Against stress and the damage caused by stress on health, help comes from berries! A greater consumption of berries, especially strawberries and blueberries, has in fact been shown to protect the heart and metabolism from the damage that chronic stress can cause. This emerges from very recent scientific research published in the journal Nutrients by an American team from the Penn State College of Medicine (Zhang et al, Nutrients, 2024).
Berries against stress, what science says
The study is very solid as it recruited more than 15,600 volunteers, all adults and asked to provide data regarding nutrition and health. Based on this data it was possible to trace the consumption of berries and what experts call allostatic load. Allostatic load is the result that a chronic stress condition can cause to our health. Our body is equipped to adapt to stressful conditions, understood as adverse situations. In the long term, if the body continues to perceive the external environment as stressful, there may be effects caused by the excessive production of particular hormones linked to stress, such as glucocorticoids and catecholamines. The result is the allostatic load, which includes a measure of the possible damage of stress to the heart, metabolism and immune system. High allostatic load values are associated with an increased risk, again in the long term, of developing obesity, depression, anxiety, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and finally even cellular degeneration. Well, what emerged from the study is that those who have the habit of regularly consuming berries, especially strawberries and blueberries, have lower allostatic load values. The benefits of berries are observed above all at the level of the heart and metabolism, with a generalized improvement in cholesterol, triglycerides, waist circumference and blood sugar levels. But benefits have also been observed for the immune system. In fact, the indicators of chronic inflammation were reduced.
Berries and stress, conclusions
Eating berries is good for you, because these small tasty fruits are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. And from today we know that berries, precious sources of substances that fight free radicals, also help reduce the risk of developing diseases linked to chronic stress, with important benefits for the health of the heart, the immune system and the whole organism.