Salt and Stress
On the news this morning, I saw a quick report that salty foods may reduce stress. No details given. So I looked up an article about the study online. Here’s the opening:
If you’re the kind of person who turns to comfort food when you’re under pressure, what type of food do you instinctively choose: sweet or salty? If the only thing that makes you feel better is chips, crisps, salted nuts or other savoury snacks, scientists think they know why.
Writing in the Journal of Neuroscience, psychiatrists from the University of Cincinnati suggest high levels of salt in your bloodstream helps to lower the levels of stress hormones. Not just that, but it raises your levels of oxytocin too – a feel-good hormone that scientists believe we produce when we fall in love, for instance, or when a mother bonds with her baby.
All right! Pass me the salt shaker! I need to calm down!
Turned out, however, it was just a rat study:
The researchers carried out tests on lab rats to find out how they responded to stress. The animals that were fed salty foods prior to the tests were found to have less activity in the parts of their brains associated with processing stress compared to those who had eaten food with a normal salt level.
The animals with high levels of salt recovered faster after being stressed too. Brain scans also showed they had higher levels of oxytocin when they had more salt in their systems (a condition known as hypernatremia).
I don’t think we should make too much of a rat study … but still, it got me thinking: Mayor Bloomberg in New York City has been waging war against salt, demanding that restaurants and food manufacturers reduce sodium levels. Sure would be fun to watch if the end result is an even higher level of stress among New Yorkers. Just what the Big Apple needs.
Interview in Muscle & Strength
I was interviewed this week for Muscle & Strength online. I have to admit, that request surprised me. I work out, but I’m not exactly a poster boy for bodybuilding. Regardless, I enjoyed the interview, which you can read here.
A musician named Steve Far immortalized the Fat Lazy Slob theory of weight gain in a song:
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