Watch Now: 5 Ways Stress Can Cause Weight Gain
These negative effects also often come with their own consequences. For example, increased abdominal fat is associated with a greater amount of health problems than fat deposited in other areas of the body. Some of the health problems associated with increased stomach fat include an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, metabolic syndrome, higher levels of bad cholesterol , and lower levels of good cholesterol .
Cortisol is important for your body to function normally, but too much cortisol can be bad for your health.
Chronic high cortisol levels can also lead to a condition known as Cushing syndrome. Causes can include adrenal tumors or the prolonged use of glucocorticoids. Symptoms of Cushing syndrome can also include high blood sugars with increased thirst and urination, osteoporosis, depression, and more frequent infections.
Black Tea And Chamomile Tea:
Although black tea contains caffeine that can increase cortisol, drinking 4 cups of black tea a day for about 6 weeks can help to reduce cortisol levels, according to a study by Andrew Stepeo.
Chamomile is an old remedy for sleep aid that will help reduce cortisol levels. Flavonoids, essential oils, coumarin and other compound in chamomile are very effective in relaxing.
Other Ways To Relieve Stress
In addition to giving your body the right vitamins and minerals and supplementing as needed, here are some other ways that Bonney, Leber, and Raisen recommend keeping stress and cortisol levels in check.
Proactively work a handful of these self-care practices into your routine so that the next time a trigger arises, your body is ready to quickly come back to calm:
Recommended Reading: How Do You Test Testosterone Levels
Take Care Of Your Gut
“Stress affects our health by influencing our gut bacteria,” said Sofia Popov, a microbiome scientist and Founder/CEO of gut wellness and microbiome testing company GUTXY. “Cortisol is the primary stress hormone, and it can cause problems. Too much cortisol in the body can negatively impact our digestive systems. When our bodies are stressed, cortisol directs blood away from our digestive tract since our brain and other body parts become a priority.
And, as it’s come to be appreciated, there is an intimate connection between our gut and our brain, referred to as the gut-brain axis. To understand the gut-brain axis, its important to first understand the enteric nervous system. The enteric nervous system is a vast network of neurons that line your intestinal tract and carry messages from the gut to the brain and back, explained Trista Best, a registered dietitian at Balance One Supplements.
So by taking care of your gut, you can support brain health. Which begs the question, how do you take care of your gut? According to Popov, this means eating foods containing prebiotics and probiotics.
Probiotics are live, good bacteria such as Lactobacillus Meanwhile, prebiotics provide food for the live probiotics they wont survive if they dont have anything to eat! Both prebiotics and probiotics have been shown to help reduce cortisol.
Cortisol Imbalance Might Cause Fatigue
If you experience constant fatigue, it could mean your body is releasing too much of the hormone cortisol. The hormone gets released by your adrenal glands to regulate your blood pressure. When youre under stress, your adrenal glands release more cortisol. If these adrenal glands release too much cortisol over time, youll feel exhausted.
Read Also: 24 Hour Cortisol Urine Test
What Does Relora Do To Your Body And Why
Relora contain ingredients that can lower cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol itself is a hormone that is directly related to a persons level of stress, and can be increased as a result of eating less true that increasing the levels of fat in the body.
How long does it take Relora to reduce cortisol?
When viewed based on research that presented on various websites of products, there seems to be little evidence that Relora can significantly reduce the bodys natural cortisol levels. Also there are studies that show a significant reduction in cortisol after six weeks of use Relora.
How does the Relora blend work for weight loss?
The Relora blend works by decreasing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone which encourages the storage of fat in the belly area.
What can I take to reduce the release of cortisol?
Another supplement for this purpose is Relora, a plant extract. Ingesting carbs during or post-workout also blunts cortisol release. Can you combine Relora and phosphatidylserine, or is that too much? Yes, you can mix it, but whether that would significantly increase any effect isnt known. What are signs of excessive cortisol production?
Get The Right Amount Of Exercise
High cortisol levels are associated with weight gain. If youre struggling with getting some exercise in your daily routine, try simple changes to add some movement.
Remember that intense exercise for long periods can actually increase blood cortisol. If your goal is to reduce cortisol levels, then you need to reduce exercise intensity or duration to a point where your body recovers easily.
Quick everyday ways to get that extra bit of exercise in:
- Park in the furthest car park from the office and walk to your desk.
- Step off the bus, train, taxi 5-10 minutes walk from your work and continue on foot.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Do 5-10 minutes of yoga before and after work.
Start simple and move on from there. You should try to cultivate a habit of doing these exercises daily. Make them part of your routine.
