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High stress and a poor diet could wreak equal havoc on your body


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Photo: Alexey Kuzma

Sorry to break it to you, but high stress levels might be just as bad for you as downing junk food. Yes, seriously.

When studying the effects of stress and high-fat diets on mice, researchers found interesting discoveries concerning gender discrepancies: According to a press release, “When female mice were exposed to stress, their gut microbiota changed to look like they were eating a high-fat diet.”

Study author Laura Bridgewater said the harmful bacteria in the gut can lead to everything from obesity and type 2 diabetes to heart disease, highlighting that stress isn’t just psychological—it’s physical, too.

Even wilder? The same effects didn’t occur in the male mice. And since women tend to experience higher rates of stress-linked depression and anxiety, Bridgewater contends this study “suggests that a possible source of the gender discrepancy may be the different ways gut microbiota responds to stress in males vs. females.”

“This study suggests that a possible source of the gender discrepancy may be the different ways gut microbiota responds to stress in males vs. females,” —Laura Bridgewater, study author.

Help yourself avoid this gut-health hell by prioritizing your mental health: Try to calm your nerves through meditation, different breathing techniques, or by sipping on some wellness beverages before stress starts affecting your entire body.

And whatever you do, avoid stress-eating. Based on these findings, stress combined with a poor diet could be a recipe for physical and emotional disaster. Instead, try a particularly healthy recipe, like this one for a baked sweet potato with a seasonal fall twist.

This is why stress is keeping millennials up at night. And if you’re trying to manage your stress, first look to your personality type.