Controlling Cortisol: 5 Essential Steps
What’s your stress trigger? Overwork? Heavy traffic? Screaming kids? Whatever the cause, stress in the modern world is unrelenting – and it’s taking a toll on our bodies. Not only is it making us feel not very good at all, it’s also making us look that way. That’s because stress is causing us to store more body fat. The hormone behind this nasty little side effect is called cortisol. When our bodies encounter a real or an imagined cause of stress, the adrenal gland releases a hormone called cortisol into the blood stream. This prepares the body for the fight or flight syndrome. In times past, that threat may well have been a lion that was intent on making us its next meal. Cortisol would have given us the extra speed to get out of there. So, cortisol increases our blood sugar in readiness for rapid action. In our modern world, stress is a constant companion to many. That means that their cortisol levels are constantly high. One effect of excess cortisol on the body is that it causes the accumulation of fat in the abdominal area. This is one of the most dangerous areas of the body to store fat, as it can be a contributor to metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease. Cortisol has one more nasty effect on our bodies. It breaks down muscle tissue. The primary job of cortisol is to raise your blood sugar levels. It will do this by breaking down proteins in your muscle cells into amino acids, which it can then convert into blood sugar. As a result, people with high levels of cortisol can be in a catabolic state, where their body is actually eating away at their muscle tissue. Less muscle tissue lowers your metabolic rate, which means that you’ll be burning fewer calories at rest. This makes it even more likely that you will gain fat. Cortisol increases our cravings and appetite. Cortisol is brought on by stress, and you need glucose to get yourself out of that stressful situation. As a result, you’ll want to eat more high sugar type foods to satisfy your body’s need for glucose. Balancing your cortisol levels will not just help you to shed unsightly fat – it will prevent you from anxiety overload. Here’s how to do it.
- Eat a Balanced Diet
- Regular Sunlight