Blue Planet II is arguably the most popular show on British television, racking up 17 million viewers in 2017 and beating both the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing in the ratings war. What better medium, then, to teach the nation about the critical problem our planet faces when it comes to plastic pollution. The program showed how plastic is polluting our oceans and affecting our wildlife. It was so harrowing in fact that environment secretary Michael Gove said he was 'haunted' by it and has come up with an action plan to promote wider recycling and reduce waste.
You may be shocked to learn that less than 50% of the 480 billion plastic bottles sold in 2016 were collected for recycling. This means that in excess of 240 billion plastic bottles became plastic waste and began polluting our already fragile ecosystem. This is a global problem on an enormous scale and is causing irreversible damage to our planet.
The good news is that there are ways to combat this pollution epidemic and there are things you can do on a personal level to help. Companies like Sundried are turning this waste into treasure by recycling the plastic bottles and giving them a new lease of life. With a sportswear range made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, they are helping to clean up the global excess of plastic bottles which would otherwise take thousands or even millions of years to decompose naturally. By recycling plastic and turning it into useful products like sportswear, brands like Sundried are not only reducing plastic waste but are also reducing harmful emissions and water waste used to create new textiles.
Sundried also work with charities like Surfers Against Sewage who undertake the biggest and most impactful plastic clean ups on beaches across the UK. Their Big Spring Beach Clean helped to remove an enormous 55 tonnes of plastic waste in 2016. You can help by volunteering to help clean up your local beach, or find other charities who may do work closer to home for you. There are lots of ways we can all help this global issue and help to make our planet a better place to live for everyone.
A new study in Nature Research Journal Scientific Reports has found for the first time that there is a positive link between exercise and a stronger, healthier spine.
"Running exercise in men and women is associated with better IVD [intervertebral disc] composition" says lead author Daniel L. Belavý of Deakin University, Australia. "We further find that accelerations at fast walking and slow running (2 m/s), but not high-impact tasks, lower intensity walking or static positions, correlated to positive IVD characteristics." This means that a brisk walk or gentle jog really can improve the health and strength of your spine and help to prevent degenerative issues later in life. This groundbreaking research is important as there was previously no evidence to support the claim that exercise can improve the quality of the intervertebral discs in the spine.
Intervertebral discs, or IVD, act to absorb shock in the spine as well as maintaining its alignment and allowing for free movement in the back. Whenever you twist, stretch, and turn, your IVD are working hard to keep your back and spine moving well. It was previously thought that high impact exercise like running would eventually cause wear and tear to the intervertebral discs thereby damaging them, so this new research shows an important enlightenment.
The results of the study found that long-distance runners and joggers had healthier IVD tissue than non-exercisers. The long-distance runners showed slightly improved results than the casual joggers, but not much. So your daily or weekend jog is still important!
This research has important implications for spinal health in relation to exercise and the guidelines set out for patients with spinal pain. "IVD degeneration and herniation is one important contributing factor to spinal pain. Knowing that the IVD can respond to certain kinds of loading, and understanding what kinds of loading are optimal, will result in better exercise guidelines for the prevention and management of spinal pain." State the authors of the paper. What this means is that as damage to the IVD is one of the biggest reasons for spinal pain, knowing that exercise can benefit back pain sufferers and reduce their pain means it's important to set out exercise guidelines for their rehabilitation and recovery.
Nando's is a highly popular high street restaurant chain, with 1,094 restaurants worldwide. From the UK to South Africa, Canada to Malaysia, people can't get enough of the relatively cheap and easy Portuguese grilled chicken. A Nando's meal is seemingly healthy, consisting of grilled chicken, maybe some corn on the cob, maybe a salad. But Channel 4’s 'The Tricks of the Restaurant Trade' programme found that some Nando's meals actually contain more sugar than KFC.
It's a natural choice to think that a Nando's meal would be healthier than one at KFC. The latter is renowned for offering greasy, unhealthy fast food and is never the healthy choice for a fitness fanatic. However, on Channel 4's show, nutritionist Amanda Ursell compared a Nando’s chicken wrap with a KFC Toasted Twister wrap. Shockingly, the Nando’s wrap racked up 114 calories more than the KFC one.
Amanda revealed that the KFC wrap contained 480 calories, with 4.7g of sugar, while the Nando’s version had 594 calories and three times the sugar, 16.2g. That’s as many as 5 teaspoons. Nando’s did, however, have less salt than the KFC.
Amanda also compared both a serving of chips from each restaurant and discovered that a portion of chips from Nando’s contained 546 calories, compared to 310 in KFC’s regular fries.
The show also uncovered the revelation that both KFC and Nando’s use the same supplier for some of their meals, despite the difference in price and supposed quality of their food.
Whilst the entire menu was not compared and nor are calories the only way to judge the nutritional value of a meal, this is an eye-opening revelation for those who view Nando's as a quick and easy post-workout meal.