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If you eat more healthy, mono- and polyunsaturated fats you’ll be amazed at the results…
You’ll have clearer skin, a happier mood, a sharper mind, more stamina and the extra pounds will melt right off. What’s not to love about that?
But there’s a catch.
It turns out that even if you eat all the avocados, walnuts, salmon and olive oil in the world, there is one thing that can prevent you from reaping the benefits of these healthy foods…
Researchers from Ohio State University tested the effects of healthy fats and unhealthy fats on women with different stress levels. And here’s what they found…
Unstressed women who ate a biscuits and gravy breakfast made with the saturated fat palm oil had far worse results on a blood test than unstressed women who ate the same breakfast made with a healthier option — monounsaturated sunflower oil.
The women eating a breakfast made from palm oil showed higher levels of inflammation and more precursors for disease in their bloodwork than the women who ate the sunflower oil breakfast. That’s a pretty predictable result considering sunflower oil contains high levels of inflammation-fighting oleic acid.
But then the study got more interesting…
Researchers tested the women on two separate days. And on one day or the other, some of the women had experienced a stressful event before they came in for testing. It wasn’t anything life-changing… just a day-to-day stressor like cleaning up paint a child spilled all over the floor or struggling to help a parent with dementia who was resisting help.
But that simple stressor made all the difference in their bloodwork…
Stressed out women who ate the healthier sunflower oil breakfast had similar bloodwork results to the women who ate the unhealthy breakfast loaded with saturated fat.
Is it all for naught?
This is a huge bummer for everyone working hard to be healthier by doing the right thing. Does it mean you should just give up? I can hear voices all over the internet right now saying, “What’s the use?”… and reaching for super-sized fries.
Believe me I understand where you are coming from. Stress is one of those things that’s practically impossible to fully eliminate from your life.
But of course the last thing you need to do is to stop trying to eat healthier fats — or healthier foods, or practicing a healthier lifestyle in general.
What you should do is take this information as a wake-up call to the realization that stress is a very real danger to your health — in my opinion — as much as cancer is.
In fact, stress:
- Helps cancer spread. Researchers have found that when mice are exposed to chronic, ongoing stress, their lymphatic systems undergo physical changes that make it quicker and easier for cancer to spread throughout their bodies.
- Doubles your risk of heart attack. Scientists found that over an 18-year period, people who felt seriously stressed were more than twice as likely to die of heart attacks than their more optimistic counterparts.
- Can lead to chronic inflammation. Studies have established the fact that psychological stress sets up metabolic reactions, including inflammation, that resemble what happens when you are ill or injured. Under normal circumstances, inflammation can help the body heal and recover from disease. But when stress leads to chronic, uncontrolled inflammation, your over-heated immune system can damage parts of the body like the heart and arteries. And we know stress if the root of disease.
It’s plain and clear: stress kills. Because stress is just that dangerous, it’s time to get serious about decreasing its effects on your health…
Relax, don’t do it
Not stressing is easier said than done.
But if you already strive to live a healthy lifestyle, chances are you’re already ahead of the game, though we now know stress can decrease those positive gains.
So what else must you do?
There are several proven ways to reduce your stress levels. Most likely you are not going to see anything new in this list below, but armed with the information you have, I hope you’ll try like the dickens to make some of these stress-reducers part of your routine.
10 Steps to reduce stress
But a real key to making them work is rewiring your brain. I wrote about a technique that helped people do this very thing. It was proven very effective in helping people reach life-changing goals — and keep them. So while you’re thinking about the deadly effects of stress on your life, take a moment to read about this valuable tool for getting what you want (in this case, less stress and more health!), then tackle this list:
- Meditating or praying every day
- Exercising daily
- Reciting positive affirmations
- Remembering what you’re grateful for
- Taking deep breaths to breathe in energy and out stress
- Watching or reading something funny
- Getting a massage
- Saying no to too much responsibility
- Learning to forgive
- Setting aside time for activities you enjoy
One more thing — and I hesitate to add this because I think the recommendations above will help you adopt lasting ways to find relief from stress. But if you need a little extra help, DHEA is considered a supplement that blocks stress. Start with 5 mg each morning, working up to 25 mg a day if you need it, to help reduce stress, renew energy, and lower daily anxiety and the fatigue that goes with it.
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K. Kiecolt-Glaser, et al. “Depression, daily stressors and inflammatory responses to high-fat meals: when stress overrides healthier food choices.” Molecular Psychiatry, 2016.
“Stress Management.” HelpGuide.org. http://www.helpguide.org. Retrieved September 20, 2016.