What a little stress does in your body
Ladies, I know you do what you can to eat right and get a little movement.
And if you're doing things right, you're getting plenty of the healthy fats at the heart of the Mediterranean diet, which will help cut your risk of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer.
But if you really want the disease-beating benefits of those healthy fats, you need to change more than just what's on your dinner plate.
You need to fight off stress, too -- because the latest research shows how even moderate levels of that aggravation can cancel out the benefits of those health-boosting fats.
I'll give you some quick tips on how to melt away stress in a moment.
First, more on this study, which shows how stress can have immediate effects inside your body -- and it's so powerful, that a healthy meal could turn into an unhealthy one.
In the study, women were given either a lousy meal with plenty of saturated fats from palm oil, or a very similar meal where the saturated fats were replaced with much healthier monounsaturated sunflower oil.
They asked the women about stressful events over the past 24 hours and ran some blood tests.
Then, on a different day, they repeated the experiment all over again.
In women with normal levels of stress, there were clear differences -- and they were exactly what you'd expect.
Levels of C-reactive protein and serum amyloid A, two markers of damaging inflammation, jumped after the saturated fat meal -- but not in most of the women who had the healthier fats.
Women who ate saturated fats also had higher levels of markers of damage taking place in the arteries -- the kind that leads to nasty plaque building up, which in turn causes arteries to stiffen.
Think about that next time you tell yourself one bad meal won't make a difference!
Once again, most of the women who had the healthier meal didn't see that same damage.
But there was one set of women who DID suffer high inflammation and stiffer arteries despite eating the healthier meal -- and it was the women who had been all stressed out.
For them, it was as if the breakfast didn't matter, because after eating they had the same inflammation levels and artery risk as the women given the high-fat meals.
So how do you cut stress?
First, take a deep breath... and if you need a little more help, don't forget to take a moment out to pray.
It always helps to put things in perspective.
Second, get regular exercise. Even walking daily will help maintain stress hormone balance.
And third, consider adrenal supplements that contain well-studied stress-busting herbs such as ashwagandha.
Supplements of the probiotic bacteria Bifidobacterium longum can also cut levels of stress, including levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And they can be especially effective in seniors.
Learn more in this free report from my House Calls archives.