Cortisol or the stress hormone
Cortisol or “stress hormone” is secreted by the adrenal glands in greater quantities in response to alert situations. It is an emergency measure activated by our body to ensure the most effective functioning of organs in critical conditions and in which a quick response is required.
As a result, there will be an increase in heart rate, an increase in the glycemic index (with the relative secretion of glucose), the use of accumulated fats and the transformation of proteins into directly usable energy. At the same time, however, to cope with such an important energy demand, the immune defenses will lower and the possibility of encountering problems and pathologies directly linked to a situation of constant and sometimes useless “alert” will rise. Stress, making the alert situation chronic, causes the onset of numerous pathologies affecting practically all organs.
To keep cortisol levels under control here are some tips regarding the diet:
- Vitamin C and Vitamin B5 are fundamental co-factors for the proper functioning of the adrenal glands
- A multivitamin balance and the intake of a balanced mix of essential minerals, linked to a healthy diet, certainly has positive effects on the state of stress
- Supplementing one’s diet with fatty acids reduces the presence of free radicals and therefore the phenomena of inflammation, although it is important to pay attention to an overdose of Omega3 which could lead to adverse effects.
- Beware of cholesterol which must not be too high or too low. The presence of some saturated fats in the diet can be important. Remember that the total cholesterol level should be between 160 and 180 mg / dL.
- In America they are called Feel Good Food: they are the foods that help you feel better in the greatest periods of stress: there are 10 (below).
But beyond the simplifications and the more or less scientifically based lists, it is certain that we can count
in the category of “foods of good mood” all those foods containing vitamin E, selenium, iron and essential fatty acids (the well-known Omega 3) elements found in fish. As for vegetables, those with dark green leaves are particularly suitable, a source of antioxidants, Vitamin C and folic acid.
Furthermore, to promote brain activity we must not allow ourselves too abundant or heavy meals, but we must necessarily rely on foods with a low glycemic index such as whole grains, legumes that release sugars more slowly.
10 Feel Good Food to feel better
2 the salmon,
3 the skimmed milk
4 flax seeds
7 the sardines
10 brussels sprouts
Good rules for stress-free living
Dr Thierry Hertoghe, an internationally renowned endocrinologist, advises, before resorting to pharmacological therapies, to consider the possibility of making small but essential changes in your lifestyle.
Here are his simple but valuable tips:
1 do not smoke
2 exercise but do not overdo it
3 do not exceed the consumption of alcohol and caffeine especially in the evening before going to bed
4 eating a balanced diet (no overeating or underfeeding)
“Taking care of ourselves and educating ourselves to lead lifestyles that nourish health and counteract stress is the best service we can do to our well-being”.