Recommended Reading: Dosage Of Melatonin For Sleep
Engage In Creative Projects
Engaging in creative pursuits such as playing a musical instrument, getting involved in a community performance, or creating visual art can also be helpful in lowering cortisol levels.
Kaimal et al. found that engaging in a painting project for 45 minutes dropped cortisol levels drastically in a group of 39 adults participating in art therapy.
High Cortisol Levels Vs Cushings Disease Vs Cushings Syndrome: Whats The Difference
When the pituitary or adrenal glands produce abnormally high levels of cortisol for a duration of time, a doctor may diagnose a serious, chronic disorder called Cushings disease.
Cushings disease is usually caused by tumors on the adrenal or pituitary glands and often causes symptoms like rapid weight gain, a swollen face, fatigue, and water retention/swelling around the abdomen and upper back. It impacts women between the ages of 25 to 40 most often, although people of any age and gender can develop this condition.
Diagnosable Cushings disease caused by an overactive adrenal gland is considered much rarer than just having generally high cortisol levels. In other words, you have a much greater chance of experiencing high cortisol at certain times due to increased stress in your life than you do of ever being diagnosed with Cushings disease. While people experience at least somewhat high levels of cortisol at one time or another during very stressful episodes , rates of Cushings disease diagnoses are still very low compared to other hormonal/endocrine conditions like thyroid disorders or diabetes, for example.
Low Cortisol Levels: Addisons Disease and Adrenal Fatigue
Also Check: Signs Of High Cortisol Levels
Care For Your Gut Microbiome
Evidence suggests a connection between stress and the gut microbiome. If youre looking to lower stress and cortisol levels, building a healthy and diverse gut microbiome may help.
Eating probiotic foods like kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, kimchi, and live yogurt is a good way to improve your gut microbiome. Probiotic foods are any foods with good gut bugs that, when eaten, benefit your health.
Similarly, prebiotics are another important component of a well-balanced and gut-friendly diet. They serve as food for your good gut bugs, and evidence suggests they may also help lower cortisol levels.
In one study with 69 students, those who consumed a daily probiotic drink saw significantly lower cortisol levels than the control group after 12 weeks.
Getting regular exercise, enough sleep, and looking after your mental health are also good for your gut microbiome and your cortisol levels.
What Happens When You Produce Too Much Or Little Cortisol
Symptoms of too much cortisol include:
- weight gain, particularly around the abdomen and face
- thin and fragile skin that is slow to heal
- for women, facial hair and irregular menstrual periods
Symptoms of not enough cortisol include:
If you experience any of these symptoms, your doctor may suggest you have a blood test to measure your cortisol levels.
Recommended Reading: Hormone Testing For Weight Loss
Lower Cortisol Levels With Physical Exercise
Regular physical exercise is a well-known brain enhancer that improves mental health and cognitive functions while protecting the brain from the effects of aging.
Getting regular exercise will also enable you to relax more easily.
One of the ways it does this is by reducing cortisol.
You dont need to exercise strenuously to experience stress reduction.
In fact, exercising too much or too hard actually increases cortisol.
Running a marathon, for example, can initiate the stress response since your brain gets the message that you are fleeing from danger.
Twenty to thirty minutes of light aerobic activity like walking or biking is ideal for most people.
Mind-body exercises like yoga, tai chi, and qi gong are also excellent for stress relief.
Get A Good Nights Sleep
Sleep deprivation increases cortisol, particularly the evening after the lack of sleep has occurred. Cortisol is produced by the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is also responsible for regulating sleep cycles. If the HPA axis is activated by stress, illness, or poor nutrition, it can have a knock-on effect on your sleep and subsequent stress hormone levels.
The best way to ensure you get restful sleep is to incorporate good sleep hygiene. Make your bedroom a peaceful environment by limiting things that disrupt your sleep, like noise and light. Blackout curtains, an eye mask, earplugs, or a noise machine can help.
Also Check: How To Help Cortisol Levels
Key Signs Your Cortisol Level Is Too High
The stress hormone, cortisol, is public health enemy number one. Scientists have known for years that elevated cortisol levels: interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart diseaseThe list goes on and on. Psychology Today
What Does Cortisol Do To My Body
Almost all tissues in your body have glucocorticoid receptors. Because of this, cortisol can affect nearly every organ system in your body, including:
- Integumentary system .
More specifically, cortisol affects your body in the following ways:
Optimum cortisol levels are necessary for life and for maintaining several bodily functions. If you have consistently high or low cortisol levels, it can have negative impacts on your overall health.
