Stress hormones: What are they and what do they do?

Stress hormones: What are they and what do they do?

Stress hormones help your body to cope with and respond to stressful situations. However, if the hormone level in the body is high, it can negatively affect your health.

"These days, we suffer from chronic stress," says Dr. Sally Norton, surgeon and health expert. "The problem is that we rarely approach an approaching lion or other immediate burdens that require a real combat or escape response. This means that our stress hormones are being extended inappropriately. "

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With that in mind, it's important to know what these stress hormones are and how to treat them in ways that improve our overall health.



What are the most important stress hormones?

➡️ adrenalin

To prepare you for the stressful situation you are facing, "Adrenaline increases your heart rate, blood pressure, and energy supply," says Dr. Norton. First and foremost, the purpose of this energy boost is to help you run away from a dangerous situation. This means that adrenaline is responsible for us immediate Reactions when we feel stressed. The hormone is produced in the adrenals after our brain sends the message that we are in a stressful situation.

➡️ cortisol

A steroid hormone, cortisol, is released so the body can focus on the stress situation, "says Dr. Norton. "This is done by increasing blood sugar and suppressing non-immediate processes, such as the digestive system, the reproductive system, and growth." It is also produced in the adrenals, but takes more time than adrenaline to feel the effects of cortisol.

Tired, stressed businesswoman on laptop with head in hands

Getty ImagesCaiaimage / Rafal Rodzoch

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How can stress affect our health?

While the feeling of stress is a common event, it can have a negative impact on our body and overall health if it lasts.

Normally our cortisol and adrenaline levels return to normal after a stressful situation and we feel calm and relaxed. However, in modern society, the ongoing stress becomes more and more severe, which can be detrimental to the body if left untreated. This is mainly because cortisol suppresses body functions like the digestive system.

⚠️ When you are under constant stress, you may be at risk for various health problems, including heart disease, insomnia, digestive problems, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, blood sugar, libido loss, bowel disorders such as IBS, memory loss, and weight gain.

How can we naturally reduce stress?

There are many ways to reduce adrenaline and cortisol:

➡️ suppression of adrenaline rush

  • Try deep breathing exercises
  • Practice meditation
  • Focus on happy, peaceful memories
  • Muscle relaxation practice: muscle tensions in the whole body are slowly tense

    ➡️ reduction of cortisol levels

    ✔️ Exercise: (but not too intense) Although cortisol levels actually increase during and immediately after exercise, this is a transient response, and the long-term effects have been shown to be beneficial for stress. Regular, moderate exercise is best.

    ✔️ Get the right amount of sleep: Sleep deprivation results in higher cortisol levels in the blood, ensuring a good night's sleep by going to bed early, avoiding caffeine, and limiting the effects of bright lights (such as your phone's screen) in the evenings.

    ✔️ have fun: Studies have shown that laughter lowers cortisol levels. So take time to have fun with friends and family.

    ✔️ Get a pet: Similarly, a wealth of research shows that the animal cooperative represents a major reduction in stress levels. In one study, 48 adults received either a dog, a human friend or none. All participants completed a stress test and provided cortisol measurements. Those who had dog-mates proved to be the least stressed.

    ✔️ Eat healthy foods: If you want to lower cortisol levels, it is important to eat a healthy and balanced diet. Excess sugar increases the cortisol over time, so you consume less sugar. There are also certain foods that are particularly well-suited to keep your levels stable, such as yoghurt, dark chocolate and bananas.

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