Cushing Syndrome Diet

Cushing’s syndrome is one of the common diseases that many of us suffer from when we do not take care of our endocrine system. Cushing Syndrome Diet can combat all the health issues.  It is caused by elevated levels of cortisol in the blood, which may have been because of the excessive secretion of cortisol, a hormone that is released by the body under stress, or by the intake of glucocorticoid drugs like Prednisone. Some of the common signs that will show up of the disease are – pink stretch marks on our skin, a round face, weight gain in the upper body, acnes, fatigue, high blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, kidney stones, sleep disorders, irregular periods, low libido, decreased fertility, and also a flabby bulge in between our shoulders. A Cushion syndrome diet is essential to include in the diet process.

Our endocrine system is one of the most valuable organ systems of our body. It directly controls the production and as well distribution of all the hormones that our body produces, and these hormones spell the difference in our survival and death. Cushing’s Syndrome is five times more prevalent in women than men.

The hormone cortisol is important for us. It helps in:

Diet and nutrition role plays a valuable role in reducing and controlling the levels of cortisol in our body. A Cushion syndrome diet emphasizes the proper intake of calcium, healthy fats, vitamin B foods, foods rich in potassium and magnesium, and high-protein foods.

What does a Cushing diet do?

As cortisol is also important for the body’s metabolic process, high levels of cortisol in our body can significantly affect the process of our body’s processes the nutrients. Cushing diet can bring in the changes that help limit or counter the symptoms of the disease. The diet makes sure that:

We get more calcium and vitamin D

Cushing syndrome can reduce our bone density leading to osteoporosis. Eating foods like kale, broccoli, cheese, and milk and beverages fortified with Vitamin D, helps in maintaining calcium and vitamin D levels in our body.

Control our blood sugar levels

Elevated levels of blood sugar are common in people with Cushing’s syndrome, which can further lead to many complications like cardiovascular diseases, kidney damage, nerve damage, and problems in the bones and joints. The diet suggests eating foods like asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, avocados, cucumbers, and celery.

Get more protein-rich foods

Out of the many functions of cortisol, one important role is the breakdown of proteins, and it is very essential for building muscles and maintaining them. Getting exposed to excessive cortisol can lead to muscle loss. Eating foods rich in protein like beans, tofu, lentils, fish, low-fat yogurt and cheese can prevent muscle loss associated with Cushing’s syndrome.

Get healthy fats

Healthy fats like Omega-3 fatty acids help in reducing inflammation and stabilizing your mood. They support proper brain health and promote the production of important hormones. Aside from salmons and sardines, you can get healthy fats from nuts and seeds, olive and coconut oil, and avocado.

Potassium and magnesium

Organic yogurt, beans, legumes, leafy greens, broccoli, avocados, and nuts are some foods that are rich in potassium and magnesium, which acts as electrolytes to relax muscles and are very critical for our overall health. They help lower high blood pressures, reduce aches, promote good sleep, and give relief from headaches.

Cholesterol levels are reduced

Higher levels of cholesterol are very common in people with Cushing’s syndrome. The diet controls the levels of cholesterol by making us avoid fatty foods, and eating more high-fiber foods like kidney beans, apples, pears, barley, and prunes. These foods help in offsetting the effects of our body’s higher cholesterol levels.

Reduce our sodium intake

Excess intake of sodium through diet can increase our blood pressure and may also cause weight gain. The diet works on avoiding the intake of high sodium foods like processed and packaged foods and others and limiting the intake of salt added to the foods we eat.

Cushing syndrome foods to avoid

Dietary recommendations should be sought as per individual needs with Cushing’s syndrome. The symptoms and the associated problems with Cushing’s syndrome will determine what foods you should eat and the Cushing syndrome foods to avoid. In general, the common foods that you should avoid with Cushing’s disease are:

Sodium-rich foods:

High blood pressure is common amongst people with Cushing’s syndrome. It is why it is very crucial to control sodium intake. Intake of too much sodium may promote water retention and weight gain. Prefer having fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit or avoid the intake of high-sodium foods like cured meats, chips, fries, packaged foods, and pickled products. Avoid adding salt while cooking, instead, try to flavor your food with natural herbs and spices.


People with Cushing’s syndrome often have diabetes also, hence, you will need to follow a low-carbohydrate diet to efficiently manage your blood sugar levels. Cushing syndrome diet and exercise, are the two most important factors that help you prevent weight gain and also muscle loss. Exercise that involves weight bearing, like weightlifting can help in increasing bone density and also prevent bone loss. Involve in strength training and aerobic activities too.

Tobacco and alcohol

Taking tobacco can pose danger during surgery. If you have been advised surgery for treating Cushing’s disease, smoking can promote risks of surgical complications.

Drinking heavily can raise symptoms identical to Cushing’s syndrome and if you already have Cushing’s syndrome, taking alcohol can make it difficult to diagnose and treat the disease.

Cushing’s syndrome is dangerous. While there are certain ways in treating the issue, a Cushing syndrome diet plan goes hand-in-hand with the treatment plan. It can help improve your life. Always seek guidance from ab expert dietician for your Cushing’s syndrome diet plan.

Frequently Ask Questions (FAQs)

1. What foods should you avoid if you have Cushing’s disease?

Cushing’s syndrome causes excessive cortisol levels that can increase our blood pressure, leading to hypertension and also high blood sugar levels. To avoid and control hypertension, you should avoid eating:

Processed foods
Foods high in sodium or salt
Packaged foods
Fried foods
Carbohydrate-rich foods like refined grains, and baked goods.
Reduced sodium soups
Dressing and spreads

Weight gain and obesity are the most common effects of Cushing’s syndrome, along with mood swings, muscle weakness, abnormal hair growth, osteoporosis, and menstrual abnormalities. Eating a diet high in proteins and calcium and low in sodium is highly recommended.

1. Can you lose weight on Cushing syndrome?

Cortisol is released by our body when we are under stress, and when you are under stress, you may have a hard time, if you are trying to lose weight. Follow these simple steps to lose weight with Cushing’s syndrome:
Eat smart: It means that you should focus on eating a lot of vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants, along with eating whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Make sure to have an adequate intake of vitamin D for the health of your bones and avoid the risks of developing osteoporosis.
Exercise often: Exercise is an important factor for healthy living. Focus more on impact exercises like weight training and aerobics for better muscle and bone health.