Stress seems to be everywhere these days and especially over these past few years, stress has been at an all time high for many people, so finding good ways to manage stress is not only important, but also vital for your health and life.

I've experienced my fair share of stress when I escaped an abusive relationship and I was cleaned out of all my money many years ago. Because of the extreme stress I was under, I developed boarder line diabetes, intestinal problems and a host of other health issues.

When the economy took a dive a few years ago and I lost 90% of my income, I also lost a large amount of hair and gained weight due to excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol.

Stress and weight gain

High cortisol (the stress hormone) makes us more likely to have food cravings (especially for fats and sweets). It converts healthy hip fat into toxic belly fat, suppresses the immune system, and generally raises our risk of heart disease.

According to Dr. Oz's book "You On a Diet"; cortisol inhibits CRH (corticotrophin-releasing hormone), which is made by the hypothalamus. CHR is what decreases your desire to eat. High cortisol levels reduce insulin sensitivity, so diabetes becomes more common and adversely influences fat and protein metabolism.

Memory and stress

Too much of the stress hormone can prevent our brains from creating new memories or being able to access new ones. Heightened levels of cortisol have been shown to hamper memory and literally decrease the size of the brain.

Stress Management foods to lower cortisol levels

Most are unaware that stress management and lowering the stress hormone, cortisol can easily be done by the foods you eat.

Low-glycemic and high protein foods

The stress hormone cortisol, causes blood sugar to elevate and this then leads to an acidic blood condition. Acidic blood leads to the modern life-style epidemics we see today like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, as well as excess belly fat. Therefore, keeping with a low glycemic and high protein diet is ideal.

A low glycemic diet, is a diet that is low in both refined and natural sugars. With the combination of low glycemic and high protein, it can help you stabilize your blood sugar, control your moods and help you burn fat.

The best low glycemic/high protein foods include:

High protein, omega 3's such as flaxseeds
Chia seeds
Walnuts
Kidney and navy beans
Lentils
Olive oil
Winter squash
Fresh cold water fish such as Salmon and tuna
Chicken
Eggs
Yogurt (plain low-fat, Greek style is the best).

Eat Gluten free grains
High gluten foods such as those with processed flours lead to inflammation in the intestinal tract. Inflammation will lead to secretion of cortisol.

Gluten free grains are:

Quinoa
Millet
Amaranth
Buckwheat
Brown rice

Supplement daily with vitamin C
Stress depletes vitamin C stores in the body and vitamin C helps reduce cortisol levels.

Foods rich in vitamin C include:

Red and Green Hot Chili Peppers
Guavas
Bell Peppers
Fresh Herbs (Thyme and Parsley)
Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, Mustard, Garden Cress)
Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts
Papayas and Oranges

By combining simple Stress Management techniques along with foods that lower cortisol levels, you will find relief, clarity and lose weight in no time.
For more information about Stress Management and Foods to control the stress hormone

Go to http://www.whatrelievesstress.com

Author's Bio: 

Jentana Lee Dabbs CHt is a stress recovery and anti-stress and beauty diet expert who helps women manage and lose stress related weight gain, restore their health, beauty and happiness back in a way that works for women naturally. If stress has taken over your life or If you think stress is the cause of your weight gain, lack of productivity, or unhappiness go to http://www.whywomenstress.com to find out and get free downloads and tools to help you.