MICROBIOME LINGO: PREBIOTICS, PROBIOTICS AND SYNBIOTICS

Our microbiome is a collection of around 100 trillion bacteria (mostly), fungi and viruses that live both on the surface of our body’s and inside our gastrointestinal tract – from mouth to anus. A typical adult’s microbiome weighs around 1 kilogram, equivalent to some of our essential organs. Believe it or not, there are about …

PERSPECTIVES: Dr ALAN BARCLAY

LOWERING THE GLYEMIC IMPACT OF SOUTH-EAST ASIAN DIETS  Food is not merely a collection of nutrients, and neither is it medicine – it’s so much more than that. From the day we are born to the day we die, food not only nourishes us, but it provides pleasure, social interaction and anchors us to our …

PERSPECTIVES: Dr ALAN BARCLAY

RICE: THE GO-TO GRAIN  English translation: “Have you eaten rice?”  This popular greeting used throughout East Asia is a reminder that traditionally food was scarce and people were often starving. Rice saved lives, so it’s not surprising that the word for “rice”, “food” and “meal” is one and the same in Chinese—and in many other …

PERSPECTIVES: Dr ALAN BARCLAY

FIBRE AND GLYCEMIC INDEX  There is a common belief that foods that are high in fibre do not raise blood glucose levels as much as those that are low in fibre, and therefore “high fibre” can be used as a surrogate marker for “low GI” when shopping for foods. Is this belief valid?  Before I …

PERSPECTIVES: Dr ALAN BARCLAY

FOOD AND MOOD Most of us are aware that certain foods and drinks, like chocolate, or a nice hot cuppa, can provide comfort when feeling down, but many would be surprised to learn that there is increasing evidence that the types of foods and drinks we consume on a regular basis can have a more …

PERSPECTIVES: Dr ALAN BARCLAY

PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITION COMPARED TO PERSONALISED DIETARY ADVICE  Diet-related health conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers (e.g., bowel) are increasing all around the globe and governments are struggling to cope with their economic costs as are individuals with their social, psychological and financial costs. Strategies for reducing their burden range …

PERSPECTIVES: Dr ALAN BARCLAY

IT TAKES TWO TO TANGO It is generally well accepted that a key factor in the health and wellbeing of both the mother and new-born infant is an optimal food and nutrient intake before and during pregnancy. Of course, the nutritional status of prospective fathers is also an important factor in at the very least …

PERSPECTIVES

People today may be surprised to learn that until early in the 20th century, chocolate was considered to be a health food, with a range of potential health benefits. It was used thousands of years ago by the ancient Mayans and Aztecs, and much later by Europeans between the 16th and 19th centuries, as an …

PERSPECTIVES WITH DR ALAN BARCLAY

WATER, THIRST AND HYDRATION  Water is an essential nutrient – in fact, more important to life than all other nutrients. The average healthy adult can survive just 2–5 days without water, but several months without food. Water is essential to life because it: Helps with the regulation of body temperature, as the evaporation of sweat …

PERSPECTIVES WITH DR ALAN BARCLAY

EATING FOR HEALTHY EYES  The risk of developing eye disease increases as we age, potentially undermining our quality of life. The most common eye diseases associated with ageing are:  Age-related cataracts, a clouding of the normally clear lens of the eye, are a leading cause of vision impairment and blindness.  Diabetic retinopathy is associated with …