Is the stress hormone making you fat and hurting your heart?
Cortisol is a hormone produced by your adrenal glands. We all need cortisol to help us react to stressful situations, especially those requiring a “fight or flight” reaction. Our bodies react to stress by giving us a quick burst of energy, lowering our sensitivity to pain and increasing our attention and memory. Once the crisis passes, the body relaxes and allows the cortisol to process out of the blood stream.
We lower the level of cortisol when we sleep, relax, exercise, and laugh. The problem comes when a constant state of stress doesn’t allow our bodies to get rid of the hormone.
Over time high levels of cortisol can:
- Increase belly fat
- Raise risk of heart attack
- Raise risk of stroke
- Raise blood pressure
- Lower your body’s ability to heal or resist infection
- Decrease bone density
- Throw blood sugar out of balance
- Lower brain function
- Interfere with your thyroid
Fortunately simple strategies to allow your body to recharge are very effective in lowering your cortisol levels. Find some ideas to help you recharge.
Pay attention to your stress and take time to recharge every day!
Eliz Greene works with busy women who want to improve their heart health so they can live longer, feel better, and stress less.
She is the author of the Busy Woman’s Guide to a Healthy Heart and 3 other books on wellness. She writes one of the top 50 health and wellness blogs and is a sought-after women’s wellness speaker. Find out about her women’s wellness programs, workplace wellness programs and programs for healthcare professionals at EmbraceYourHeart.com