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You are what you eat, says researcher


Zoe Satherley
1 May 2007
Have you ever wondered if there is any truth in the adage ‘you are what you eat’? Well now you can put it to the test by joining a Southern Cross University research study.

The study, conducted by PhD student Joanne Bradbury, under the supervision of Professor Stephen Myers, director of the University’s NatMed Research Centre, will look at how people’s dietary habits relate to their stress levels. The study will give participants an understanding of how an important part of their immune system is involved in stress.

“Psychological and emotional stress has been linked with the production of chemical messengers called cytokines that operate at the cellular level and influence the development or amelioration of inflammation. An exciting aspect of this study will be to determine the role of cytokines in the level of stress that people experience,” said Professor Myers.

“A bonus for participants is to learn about their dietary fat intake and its effects at the cellular level, to find out about their stress levels and to learn about their cytokines. These tests are not normally undertaken in routine medical practice and may provide tangible value for those who participate,” added Joanne Bradbury.

All people who regularly consume food are invited to participate, said Joanne. “One of our hopes is to have a wide range of dietary patterns included in the study. So it doesn’t matter what your diet is like, if you eat food, we’d like you to join us,” she said.

The study needs 200 men and women aged 18 and over with a wide cross section of stress levels and all dietary intakes, but the study must exclude those with serious inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.

If you would like to help the researchers explore the relationships between diet and stress please register your interest by ringing Joanne on 02 6626 9453 or email
[email protected].

Photo: PhD candidate Joanne Bradbury is undertaking research into how diet affects the body’s ability to cope with stress.