink servings (16 oz +) or 4 smaller servings (8 oz each). If making a single serving you can always cut the recipe in half, or store the rest in the fridge for up to 3 days.
I’m honored to support you on your journey to optimal hormone health + happiness. Thanks for being here babe.