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Plant-based diet may reduce risk and severity of Covid

A healthy plant-based diet is linked to a lower risk of getting Covid-19, a new study has revealed. The study, led by researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US, also showed that a plant-based diet was linked with a lower risk of experiencing severe symptoms in people who were diagnosed with Covid-19.

Furthermore, there was a synergistic relationship between poor diet and increased socioeconomic deprivation with Covid-19 risk that was higher than the sum of the risk associated with each factor alone.

The researchers examined data from 592,571 participants between March and December 2020. The participants’ diets were assessed using a scoring system that emphasised healthy plant foods such as fruits and vegetables. During follow-up, 31,831 participants developed Covid-19.

Compared with individuals in the lowest quartile of the diet score, those in the highest quartile had a 9 per cent lower risk of developing Covid-19 and a 41 per cent lower risk of developing severe Covid-19.

The co-senior author of the study, Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, said: “Although we cannot emphasise enough the importance of getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in crowded indoor settings, our study suggests that individuals can also potentially reduce their risk of getting Covid-19 or having poor outcomes by paying attention to their diet.”

The results were published in the journal Gut.

Blackcurrant extract can reduce muscle soreness after exercise, study shows

A new study shows that New Zealand blackcurrant extract can reduce muscle soreness by half in recreational exercisers undertaking strenuous exercise. The research showed that the anthocyanin-rich blackcurrant supplement, CurraNZ®, provided a “stark” improvement to functional recovery when taken before and after a damaging bout of bicep curl exercises.

The University of Surrey study was performed in men and women who were unaccustomed to exercise involving strength training to build muscle, otherwise known as “resistance” training. The same study’s clinical data demonstrated three times faster recovery of muscle strength and reduced muscle soreness – great news for those of us who like to keep active, such as gym-goers and individuals looking to take up exercise. The findings were published in Nutrients.

Researchers discover most effective way to improve fitness

Researchers have discovered that moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise is the most effective way to improve fitness, as opposed to simply walking or reducing time spent sedentary.

The team from Boston University School of Medicine studied approximately 2,000 participants who underwent exercise tests to measure their physical fitness. The participants wore devices that measure frequency and intensity of movement. These were worn for one week around the time of the study and approximately eight years earlier.

The researchers found that dedicated exercise (moderate-to-vigorous physical activity) was the most efficient way of improving fitness. Specifically, exercise was three times more efficient than walking alone and more than 14 times more efficient than reducing the time spent sedentary. Additionally, they found that the greater time spent exercising and higher steps per day could partially offset the negative effects of being sedentary in terms of physical fitness. The findings appear online in the European Heart Journal.

Men are more open about their medical conditions than women, study reveals

Although the majority of men are still not confident talking about their health, new research reveals that men are actually more open than women when it comes to talking about their existing medical conditions.

A survey of just over 2,000 UK adults has revealed that 40 per cent of men are open with others about their conditions, compared to only 25 per cent of women. In addition, the research by medical ID charity MedicAlert found that men feel less worried, uncomfortable, or stressed when talking about new or pre-existing conditions than women, showing that positive change is happening, and some feel more comfortable speaking up.

Whilst this is great news, it does mean that 60 per cent of men with underlying conditions are still struggling to open up to others about their health. The research reveals 24 per cent don’t like to explain their condition to every person they meet, while 16 per cent don’t discuss their health as they want to ease the burden on friends and family.

Recovery during sleep is linked to eating behaviour and diet

Good sleep-time recovery is associated with a healthy diet and healthy eating habits, as well as with lower consumption of alcohol, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Eastern Finland carried out a study involving 252 participants who were described as “psychologically distressed” and “overweight”. The researchers recorded the participants’ alcohol consumption, the quality of their diets and also their eating behaviour, such as eating according to hunger and satiety cues. The participants’ sleep-time recovery was measured via their sleep-time heart rate variability over three consecutive nights.

According to the findings, better physiological recovery was associated with a healthier diet and lower alcohol consumption, and possibly also with eating habits, especially factors affecting our decision to eat. Participants with a good stress balance reported better overall diet quality, higher fibre intake, stronger dietary self-control and lower alcohol consumption than those with a poorer stress balance. The results were published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology.

Vitamin D deficiency highlighted in UK’s Black population

According to a new study, over 75 per cent of the UK’s Black population are likely to be deficient in vitamin D. The study was conducted by vitamin company Vitl and involved 2,500 participants from the UK’s Black population. Of those respondents who were recognised as high risk, common symptoms included getting sick frequently (24 per cent) and feeling tired a lot of the time (22 cent).

“Whilst weight and time spent in direct sunlight are both factors that can affect vitamin D levels, research has shown that skin colour can play a part too” says Roxane Bakker, Registered Dietitian and Head of Nutrition at Vitl. “Our skin contains melanin, which is the pigment that gives our skin its colour. It’s been found over years of published studies that individuals who have more melanin, and therefore a darker skin pigmentation, are more likely to be deficient in vitamin D. This is because having more melanin reduces your body’s ability to synthesise vitamin D from the sun, resulting in lower levels.”

Roxane adds: “Although vitamin D can be found in sources of our food (such as oily fish, dairy products) as well as exposure from direct sunlight, here in the UK, we don’t tend to see all that much sun, making it really difficult particularly in the winter to get the required daily dose of vitamin D. A convenient and easy solution is supplementing alongside your diet and sun exposure. This way you’ll be able to meet your recommended vitamin D intake.”

CNM pioneers online natural health diploma courses

Responding to the current worldwide health challenges, the College of Naturopathic Medicine (CNM) is now offering online its internationally recognised diploma and short courses to overwhelming positive response from the public.

CNM graduates and students know:

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