Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers Review: Role of Stress in Most Modern Illnesses

Guest Contributor
Dec 14, 2010

The book “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers” by Stanford biologist Robert Sapolsky describes how wild animals are less susceptible than humans to most chronic illnesses such as autoimmune disease, diabetes, ulcer, cancer , hypertension, or any hearty disease. This is a fascinating book that explains why chronic stress is a major factor in most human illnesses.

The book is fun and entertaining to read because the author successful turns this dry scientific subject into an amusing informative book. He explains how our body’s stress mechanism is designed to provide sudden increase in energy when you are faced with a life-threatening situation. This mechanism is also called “fight or flight syndrome”. For instance, if a lion is in front of you to eat you, then it makes sense to be stressed and run as fast as you can. This is no time to be happy and logical. On the other hand, if you are living in a modern society with stress every day, the body does not have the mechanism to cope this chronic stress. And most of us do not have any choice to run from our problems because we are dealing with a different kind of stress.

Although we do not have a choice to live in a more simple society, we do have a choice to take control of our stress. There is no need to be stressed about a past event. It is important to move on. Also, we can choose to exercise more so that the body releases the feel-good hormone called serotonin to relieve our stress. After reading this book, I researched how to reduce my stress by eating well as well as exercising more often.

If you are interested in scientific facts about how our bodies handle stress without getting technical, this is a great book to read. I recommend this book to both biologists and non-biologists who are interested in learning facts about stress in a non-stressful way.

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