Weekly Wellness

Just in time for the weekend, ignore the tropical storms and bed down and catch up on the most interesting stories from the health and wellbeing world this week. We'd love to hear your thoughts, does yoga give you everything you need or do you enjoy the challenge of cross-fit? Would you eat less meat if it was better quality? Let us know below or on Twitter @theholist.


1.  HOW MUCH EXERCISE IS REALLY ENOUGH?

Image: Jessleff at Pixabay.com

Image: Jessleff at Pixabay.com

Here at The Holist we are serious yoga devotees and it is far and away our favourite form of exercise. Many yogis claim that a devoted practice can provide all of the aerobic benefits that our body requires without the need for additional cardio or resistance training but some experts disagree. This article from the New York Times surveys the evidence, concluding that while yoga has been proven to lead to measurable strength gains, it is unlikely to be aerobic enough to be our sole form of exercise.

Luckily, new research released this week has shown that running for as little as five minutes a day can lead to significant health benefits. The findings, published in the The Journal of the American College of Cardiology, found that runners had a 30% lower mortality risk generally, and a 45% lower risk of dying from heart disease than non-runners. Check out the full article here

At the other end of the spectrum ‘extreme’ workouts such as Crossfit and Insanity continue to ignite controversy. This article fromThe Atlantic examines the science in further detail and asks whether it’s ever ok to push yourself to the point of vomiting when working out?


2. THE PROTEIN MYTH

Image: Hans at Pixabay.com

Image: Hans at Pixabay.com

Protein is one of the most commonly misunderstood macronutrients and most people today seriously overestimate how much protein our actually bodies require. In this helpful blog post, celebrity nutritionist Kimberley Synder cuts through the myths surrounding how much protein we really need and explains how you can get sufficient protein (even if you’re a serious athlete) from a mostly plant-based diet.


3. SOMETHING FISHY?

Image: Waldiwkl at Pixabay.com

Image: Waldiwkl at Pixabay.com

The omnivores out there will be interested to hear that a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine has found that regular fish eaters have more voluminous brains and larger volumes of grey matter in the parts of the brain responsible for memory and cognition. The good news is that the benefits can be seen even eating fish just once a week, which the study found leads to a 14% larger hippocampus—the brain’s main memory and learning center—when compared to non-fish eaters which has huge implications for susceptibility to Alzheimer’s. While the study didn’t highlight any particular kind of fish, they did stress that the benefits are only available when the fish is baked or grilled but evaporate as soon as the fish is fried. Read more over at The Atlantic.


4. THE OMNIVORE’S DILEMMA - WHY QUALITY MEAT MATTERS

Image: Theguardian.com

Image: Theguardian.com

If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll have seen our post about The Guardian’s recent investigation into the horrendous state of the the major UK supermarkets’ poultry suppliers. The graphic picture above is just one example of the serious hygiene failings they found throughout UK production facilities. If the photos accompanying the report haven’t turned you instantly vegan, then at the very least they should persuade you that quality meat really is worth the extra money, even if it means eating meat less often. This useful piece explains why you need to strike up a relationship with your local butcher and what you should really be looking for when buying your meat.


5. AN ASPRIN A DAY KEEPS CANCER AWAY?

Image: Stevepb at Pixabay.com

Image: Stevepb at Pixabay.com

New research from Queen Mary's University of London published in the Annals of Oncology has found that taking aspirin every day may reduce the mortality rates from bowel, stomach and oesophageal cancer by up to 30-40%. The study re-examined 200 existing studies on aspirin and predicts that if all people aged 50 and over in the UK took a daily dose of the drug, some 122,000 deaths could be prevented over two decades. Yet the regular use of aspirin remains controversial given its potentially serious side effects especially the risk of internal bleeding. Given that the study found the positive benefits will only be seen after 5 years of daily use, opinion remains divided as to whether the risks really do outweigh the benefits. Read more over at the BBC.