What are stress hormones?
Have you ever heard of “fight or flight”?
To keep things simple, when you are in a stressful situation, your body will produce cortisol, which is a stress hormone. Cortisol is the hormone that leaves you feeling tired but wired, the hormone that will give you an extra boost of energy for you to “fight or flight” before you end up dead tired (pun intended).
The more cortisol your body produces, the more exhausted your adrenal glands will become. When this happens, you can end up with one or several of these common symptoms of hormonal imbalance:
- Low libido, low stamina
- Anxiety and irritability, depression, panic attack and short temper
- Cravings for salty and/or sweet food
- Poor sleep, insomnia, night sweats
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased or unstable blood sugar
- Poor digestion
- Weight gain around the middle
- Debilitating tiredness, chronic fatigue
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Low immune function, slow recovery from illness or injuries
- Brain fog, poor memory, poor concentration
If you’d like to know more about your endocrine system, check out this post and let me know on the blog if you liked it or had any questions.
So, what can I do?
In order to reduce the bad effects cortisol can have on your body and your mind, it is a great idea for you to find a way to reduce the physical and mental stressors that might be affecting you daily.
From a nutritional prospective, what will bring you the fastest results is reducing your blood sugar roller coaster ride. You can do so by:
- Reducing your intake of stimulants, such as sugar, tobacco, caffeine, energy drinks, and alcohol.
- Eating an healthy diet, which keeps your blood sugar stable.
- Use relaxation techniques, for example meditation or yoga. If you would like to try meditation, check out the *Meditation* box with my recommendations.
The reason is quite simple. Biologically speaking, stimulants (whether drinks or foods) increase the production of insulin in your body (your blood sugar rises). When your blood sugar goes subsequently down because your body has used or stored (in fat) all the energy you gave it to process, this creates a deficit in the expected energy your body needs to live, and so creates stress. This is when more hormone cortisol is secreted, to keep you awake and ready to “fight or flight”.
The below chart from www.naturalgrocers.com will show you in image what I mean: