April In A Nutshell

Of protein and muscles

Extra protein intake will not lead to muscle growth without adequate strength training. This is because the body cannot store protein. Protein that is not utilised by the body will be converted into energy or stored as fat. Extra protein intake will lead to an increase in the level of lipids. This is because many high-protein foods contain saturated fat. As a result, it exposes the person to a high risk of cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, kidneys act to excrete extra amino acids off the body. Therefore, too much protein will damage the organs in the long term.

The recommended daily protein intake is 0.8g per kilogram of body weight. For instance, a person that weighs 70kg will need 56g of protein each day. However, this requirement differs, depending on how metabolically active the person is. People who exercise regularly should consume around 1.3g of protein per kilogram of body weight. In addition, those who lift weights constantly will need even more protein intake at an average of 1.5g per kilogram. An intake of 2g per kilogram will be considered as excessive and is detrimental to health.

It is highly recommended to spread your protein consumption throughout the meals. In fact, some studies indicated that having protein in breakfast helps in weight management by decreasing hunger throughout the day. Nevertheless, more research is needed to verify this claim.

A typical meal should consist around 20g of protein, eaten in 45 minutes to one hour after a workout. You can easily achieve the recommended 20g protein by eating a banana, Greek yoghurt and a hardboiled egg. Nevertheless, as stated above, a high intake (more than 40g) in a meal brings more harm than benefits.

Read more about it at The Star


Patients with learning disabilities missing out on health checks

People with learning disabilities are encouraged to attend a yearly general physical examination and also, to review their medications, if any. The examination includes blood pressure, chronic disease and mental health checks.

However, according to a report by the BBC, NHS Digital shows many of these patients are missing out on their health assessments. For example, around 70% women in the general population are entitled to a breast cancer screening but only about 50% who have learning disabilities take up such service in England. As a result of the lack of health awareness, they have an average shorter life expectancy of 16 years compared to the general population.

Many GP surgeries have taken proactive steps to help patients with difficulties. Patients who disclose their disabilities to their surgeries will be given adequate accommodation. One of them includes extra allocation of time during GP appointments (a non-disabled patient is given around 10 minutes on average). Furthermore, they will be reminded of their appointments by the GPs in advance.

Although much help is given to these patients, they still find it difficult to access healthcare service. Some of the reasons include a lack of accessible transport, anxiety and low confidence with the healthcare staffs.

Fortunately, there is a rising trend on the number of patients with learning disabilities who attend health checks. Nevertheless, much can still be done to improve the overall rate.


Overcoming stress


Stress will always be part and parcel of our lives. It can either be interpreted by the brain as a threat or a positive challenge. Therefore, this explains the difference in how we perceived stress. Fortunately, there are some steps that we can take to control stress:

  1. Be a positive thinker

Always find the positive aspects that you will gain from a task that you are assigned to. For example, imagine how doing laundry disengages you from the buzz of life. In fact, orientating yourself towards a positive mindset will improve productivity.

  1. Realise the meaning behind the stress

Whenever we are facing stress, try to look out for the reason behind this situation. For instance, focus on how job interview will advance your career instead of worrying over the interviewing process.

  1. Enjoy some quiet time

The brain should not be overwhelmed with too much stimuli as this makes it difficult for us to see the positive side of things. Hence, try to avoid activities that create “noise” in our mind like constantly listening to music and surfing the internet. Participate in activities that give your mind a break such as meditating and doing yoga.

  1. Focus on what you can control

There are things that are beyond our control. When faced with concerns, identify factors that are controllable and focus on how to make them better.

  1. Create a support network

Surround yourself with people who have positive mindset. These people will help us through and listen to our worries. In essence, remember the saying, “Stress itself is not your enemy. Stressful thinking is”.


  1. Sleep well and do not skip meals

These tips have been brought to you by The Star.


Benefits of cycling to work

A prospective cohort study was carried out by a team of researchers from the University of Glasgow to determine if there is an association between active commuting and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and death.

500000 adults aged 40 to 69 were recruited in this study. They were categorised into different groups based on their mode of transport to work. The groups were:

  1. Non-active (car and/or public transport)
  2. Walking only
  3. Cycling (cycling, or cycling and walking)
  4. Mixed mode walking (non-active plus walking)
  5. Mixed mode cycling (non-active plus cycling, or non-active plus cycling and walking)

Confounding variables such as smoking status, body mass index, dietary intake and sociodemographic factors were taken into account.

263540 adults with paid employment (around 50% of the total recruited) and had a mean age of 52.6 years, joined this sub-study.

The study suggested that cycling was strongly associated with a lower rate of morbidity. When compared to non-active group, the following was observed in the cycling group:

  1. The risk of death was lowered by 41%
  2. Cardiovascular risk was reduced by 52%
  3. Cancer risk was reduced by 45%

Unlike cycling, walking was found to only lower the risk of cardiovascular disease; no association was found between walking and a reduction in cancer and death.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to be physically active in our daily lives to prevent the incidence of chronic health conditions. If you find it hard to fit in physical activity into your daily routine then consider using a bike to commute as a form of substitution.


Non-O blood group "linked to higher heart attack risk"

A group of researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands found that people with a non-O blood group are predisposed to a higher risk of heart-related disease, according to the BBC.

They analysed the incidence of coronary events in more than 770000 non-O blood group people and more than 510000 people with an O blood group. It was discovered that myocardial infarction or angina was reported by 1.5% from the first group and 1.4% in the second. Also, they looked at cardiovascular events in around 710000 people with non-O blood group and 480000 O blood group people. In this category, 2.5% from the non-O group reported such event, compared to 2.3% in the O group.

Though the difference is small, it poses a significant impact when applied to a large population. Acknowledging the fact that blood group is a risk factor of heart attack may lead to a lower treatment threshold for cardiovascular disease such as prescribing medication for hypertensive patients with AB blood group.

A person’s risk is determined by many factors, which include age, genetics and blood group. Though they are non-modifiable, there are many other factors which can be altered to reduce the risk of a cardiovascular disease. For instance, stop smoking, avoiding fatty food and frequent exercise.


In a nutshell, our physical and mental health are both equally as important in maintaining our well-being. Although there are many aspects of health we cannot control, such as learning difficulties and blood group, we can always take care of the aspects that we can, by ensuring we have a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and take steps to reduce our stress levels. 

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