Have a balanced diet, drink lots of water and get an adequate amount of sleep, they all say. But if keeping up with all this and having a lifestyle that’s driven by stress is what you’re doing, then it defeats the whole purpose.
Well, hypothetically speaking, it’s like pushing a rock up a hill while you leak oil under your feet as you do it.1
The Molecular Psychiatry journal recently published the results of a study that was carried out by researchers, who asked about 60 women to fill surveys about the stresses they personally have in their lives. They were each then given two different kinds of meals to eat, each day.
The first meal was usually rich in saturated fats, which is usually associated to cardiovascular disease, while the second meal was packed with the theoretically healthier plant-sourced oils.
The lead of the experimental study and the director of the Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research at Ohio State University, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, switched the variables around, such as giving the healthy and unhealthy meals when the women were stressed and also when they were not stressed.
From her observations, when the women were consuming the healthier meal, their body showed inflammation responses almost as bad or worse than when they consumed the unhealthy meal. In fact, the bodily functions were behaving as if she had just eaten an extremely fat-rich meal.
Which meant that the healthy meal made no difference in showing good physiological reactions, if they were stressed, more so, the stress seemed to worsen the inflammation.
These inflammation responses were measured in terms of C-reactive protein (CRP). In the short-run it could slower the healing abilities of the body, weaken the immune-system, lower the body’s metabolism resulting in weight-gain, making it harder to shed calories or fats. While, in the long-run, such constant high-levels of inflammatory stress-responses, increases the risk for heart diseases, diabetes, arthritis, and cancer among the many others.
Even though the stress itself was not necessarily a threat to their lives, the various stressful situations that overwhelmed each woman were common ones, such as, getting someone to take care of their kids, work hours, traffic or nursing someone who was elderly or sick.
This study has proven that the theoretical idea of ‘stress kills’, is actually a cold-hard reality and possibly dire future consequences.
A few loopholes do exist in this study as some constant factors could vary from person to person. To be precise, in this experiment, the calorie count for both the meals provided were high and had close to 60 grams of fat.
So the results may not be applicable to someone who stresses but has an uber healthy diet or lifestyle such as, a person with two jobs but works-out, is fit and consumes a balanced diet with all essential vitamins and minerals.
What’s more it does not incorporate the stress-busting aspects that may exist in the person’s lifestyle, which could inadvertently counter those high-inflammatory stress responses.
However, the advantage of these study results are that it may be vital to invest or make time for some ways to de-stress.
It could be anything that makes you relax or distracts you from tensions.
Be it a walk in the park, spending time with a loved one, listening to some music, helping someone out, singing in the shower, dancing, playing with your pets or going for some yoga and meditation, which have all been proven stress-reducers, especially connecting with yourself, others and breaking a sweat.
So, how do you stress-bust and just relax? Quirky ones are welcome too!
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