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News: November 2021

The benefits of massage

It’s long been known that a good massage can help reduce inflammation improving blood flow and easing tightness after vigorous exercise. New research[i] now shows that a massage can help flush out inflammatory cells from injured muscle tissue. It seems to promote healing meaning muscles can self-repair faster. In the lab it also led to stronger muscle fibres being formed. The researchers hope this could lead to more effective therapies in the future.

Eating mushrooms can help support your mental health

A bowl of shitake mushrooms

Mushrooms have been long been extolled for their many dietary health benefits. And now recent research[ii] shows that mushrooms may benefit mental health too.

According to the researchers, mushrooms contain ergothioneine, an antioxidant that may protect against cell and tissue damage in the body. Studies have shown that antioxidants help prevent several mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression.

Omega-3s could reduce your risk of heart disease

A selection of foods containing Omega-3 fats

Eating nuts, seeds and plant oils may cut your risk of an early death by around 10% according to a recent study[iii]. Iranian researchers reviewed dozens of studies that looked into diets and mortality rates, spanning over 30 years. They specifically looked at the effects of alpha-linoleic acid (ALA) — an omega-3 found in plants such as soybeans and flaxseeds.

The results showed that a high intake of ALA — around 1.6g a day — reduced the risk of people dying from any cause by 10 % compared to those with the lowest intake — around 0.7g. Deaths from heart disease were also lower among those whose diet was rich in nuts and other ALA-rich foods.

For every 1g increase in ALA per day – around one tablespoon of canola oil – the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease fell by 5% reported the researchers.

The best advice as always is not to concentrate on one food or nutrient but to incorporate ALA-rich foods such as green leafy veg, nuts and seeds into an overall healthy eating pattern such as the Mediterranean diet

Stress Awareness Week

Woman lying on floor surrounded by work representing stress

The focus of International Stress Awareness Week (November 1st -5th) will focus on stress management and how to reduce the stigma associated with stress and mental health issues. Subjects debated will include:

  • Experiences people have with mental health challenges and what can be done to help them.
  • How employers are responding to mental health issues and what can be learnt.
  • The role of stress management professionals in alleviating stress, with practical and proven techniques for building resilience.
  • What further actions need to be taken in the light of the pandemic and workplace changes such as hybrid working.
  • Ensuring that those suffering from stress know where they can find advice and support.

To find out more visit the stress awareness website.


[i] news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2021/10/massage-helps-injured-muscles-heal-faster-and-stronger/

[ii] Journal of Affective Disorders, 2021; 294: 686 DOI: 10.1016/j.jad.2021.07.080

[iii] BMJ 2021;375:n2213


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