It is National Stress Awareness Day so let’s look at the negative impact that stress can have on your health.

Chronic stress can rob your body of its ability to fight inflammation and make you susceptible to illness.

Studies carried out by scientists from Carnegie Mellon University put 276 healthy adults through an intensive stress interview before exposing them to a virus that causes the common cold. The participants were kept in quarantine and monitored for 5 days for signs of infection and illness.

The Effects of Stress and Inflammation on Health

The research team found that exposure to a prolonged stressful event was associated with the hormonal signals that regulate inflammation not being picked up by the immune cells. This meant that those taking part in the study were more likely to become ill. Inflammation is behind other illnesses including cardiovascular disease, asthma and autoimmune diseases.

You will have your own unique threshold to stress so what you find stressful may differ from others. It’s important that you have good coping strategies to lessen the impact of stress. Things like exercise, relaxing, spending time with family and friends can be good ways to protect yourself.

Good foods to include in an anti-inflammatory diet include: salmon and other oily fish, wholegrains, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables and healthy fats such as olive oil.