Feeling stressed, anxious and overwhelmed? Drink up!
Water, that is.
I talk a lot about stress and the impact it has on stress hormones, specifically cortisol. But many of you have asked – what is this “fight or flight” hormone, and is it really that detrimental in the long run?
Adrenaline is our short-term stress hormone, responsible for the “fight or flight” response. So when you’re in danger, that kicks in. The problem is that your body doesn’t always know if the danger is short-lived. When we’re under stress for a longer period of time, cortisol kicks in. This long-term stress hormone is great for helping us through something like an intense workout, but too much of it is a problem: think preventing us from burning fat, causing dysglycaemia (irregular blood sugar) and can lead to oestrogen dominance. And it can even pack fat onto your midsection – no thanks!
Because everything in the body is interconnected, stress hormones also have an impact on sex hormones. Progesterone, for example, is an anti-anxiety, anti-depressive hormone, and it’s responsible for burning fat and keeping a pregnancy viable. As Dr. Libby Weaver says, it’s a hormone “we all want buckloads of forever.”
The problem is that when cortisol competes with progesterone, cortisol will always win. The result is low progesterone, which is then counterbalanced by high oestrogen. And now? We see an increase in women with PMS, endometriosis, PCOS and weight gain – all caused by oestrogen dominance.
Needless to say, elevated cortisol is not something to mess around with!
I talk a lot about the importance of rest to help manage cortisol levels, but did you know that hydration plays a major role here too? It’s true. A dehydrated body can impact your mood, causing cortisol to rise in the bloodstream.
Take the stress levels of a mom hosting a 4-year-old’s birthday party – if you’ve been there, you know! The rest of us can only imagine, and Zip Water recently completed a fun experiment with two moms to illustrate the point – only these moms were also tasked with protecting a room filled with fragile antiques! You can watch the video here.
It’s easy to see the impact of hydration under a stressful (and sugar-fueled) situation.
Dr. John Tickell, an international health expert, says “science has shown us that water is an excellent solution for improving mood and reducing negative stress, with well hydrated people reporting less fatigue, less confusion, and less tension”.
On a physiological level, proper hydration really does help keep you calm and make better decisions. You better believe that I manage all of the travel, book release and wedding craziness armed with water!