It is known that stress is harmful for your health, the latest study published in Obesity is quantifying the effects in pounds by measuring cortisol values overtime. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is a regulator of many important functions such as increasing blood sugar, fat, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism. Chronically elevated levels of cortisol can reek havoc on the body through blood sugar imbalances, immune system suppression, and increased weight. Previous studies have focused on the effects of cortisol in the blood, urine or saliva on weight but this study set themselves apart by looking at cortisol in hair growth to assess general stress levels over time. In the study higher cortisol levels over time were associated with persistent obesity, increased weight, BMI, and waist circumference.
Managing stress is crucial to managing cortisol levels and its effects on your weight. Consider mindfulness practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. Exercising regularly is a great way to balance hormones and improves sleep, another crucial factor in hormone regulation. Exercising outdoors is even more beneficial for studies have shown that outdoor time promotes relaxation and reduces anxiety. Diet also has a positive effect on cortisol management, many studies have shown that anti-inflammation diets which avoid processed foods, as well as high-sugar and high-glycemic foods to prevent blood sugar spikes, stressing the cortisol system less.
What other stress management techniques do you use?