WHAT IS CORTISOL?
Cortisol is a hormone that is released in our adrenal glands when we experience stress, also known as; The Fight-Or-Flight Response.
But even when you do not experience a stressful situation, Cortisol in small doses plays a helpful part in the background by assisting your body with daily functions.
POSITIVE EFFECTS OF CORTISOL:
- Converts Food into Energy
- Regulates the Effects of Insulin
- Regulates Blood Pressure
- Reduces Inflammation
- Regulates your Wake/Sleep Cycle
Although the effects of cortisol in small doses can be beneficial, oftentimes in our busy and caffeinated lives, those small levels quickly turn into an exhausting amount.
Some of these examples can include: little to no sleep, over training, recurring daily stressors, and a big one many of us are guilty of…..too much caffeine.
When these cortisol levels are heightened for too long it can create serious adverse effects on the body.
NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF HIGH CORTISOL:
- Impaired Healing & Regeneration of Cells
- Slowed Metabolism
- Loss of Muscle
- Weight Gain
- Increased Muscle Tension
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR CORTISOL LEVELS?
GET 7 TO 8 HOURS OF SLEEP A NIGHT
Getting an ample amount of sleep is crucial for regulating your cortisol levels, as well as many of your other hormones. When your hours of sleep are limited or your sleep schedule is disrupted, your cortisol levels begin to rise.
To manage and combat that:
- Limit caffeine intake, especially later in the day
- Exercise earlier in the day so your heart rate is not elevated right before bed
- Limit the use of bright screens and distractions before bed
LIMIT YOUR CAFFEINE INTAKE
When you drink caffeine your neurons alert your pituitary gland, which in turn tell your adrenal glands to pump out adrenaline.
Meaning if caffeine intake is a constant in your day, then your body remains in a constant fight-or-flight response.
By limiting caffeine, you will not only help yourself sleep better at night, but you will be helping to make sure your central nervous system is not overloaded to the point of exhaustion.
TAKING MORE REST DAYS
We know that exercise plays an important role in maintaining an overall healthy lifestyle, but overdoing exercise can stress out the body without always physically recognizing it.
By taking appropriate rest days to let your body recover, you are not going to hinder your fitness goals, but rather enhance them.
Rest days allow your body to repair damaged and tired muscles and cells. They also provide your central nervous system with a break and a reset, so that your next workout can be performed better and more efficiently.
TAKING CERTAIN SUPPLEMENTS
Studies have shown that at least two supplements can lower cortisol levels.
ASHWAGANDHA - A supplement proven to treat people with high levels of stress and anxiety
A study consisting of 98 adults took an ashwagandha supplement or a placebo for 60 days. The study concluded that taking 125 mg of ashwagandha once or twice daily reduced cortisol levels.
SCHISANDRA BERRY - A berry proven to lower blood sugar and cortisol levels, as well as protect the adrenal cortex and help counter the negative impacts of physical and psychological stressors.
*If you are looking for a supplement that provides you with Ashwagandha and Schisandra Berry, plus other anti-inflammatory properties to help regulate and lower your cortisol…...I would highly recommend the BENU Greens and Reds.
The Greens contain 250 mg of Ashwagandha in one serving and the Reds contain a good amount of Schisandra Berry.
BENU Reds: Super Reds
BENU Greens: Super Greens