THE STRESS EFFECT

THE STRESS EFFECT

It’s no secret that stress is bad for your health. Long-term exposure to anxiety is linked to increased risk of heart attack, stroke and other conditions. But new research shows negative emotions may alter your body’s immune response, leading to increased inflammation. Scientists from Pennsylvania State University asked a group of people to record their feelings over two weeks. Results of blood-sample tests showed that those who experienced negative moods several times a day, for extended periods of time, tended to have higher levels of inflammation in their blood. The researchers hope further research may lead to psychosocial interventions to break the cycle that can lead to chronic inflammation and disease. Meanwhile, hit that yoga class or meditation session.

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Swap the coffee for a power frappe.

Vitamin C-rich aronia berry is high in anthocyanins and antioxidants, while cacao contains flavonoids catechin and epicatechin. Add to your favourite milk for a nutritional boost. Aronia and Cacao

Frappe £30 for 30g; viridian.com.

What’s the best way to treat postworkout aching muscles and speed recovery?

‘Lactic acid build-up is often blamed for post-workout muscle soreness, but lactic acid isn’t the problem; it breaks down quickly and is no longer present when the muscle soreness hits. Why muscle soreness occurs is still a grey area, but anti-inflammatory herbs and spices can help: ginger, oregano and rosemary in food, as a tincture or in essential-oil massage. Turmeric is great to have daily with a little black pepper to enhance absorption – look for golden latte recipes online. Aim for a teaspoon of turmeric per day. Tart cherry juice has been shown to lessen pain and improve strength recovery in athletes at two cups per day; it also helps you sleep, which is important for muscle repair. Betaglucan-rich medicinal mushrooms, cordyceps and chaga, help mitigate oxidative stress, support immunity, and assist in muscle recovery.’

Naturopath Gemma Hurditch lectures at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine).

CNM trains students for careers in natural therapies; naturopathy-uk.com.

Did you know Candida albicans, a yeast that naturally lives in your gut and can cause thrush, can also lead to memory problems and brain changes similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s disease? New research in the journal Nature Communications shows the yeast is able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which normally protects the brain from germs and diseasecausing substances in your blood, and can trigger an inflammation response. Avoid wearing tight or synthetic underwear, take probiotics after a course of antibiotics and watch your sugar intake to reduce risk.

SLEEP TIGHT

You look for performance fabrics in your sportswear, so why shouldn’t you in your PJs? Swiss company Dagsmejan’s range of natural-fibre sleepwear boasts the performance values of synthetics. Moisture-wicking, antibacterial, temperature-regulating and four times more breathable than cotton, the superset! fabric is made from the eucalyptus plant and merino wools. Choose from shorts, tops, trousers and nighties in dusky rose, light grey and dark grey, and enjoy a comfortable night. From £64; dagsmejan.com.

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