Eating Mediterranean Diet May Help Reduce Effects of Stress

A new study, performed by scientists from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, finds that eating a Mediterranean diet may help reduce the physiological effects of stress and promote healthy aging.Eating Mediterranean Diet May Help Reduce Effects of Stress

A team of researchers studied the effect of the diet on 38 middle-age animals that were fed a Mediterranean diet or a Western diet. To determine the effect of both diets, the researchers measured changes in the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and in the adrenal gland hormone cortisol in response to acute and chronic stress.

Principal investigator Carol A. Shively, Ph.D., professor of pathology and comparative medicine at Wake Forest School of Medicine: "Our study showed that the Mediterranean diet shifted the balance toward the parasympathetic nervous system, which is good for health. By contrast, the Western diet increased the sympathetic response to stress, which is like having the panic button on all the time - and that isn't healthy."

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