Cortisol: The Hormone that Controls Your Weight

Usually, if you are on a healthy diet and exercise regularly, you should be able to keep your weight under control. Not if you have an excess of cortisol in your blood.

Cortisol is a hormone that has a high level when we are stressed or in danger. If this is not part of your daily routine and still have a high level of cortisol in your blood, this is the reason why you cannot lose weight.

A stressful life can cause excess cortisol, and it can cause serious health problems, like Cushing syndrome. In the worst-case scenario, the continuous production of high quantities of cortisol can lead to muscle deterioration, slow metabolism, and a lot of abdominal fat that wraps around the organs.

stressed woman

Here are some common symptoms of high cortisol:

  • Constant depression and anxiety, even uncontrolled anger;
  • Feeling tired all the time for no reason;
  • Constant headaches;
  • Hypertension and abnormal heartbeats;
  • Chaotic eating habits, weight loss with no explanation;
  • Slow digestion, constipation or diarrhea;
  • Urinating frequently;
  • Insomnia;
  • Memory problems;
  • The sense of defense is decreased;
  • Wrinkles and facial hair;
  • Inflammation on areas of your face;
  • Fat on your neck.

What to do to reduce the cortisol level:

  • Avoid the following: coffee, alcohol, sugar, other sweeteners (aspartame), excess potassium.
  • Consume more of the following:
    • Fish containing phosphatidylserines, such as mackerel, herring, eel.
    • Other foods that contain phenylalanine, such as chicken, eggs, brown rice, broccoli, pumpkin, watercress, and artichoke.
    • Include in your diet more tryptophan that you can get from soy, nuts, brown rice, eggs, and milk.
    • You also need vitamin B5 from almonds, salmon, dates, wheat, and oatmeal.
    • Don’t forget beans, sunflower seeds, and cereals.
  • Have a fixed schedule for eating. It is ok to have five small meals every day. Skipping meals will increase the cortisol level.
  • Keep the training schedule in a limit. Fifty minutes, three times a week is plenty. Too much exercise will cause cortisol increase, so take a break every other day.
  • Rest for at least 8 hours every night. Sleep is perfect for body regeneration and slowing down its processes.
  • If you are under too much stress, try meditation or relaxation techniques to get the edge off.
  • Avoid energy drinks, caffeine, and alcohol.
  • Try some natural anti-stress supplements: Rhodiola, vitamin C, ginseng, folic acid, vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, St. John’s wort, chamomile, oats…
  • Don’t forget to drink water. Keeping hydrated will lower the cortisol level. Make a habit of drinking one glass of water when you wake up and one before going to sleep.