All hail the love hormone!
In my practice I regularly encounter certain chronic symptoms: bloat, overweight, ‘resistant’ belly fat, low energy, brain fog and hormonal imbalances.
The most common denominator in all these conditions is stress: when your brain perceives a crisis, your adrenal glands produce a stress hormone, cortisol, to help you fight or fly against the threat.
The problem with cortisol
This is overall a normal and healthy ‘survival’ response. But when stress becomes chronic, such as in our modern lives, cortisol floods through your body systems, slowing or stopping digestion, causing nutrient malabsorption, inflammation in the gut, and other organs, weakening immunity, and decreasing energy. Other consequences of dysfunctional digestion include bloat, gas, constipation, diarrhea, reflux, SIBO, IBS, IBDs and more.
In addition, cortisol triggers your pancreas to produce higher levels of insulin as blood sugar automatically rises in periods of stress. When high levels of cortisol become chronic, sex hormones (progesterone, estrogen and testosterone) will become imbalanced and wreak havoc on your cycles.
With chronic high insulin production, you are also more likely to develop insulin resistance, making it difficult to lose weight, belly fat and non-alcoholic fatty liver, depleting energy and putting you at higher risk of developing diabetes.
Your best anti-cortisol secret weapon
There are many ways to reduce cortisol levels. For instance, regular deep belly breathing will work wonders to reduce your stress and improve digestion. Secondly, moving your body when stress occurs, even just to the coffee machine, will help disperse cortisol through the body.
But one lesser-known and highly effective anti-cortisol weapon is oxytocin.
Often referred to as ‘the love hormone’, oxytocin affects the hypothalamus in the brain, telling your body and brain that you are safe. This in turn will stop cortisol production and help to restore balance to your digestive and hormonal systems. It will also contribute to healthier insulin levels, which will improve your weight loss efforts, and reduce your chances of developing diabetes and other insulin-related conditions.
And the best feature that makes oxytocin such an amazing stress-busting hormone lies in how it is produced: through hugging, laughing, feeling loved and grateful, holding babies, having deep meaningful conversations, connecting with nature, talking to friends, petting pets, sex, massage, meditation, yoga and all actions that help you relax and feel good.
Could you think of a more pleasant way to get healthier?
If you would like some help in exploring how your habits and mind may be keeping your body stuck in repeating negative health patterns, book a free online consultation with me, this link
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