The shape of things to come
Fix your teeth, fill out your cheeks and free your mind through your feet. Style predicts the top 10 health trends for 2008
1 GET A SMARTER BRAIN
The quest for a smarter, quicker, more creative brain continues, with sales of computer games such as Brain Training from Nintendo DS Lite set to rocket even further (more than 1m people in the UK have bought it already). More worryingly, according to the British Medical Association, increasing numbers of people are illegally ordering brain-boosting drugs such as Modafinil and Ritalin over the internet to give them an edge at work. Some experts predict we’ll be popping legal brain-boosting drugs like vitamins within 10 years, and trials of one type, ampakines, thought to enhance learning capacity and memory, are already under way. In the meantime, keep taking the omega-3s.
2 BOOK A BODY SCAN
With mail-order genetic test kits denounced as a waste of money by the Human Genetics Commission, the best way to get an insight into your future health is to have a full-body MRI scan that looks for growths, clots and other warning signs of serious disease. And now it’s finally becoming affordable. The price has come down from about £3,000. Prescan, for example, offers a total-body MRI and CT scan for £1,390 (www.prescan.co.uk).
3 ASK FOR APPLE CHEEKS
Forget frown lines and crow’s feet. It’s fat loss in the mid-face that leads to the first signs of ageing, according to research published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. Replacing volume, says the report, can eliminate the need for a face-lift. “We’ll see a move away from simply erasing wrinkles via Botox and ‘miracle’ creams to plumping up cheeks and undereye hollows with the latest fillers,” says the Harley Street plastic surgeon Rajiv Grover. Restylane SubQ (www.restylane.com) and Laresse (www.laresse.com) have been developed for face sculpting. They have larger particles than the traditional fillers designed for wrinkles, and the effects last for about a year.
4 FOLLOW THE LEMON JUICE DIET
However much you may have been inspired to follow Beyoncé’s famous Madal Bal syrup fast, chances are you couldn’t stick to the no-food regime. The Lemon Juice Diet, by Theresa Cheung (Vermilion £6.99), published in January, is much more palatable. Do a 24-hour lemon-juice detox and you’ll lose 2lb by the end of the week, says Cheung. Then simply sip freshly squeezed lemon juice diluted with filtered water every morning, and sprinkle lemon juice over every meal, and you’ll lose another 7lb over the next four weeks. “It works by improving your digestion and helping you to get the maximum nutrients from food, which helps to curb cravings,” says the author. “It also lowers the glycaemic index of any meal, keeping blood-sugar levels steady.”
5 RELEASE YOUR EMOTIONS
Those in need of therapy but who don’t fancy spending hours on the couch can have their feet read instead. Devised in Israel, big in Germany and now taking off in LA, the Grinberg method is a combination of reflexology and counselling. “Everything from niggling headaches to deep-rooted childhood experiences reveal themselves in the feet,” says foot reader Victoria Oldham, who has a clinic in Switzerland and a waiting list at Triyoga in London (www.triyoga.co.uk). You are given breathing and stretching techniques designed to release emotional tension. If group therapy is more your thing, Jane Sheehan offers footreading parties for up eight people (www.footreading.com).
6 CONTROL YOUR ELECTROSMOG
Love the convenience of WiFi, but can’t help wondering what it’s doing to your health, especially after the Health Protection Agency announced that it is funding research into exposure to potential risks? Four per cent of the population already say they have developed electrosensitivity, suffering sleep disturbances, headaches, blurred vision and nausea due to electrosmog caused by WiFi networks, mobile phones and other electrical items. If you can’t bear to ditch it, the electrosmog pressure group Powerwatch recommends that you only switch it on when you need it, and always turn it off while you sleep.
7 TAKE A WONDER SUPPLEMENT
You already pop vitamin B for energy and vitamin C at the first sign of a cold, but by the end of winter, what you really need is an extra dose of vitamin D, which is mostly made in the body after exposure to sunlight. And by spring, 60% of us are deficient in it. Research has linked low levels to heart disease, cancer and diabetes and, most recently, to the ageing process. Scientists at King’s College London found that women who had longer telomeres – strands of DNA that get shorter with age – also had higher levels of vitamin D. “Look for a supplement that provides at least 1,000iu of D3, the most active form of vitamin D,” says Shabir Daya, a pharmacist and the owner of Victoria Health (Life Extension Vitamin D3, £14.95 for 250 capsules; www.victoriahealth.com).
8 KEEP FITNESS WITH A CONSCIENCE
Salve your green conscience while you exercise by signing up for the year’s hippest charity race, the Tree-athlon. This 5km run is followed by a tree-planting session in London or Leeds in September (register in January at www.tree-athlon.org). Or join the BCTV Green Gym and take part in group exercise sessions that start with warm-up stretches followed by up to three hours of conservation work, such as clearing overgrown paths or planting hedges (www2.btcv.org.uk). If you want to reduce your carbon footprint while you work out, ditch the treadmill for an outdoor session. Geri Halliwell loves Outdoor Extreme, military-inspired training sessions in parks, which are held throughout the southeast and Glasgow (www.optimallifefitness.com), or try Outdoor Active – the circuits will be held in open spaces near selected Virgin Active gyms in January (www.virginactive.co.uk).
9 BUY THE NEW MBTS
First came the MBT, then the FitFlop, but the trainer we’ll be queuing up for is the Chung Shi. It mimics the effect of Pilates training by strengthening the core-stability muscles. They come in understated black and white, with a specially angled sole, so only you need know your 20-minute walk to the station is working your deepest postural muscles. At selected sports shops, John Lewis and Harrods, from £129.
10 GET A ZINGY-CLEAN MOUTH
The walk-in approach to mani-pedis and eyebrow threading has transformed British grooming habits. It’s set to do the same for teeth, with the first walk-in dental-hygiene bar now open in London. A High Gloss Diamond Polish (£50) at Toothplace, EC3 (www. toothplace.co.uk), will blitz stains, eliminate plaque and banish bad breath. Toothplace plans to open more branches next year.