Fact About Stress hormone cortisol

You may have heard the term “cortisol,” but did you know that it is a hormone that plays an important role in the body’s response to acute or chronic stress? During COVID-19, it is important to understand how cortisol affects our daily health, including how the hormone helps maintain a healthy metabolism and a strong immune system. Here are some important facts about cortisol, including how a healthy diet, regular exercise, and relaxation techniques to reduce stress can help reduce the levels of this hormone. Fact About Stress hormone cortisol

What is cortisol, and why should people reduce their hormone levels?

The adrenal glands, which are located above each kidney, release the hormone c-cortisol. The production of cortisol is under the direction of the brain through the pituitary landula, through a response mechanism. In a normal and healthy person, cortisol is produced in a [daytime] pattern of highs and lows where the hormone is at its highest levels when waking up in the mornings and then gradually reduces throughout the day until it reaches its lowest level during the night. The brain is designed to automatically reduce the production of cortisol once it detects the high level in the mornings in a normal and healthy person.”

Why is cortisol so important?

The hormone is important for how food is broken down and how the immune system works. It is also one of the main hormones affecting how the body reacts to short-term and long-term stress. In situations where stress is always present and in some medical conditions, the high and low daytime secretion patterns are flattened. This causes cortisol levels to stay high all the time. This can be bad for a person’s health because it can weaken their immune system and change their metabolism. This makes them more likely to get diabetes, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, and gain weight. Chronically high cortisol levels also negatively affect brain function and mood. What’s worse, people with depression or post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) demonstrate a poor ability to turn off cortisol production, causing a vicious circle.

Can exercise and relaxation techniques reduce cortisol levels?

Moderate exercise raises cortisol levels initially, but then it helps the hormone drop at night. This is a good way to reinforce the natural high-and-low cortisol production cycles. Ideally, the exercise would be done in the morning hours. Regular practitioners of fullness meditation [3 hours per week] also demonstrate a better ability to reduce cortisol levels quickly after a stressful task. Other means of relaxation, such as massage, deep meditation, Tai Chi, and yoga, have been shown to help reduce cortisol levels. Techniques for stress management and harmonious, low-conflict relationships are also important to prevent chronically elevated cortisol levels. Fact About Stress hormone cortisol

How does the diet affect cortisol levels?

Studies have shown a bidirectional relationship between cortisol and food. High cortisol levels increase the brain’s reward system in favor of the consumption of ‘comforting’ foods, which are usually low-quality snack-type foods (high in sugar and fat). Sugary foods also raise cortisol. . This causes another vicious circle that contributes to high cortisol levels.

What foods should we eat less of, and which should we eat more of?

Reduce the consumption of low-quality foods high in sugar and fat. Avoid dehydration, which raises cortisol.
Consume more high-quality, fiber-rich, and fatty acid-rich foods.
Prebiotics lower cortisol, while dark chocolate reduces it faster after a stressful event.

What can you tell us about the effects of caffeine and alcohol on cortisol levels?

Caffeine is a special case. Caffeine does stimulate the production of cortisol, and this effect remains detectable in people who consume it daily. Although this may be fine during the morning hours since it mimics the daytime pattern of cortisol secretion, the caffeine consumed in the afternoon can prevent the natural and expected drop in cortisol as the night approaches. Having said that, for my friends addicted to caffeine like me, studies suggest that drinking green or black tea affects cortisol levels less than other caffeinated drinks.”

“Alcohol increases cortisol levels significantly and consistently, whether consumed occasionally, daily, or especially for those who drink large amounts of alcohol daily. Modest alcohol consumption protects the heart, thus it should be evaluated.
Avoid alcohol during stressful periods to reduce cortisol.”

What have the studies found about the relationship between cortisol and sleep? How many hours do we have to sleep to reduce cortisol levels?

“Calitisol, like other hormones such as growth hormone, is closely linked to sleep. Sleep may seem like a passive state for most people. Yet, when the brain and endocrine system are actively restoring health, it is vital.
Most people need seven hours of unbroken sleep for these functions to work best.
Our species’ circadian cycle dictates the brain’s sleep stages.
Insomnia and nightwork can disrupt these cycles and raise cortisol levels.

What can we do to sleep better if we have high cortisol levels?

“Have a regular time to wake up, sleep seven hours without interruption at night regularly, avoid caffeine or vigorous exercise at night, look for resources about good sleep hygiene, and practice it.” You should see a doctor if you think you have sleep apnea, restless legs, or chronic insomnia.

What have the studies found about the relationship between pets and cortisol levels? How can dog therapies help lower cortisol levels in certain cases?

“Interacting with pets definitely reduces cortisol levels. Even a period of 10 minutes spent caring for a dog, a cat, or another pet has been shown to reduce circulating cortisol levels. The use of therapeutic pets has been studied. It helps PTSD sufferers, youngsters in stressful situations, depressed people, institutionalized residents, and elderly persons. There are also benefits for patients suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or autism. The long-term benefits of relationships with pets are also good for regulating cortisol levels.” Fact About Stress hormone cortisol

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