Did you have a hectic week? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, the 2012 Stress in America survey revealed that we are, without a doubt, an overstressed nation. Far too many families continue to struggle in vain to balance career, finances, and home life, and still have time to make healthy eating and regular exercise a priority. Sadly, the last two often fall by the wayside.
According to the American Psychological Association, 44% of all Americans report that their stress levels have increased over the past five years, a trend that shows every sign of continuing. So, what kind of toll does that take? The list of side effects is lengthy, but one of the most harmful─in part because it promotes more serious problems─is chronic inflammation. In fact, over time, stress-induced inflammation can accelerate the progression of heart disease.(1)
One study revealed that psychological stress does more than promote chronic inflammation throughout the body, it also induces vascular inflammation, which may contribute to the development of atherosclerosis.(2) In fact, atherosclerosis is now widely accepted to be an inflammatory disease.(3)
So we know that stress leads to inflammation, which in turn promotes heart disease, among other health issues. The question is, how can you protect yourself? Certainly, changing the way you respond to chronic pressure is important, although that may be easier said than done. And of course, regular exercise is invaluable in helping you manage stress in your life.
Meanwhile, reducing stress-induced inflammation is crucial. The natural solution that can help the most, thankfully, is an easy one: fish oil. This unparalleled source of DHA/EPA essential fatty acids is not only proven to decrease inflammation; it also helps combat fatigue, which is a natural result of an exhausted adrenal system when we’re under chronic stress.(4)
Another research team noted that omega-3s have a variety of anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects that help protect against atherosclerosis, as well as heart attack, sudden death, and stroke. The study emphasized that the omega-3s that were most effective were EPA/DHA from fish oil.(5)
Stress may be inevitable, but it doesn’t have to imperil your health if you protect yourself with a healthy diet, exercise, and what may be the ultimate anti-inflammation ally─fish oil.
1 Brain Behav Immun. 2012 Feb 15. [Epub ahead of print]
2 Stress. 2012 Mar 19. [Epub ahead of print]
3 Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 2010 Feb 25;56(1):59-82.
4 J Clin Oncol. 2012 Mar 12. [Epub ahead of print] 5 Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2004 Nov;6(6):461-7.