Cortisol can either be your best friend, or your worst enemy.
This steroid hormone is produced by the adrenal glands, and it forms a big part of the fight-or-flight response system. The production of cortisol is triggered by situations that the body perceives as threatening, and in today’s life this includes one of the most cringe-worthy words: STRESS.
What makes high cortisol levels bad is that it initiates a fat storage process where most of this fat gets stored in the abdominal area… that’s right – belly fat!
Tip 1 – Manage Your Stress
This might sound easier to do than it actually is, but here are some tried and trusted techniques to help you cope with stress:
- Meditation – Pilates, yoga, or any other form of stress relieving exercise can help go a long way.
- Time Management – Learn to prioritize and how to say no if you won’t have time to do something.
- Get enough sleep – Make sure you get your 6 – 8 hours of sleep, even if it means going to bed a bit earlier.
- Avoid Stress Triggers – Try avoiding activities and people that cause you to feel stressed or anxious.
- Make Time For Fun – It is important to do things that you enjoy. Whether it is a hobby or a sport, make time for some “me-time”.
Tip 2 – What to Eat and What to Avoid
Cortisol also plays a role in the regulation of blood sugar, thus it can be affected by what you eat.
What to avoid:
Steer clear of foods that cause inflammation, as they can cause your cortisol levels to rise. Inflammatory foods are foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, and low in fiber. These foods include:
- Fried foods,
- Red meat and
- Full-fat dairy products
- Refined carbohydrates
What to Eat:
Make sure that you mainly focus on eating foods that are high in fiber. These foods include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Bran and other whole grains
- Oily fish (Omega-3 fatty acids)
Tip 3 – When to Eat
When trying to battle fat storage due to increased cortisol levels, the best meal pattern is to eat your largest meal early in the day, and then eat smaller and smaller meals as the day goes on. Eat a big breakfast as soon as possible, and then eat snacks every few hours to avoid blood sugar spikes.
Tip 4 – Get Moving
Aerobic exercise can directly reduce cortisol levels and speed up your metabolism so you can burn off the extra calories that contribute to weight gain. Although exercise can help you reduce stress and get rid of cortisol fat, too much can actually put extra stress on your adrenals. It is recommended to wear a heart rate monitor and keeping your heart rate under 90 beats per minute when doing aerobic exercise. If you’re new to exercise, start by walking outside for 15 to 20 minutes a couple days a week and work up to a more regular routine.
Tip 5 – Other ways to control stress
You also opt for an alternative method to reduce stress by taking an all-natural supplement like the Manna Calmer (Adult or Extra) to help calm you down without any side effects.