Stress Cancels Some Benefits of Eating Healthy
According to a new study, some benefits of choosing healthy dietary fats—from foods like fish, nuts, and monounsaturated vegetable oils—are cancelled out by stress. Researchers already know that diet and stress can affect inflammation in the body, and inflammation is linked to a number of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. In this new study, they looked at the relationships among dietary fat, stress levels, and inflammatory markers in the blood.
Study participants—about 60 women with an average age of 53—were given a meal high in saturated fat or a meal made with monounsaturated sunflower oil, and then were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about their stress level. Researchers took blood samples and measured levels of four inflammation markers.
After controlling for other factors that can affect inflammation—age, physical activity level, weight, abdominal fat, for example—researchers found that women who ate the meal high in saturated fat had higher inflammation marker levels than women who at the healthy fat meal. However, inflammation markers were just as high in women who ate the healthier meal, but reported feeling stressed.
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