Stress. The word seems to crop up in convos on a daily basis. And it’s causing more damage than you might think. Lily Soutter, nutritionist and weight loss
expert*, reveals more…

Prone to illness

Lily explains: ‘The stress hormone cortisol can suppress the immune system and increase inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to conditions such as heart disease and even the risk of cancer.’



Tummy fat

Cortisol not only leads to unhealthy food cravings, it can also cause fat to be deposited around the middle. ‘Stomach fat is more dangerous than simply being overweight,’ reveals Lily.


Gut trouble

‘Stress can lead to a decrease or increase in transit time within the colon, leading to diarrhoea, constipation or even cramps,’ says Lily. Stress has even been linked to IBS and food allergies.

Heart disease

High levels of adrenaline and cortisol can lead to high blood pressure, chest pains and irregular heartbeats.


Depression & anxiety

A 2013 study showed that even mild levels of stress can hinder our ability to control emotions. ‘Stress can disrupt healthy coping strategies and can increase irritability, sleep disorders and impair concentration. The indirect effects of stress can increase chances of developing depression,’ explains Lily.

Brain damage

Lily says: ‘Excess cortisol can damage the memory centre in the brain. Even as little as two weeks of high cortisol output has been shown to damage brain cell connections.’

Hair loss

‘Stress can inhibit thyroid function,’ reveals Lily. This means weight gain, feelings of coldness, constipation, tiredness and even hair loss. Eeesh.

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