Also Check: Birth Control For Hormone Imbalance
Symptoms Of High Cortisol Levels
According to research done by the Genetics Learning Science Center, the long-term danger of having high cortisol is that it activates the fight-or-flight response, which temporarily shuts down normal reproductive, digestive and immune functions. The body targets these systems for shutdown because it doesnt need them for immediate survival.
Sensory nerve cells pass the perception of a threat, or stress, from the environment to the hypothalamus in the brain. This signals the pituitary and primary adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. If this cycle goes on for too long, someone becomes more susceptible to all sorts of illnesses, infections and hormonal problems.
Some clues that may signal youre living with high cortisol levels include:
- weight gain, especially around the abdomen/stomach
- a puffy, flushed face
- higher susceptibility to infections
Why Too Much Of A Good Thing Is Bad For You
If your entire life is high-stress and always in high gear, your body may constantly pump out cortisol. “This has several negative effects,” says Dr. Mawri.
Don’t Miss: Signs And Symptoms Of Low Testosterone
Build A Healthy Plate
Its not just eating that matters, its what you eat, too. Meals and snacks should contain a mix of fat, protein, and fiber. This formula is a cortisol reducer that provides sustainable energy, stabilizes blood sugar levels, and fills you up. High cortisol levels can intensify cravings for sugar and processed snacks, which are no friend to healthy cortisol levels or your body. The best foods that reduce cortisol are healthy fats, like avocados and nuts, plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, like oatmeal and quinoa, and lean proteins.
Are There Foods That Reduce Cortisol
Yes, no and maybe. Some research suggests that foods like tea, chocolate and fish oils might lower cortisol. But such studies tend to be small and not very conclusive, Dr. Lin says.
Youre unlikely to balance cortisol levels by adding anchovies to your pizza or scarfing a block of chocolate, she says. But good nutrition can make a difference.
Cortisol interacts with neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that send signals in the brain. Neurotransmitters play an important role in mood. And cortisol isnt the only compound that influences them. To make those neurotransmitters, you need all the raw ingredients: vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, Dr. Lin says.
The best way to get them is with a balanced, plant-heavy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, she adds. A healthy diet is the underpinning of stress management.
A balanced meal plan can ensure youre getting the nutrients your body needs. And talk to your doctor about taking a basic multivitamin. Its a good insurance policy to make sure youre not deficient in any vitamins, Dr. Lin says.
You May Like: Symptoms Of Low Estrogen Levels
When Not To Lower Your Bodys Cortisol Reserves
High cortisol levels arenât necessarily ruinous for you. As you can see from the previous section, a pre-dawn cortisol hike coincides with the usual hours for waking up. Without the alertness-boosting effects of this hormone, it becomes that much more difficult to push through your morning sleep inertia and feel like youâve had a full night of invigorating sleep.
Cortisol is also vital to your overall health throughout the day as it helps:
- Mediate your stress response
- Regulate your metabolism rate for energy production
- Fight inflammation to boost your bodyâs rest-and-repair mechanism
- Develop and maintain a functioning immune system
On a medical note, too-low cortisol levels lead to a health issue known as Addisonâs disease. Itâs a manifestation of adrenal gland disorder commonly accompanied by symptoms like low blood pressure and low blood sugar levels.
Natural Ways To Lower Cortisol Levels
There are several things that you can do to lower your stress levels, reduce the effects of stress on the body, and improve your overall health and well-being. Here are some common ways to help rebalance your cortisol and promote good health.
- Sleep When you sleep, how much sleep you get, and the quality of your sleep all impact your cortisol levels. We recommend keeping a consistent sleep schedule, creating an environment for uninterrupted sleep , turning off electronics an hour before bedtime, and avoiding caffeine in the evening can help you get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, which will help decrease your cortisol.
Recommended Reading: What Are Normal Cortisol Levels
Learn To Recognize Stressful Thinking
Paying attention to stressful thoughts may help you reduce them.
Mindfulness-based stress reduction is a strategy that involves becoming more self-aware of stress-provoking thoughts, accepting them without judgment or resistance, and allowing yourself the ability to process them .
Training yourself to be aware of your thoughts, breathing, heart rate, and other signs of tension helps you recognize stress when it begins .
Recognizing stressful thoughts allows you to formulate a conscious and deliberate reaction to them. For example, a study involving 43 women in a mindfulness-based program showed the ability to describe and articulate stress was linked to a lower cortisol response (
Tending to your own happiness can help keep cortisol down. If youre feeling stressed, try listening to music or making yourself laugh.