Stress as bad as high-fat diet for women's health

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Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

Researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah found that stress can change the bacteria in a woman’s gut, and an unhealthy gut has previously been linked to inflammatory bowel disease and some forms of cancer. A high-fat diet can also lead to gut disruption, which can cause high-blood sugar levels and inflammation, leading to heart disease, arthritis and cancer.

Carrying out their research on mice, the team, led by study author Professor Laura Bridgewater, found that in the female mice, gut bacteria changed as much after enduring stressful situations as it does after eating a high-fat diet.

“In society, women tend to have higher rates of depression and anxiety, which are linked to stress. This study suggests that a possible source of the gender discrepancy may be the different ways gut microbiota responds to stress in males versus females,” Professor Bridgewater commented.

Results have been published in journal Nature Scientific Reports.

Past studies have shown that a healthy gut plays a role in maintaining immunity, weight and mental health.

Your body gives off plenty of signs if all is not harmonious with your gut, including gas, bloating, heartburn, diarrhoea or constipation. Depression, anxiety, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and skin conditions are also indicators.

Eating fermented foods, taking probiotics and managing stress are all proven ways that can help you manage your gut bacteria levels.

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