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When Healthy Eating Isn't a Match for Stress

Yes, we all know we should eat healthy. But even the healthiest of diets can meet their match in an all-too-familiar enemy: stress.

A study recently published in Molecular Psychiatry "suggests stress can override the benefits of making better food choices." The findings were based on research in which 58 women "completed surveys to assess the kinds of stress they were experiencing" and also were given "two different types of meals to eat, on different days": one meal with plenty of saturated fat, the other a healthier option with plenty of plant-based oils. Some "counterintuitive" results came back from the experiment. According to the study's author, Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, "If a woman was stressed on a day when she got the healthy meal, she looked like she was eating the saturated fat meal in terms of her [inflammation] responses." Over time, high levels of inflammation could potentially lead to "a range of diseases."

Thankfully, NPR's coverage of the study ended on a hopeful note, alluding to "a whole range of strategies that have been shown to help manage stress," including performing kind deeds for others and what they called "perhaps the world's greatest stress reliever"—close, personal relationships.

Potential Preaching Angles: Science is showing that healthy eating may not always win out against stress, and even the best stress relievers may fail at times—but the "close, personal relationship" we have with our Savior is one that has already won against stress, fear, and even death.

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