Stress is an indelible part of all of our lives and we all know that mental and emotional stress can be harmful in numerous ways. However, a new study has suggested that stress in middle age can even affect the physiology of the brain, and even impair memory. The study, reported in the journal Neurology, found that people with higher levels of cortisol -a hormone linked to stress – performed worse on memory and other cognitive tasks than peers of the same age with average cortisol levels. Higher levels of cortisol were also linked with smaller brain volumes. For the study, the researchers looked at results from over 2,000 adults in their 40s and 50s, by examining their fasting blood cortisol levels, brain volume, thinking skills and memory power. The subjects were also made to undergo Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI) tests to measure exact brain volumes.
Sudha Seshadri, Professor at University of Texas, who was involved in the study said, "In this study, higher morning cortisol levels in a large sample of people were associated with worse brain structure and cognition." The safe conclusion seemed to be that stress can lead to cognitive decline in people. The researchers said that the study is an important reminder to physicians to counsel people to try and reduce the levels of cortisol in their blood, through reduction in stress in their lives, by getting enough sleep and engaging in moderate exercise daily. Diet also has a big role to play in the regulation of cortisol levels in the body. There are some foods that may help reduce stress and improve mood, while some others may lead to increase in levels of cortisol in the body.
Here are some foods to eat to regulate mood and relieve stress:
3. Herbal Teas
(With IANS inputs)