Stress, my friends, is part of life. Dealing with it is a must, because it can have deleterious effects. Stress, whether real or imagined, triggers a chemical cascade throughout the body and brain. The adrenal glands release adrenaline, which revs you up, and cortisol, which loves to store fat, especially around the belly. Cortisol is your friend IF you truly need to fight or run from something-it forces your muscles to burn glucose, and spares the fat. Since most of us don’t really fight or run, the cortisol stews in the body, causing damage to the neurons in the brain, and stores fat where you don’t want it. Here’s a couple of ways to deal with cortisol: 1) exercise (you knew that was coming), 2) Vitamin C balances cortisol levels, and 3) deep diaphragmatic breathing releases endorphins which counteract the cortisol.

Stay well, John R Blilie, M.S.