From international athletes to whole companies, such as Google, and even countries including China are backing the movement to consume more plant-based foods.
Plant-based eating may not be completely mainstream yet, but it is becoming adopted more and more every day. I have been asked a lot recently, about my thoughts on veganism, especially since it has been suggested by the media, that the newborn son of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, may be brought up as a vegan!
If you are thinking of going vegan yourself, have a look at some of those most FAQs, which I get asked surrounding veganism!
What are the main benefits of going vegan?
Research has shown that vegans, as well as vegetarians, are at a decreased risk of various health conditions, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and certain types of cancer. A diet high in plant-based foods is believed to reduce type 2 diabetes risk due to their high levels of antioxidants, fibre micronutrients, such...
Cessation of menstruation usually occurs, on average, around the age of 51 years old, and is thought to happen when there are no eggs left in the ovaries.
At birth, a female has approximately 1 million eggs, which drop to 300,000-400,000 at puberty – on average just 400 mature during the reproductive years.
Perimenopause is the period before menopause and during this time many women ovulate irregularly, indicating changes in the menstrual cycle, with or without other symptoms.
Symptoms can include:
Is there anything we can actually do to manage the menopause making it an easier transition?
Yes, there are lots of natural interventions which can make this often very difficult transition easier....
Fatty meat and full-fat dairy!
My genetic risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes is very high and I carry the highest risk in the PPARG gene and in several other genes, which are also associated with an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
This means I am very sensitive to the type and amount of fat in the diet, especially saturated fat.
So, it is really important I keep saturated fats (fatty meats and full-fat dairy) to less than 10% of my daily energy intake and increase my intake of mono-unsaturated fats, such as olive oil and avocados.
Foods I eat!
Fatty wild fish such as salmon, 70% dark chocolate and a diverse array of different coloured vegetables.
Additionally, I carry the high-risk result in both the IL6 and TNFA genes, and this predisposes me to a greater risk of inflammation, insulin resistance and raised blood pressure.
So again it is important I keep my intake of saturated fat to the minimum and make sure I have an adequate daily intake of omega-3 fatty acids...
The microbiome consists of approximately 100 trillion bacterial cells – ten times more than the human cells in the body. The highest concentration of bacteria is found in the gut.
There is an increasing amount of research looking at gut health and the gut microbiome now, but in 2005 when you searched on “gut microbiome” in PubMed (research papers database) there were only 55 studies, in 2010 there were 389 papers and just between Jan-July in 2015 this number had increased to 1,389. Today (March 2018) if you do the same search on “gut microbiome” there are 9437 papers and if we break it down to human studies and eliminate the animal studies there are still 5164.
Gut health affects so many aspects of health, and a healthy microbiome has been linked with a healthy immune system. Approximately 70% of immune cells are in gut.
In a 2014 review paper it was determined that:
“The composition of the microbiome and its activities are involved in most, if...
An incredible 70 million coffees are consumed in the UK every day and coffee is the world’s most popular drug.
Main people “need” a coffee to start their day, but to gain the benefits from caffeine and avoid its negative effects, it’s important to consume the correct amount of caffeine at the correct time.
However, this will be different for all of us, since we are all different and we metabolise caffeine differently.
Some people are fast caffeine metabolisers, meaning that they have a variant of the gene (CYP1A2), which breaks down caffeine particularly fast. In fact, some people have a version of the gene that can break caffeine down up to four times faster than others. If you’re a fast metaboliser you are able to obtain many of the benefits of caffeine such as a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, heart attacks and strokes. But, if you are a slow metaboliser it stays in your body longer and can make you more susceptible to its negative effects such...
Bloating is very common these days, in fact it has been described as an “epidemic.” Many people have nutrient-poor diets, extreme levels of stress, constant exposure to toxins, and eat on the run. So, it is not a surprise that they are experiencing regular uncomfortable bloating!
Fortunately, there are some powerful nutrients and foods out there for beating the bloat, including:
At the tip of each chromosome, there is a very small cap, which is known as a telomere - think of it as the plastic tip on the end of your shoelace. This tiny cap ensures that your DNA does not fray and unravel. However, each time your cells divide, a little of that cap is lost.
So what can be done to prevent telomere loss? Smoking cigarettes has been associated with three times the rate of telomere loss – so stopping smoking is vital if you want to prevent the telomere loss.
Also, the food you consume can have an effect on the rate at which you lose your telomeres. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and foods packed with antioxidants has been linked to longer telomeres, and consuming refined grains, meat, fizzy drinks, and dairy has been associated with shorter telomeres.
It is important to eat a balanced diet – vegetables, fruit, good quality protein, and “healthy” fats such as olive oil and avocados.
Also, drinking enough water to stay hydrated, and limiting or avoiding alcohol and caffeine, are other nutritional interventions that can help alleviate anxiety.
Eating complex carbohydrates such as wholegrains is paramount as they are metabolised slower, and consequently, help maintain a more even blood sugar level, which results in feeling calmer.
The gut-brain axis is also significant, since about 95% of serotonin receptors are in the lining of the gut. A recent study in the journal, Psychiatry Research, identified an association between probiotic foods and a reduction in social anxiety. They discovered that eating probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut and kefir resulted in fewer symptoms.
Additionally, anxiety is thought to be associated with a decreased antioxidant status. Including foods rich in antioxidants may help ease the...
A gene is a segment of the DNA (short for deoxy ribo nucleic acid) molecule that contains the instructions for how, when and where your body makes each of the many thousands of proteins required for life.
Each gene is made up of multiple combinations of 4 letters that make up your genetic code: A, T, C and G.
Each gene combines these “letters” in various ways, spelling out the words that specific which amino acid is needed at every step in the process of making the proteins required for your body to develop and function.
All of us have small differences in our DNA and it is these differences that make each of us unique. Gene polymorphisms are slight changes in the genetic code that are present in at least 1% of the population, e.g. one genetic “letter” (A, T, C or G) may be replaced by another. These polymorphisms can lead to different processes in the body, just as altering one letter in a word can completely change...
Last year, we published a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association to demonstrate that in some individuals, caffeinated coffee intake lowered the risk of heart attacks.
But in other individuals the same dose of caffeinated coffee increased the risk of heart attacks.
Berardi: Let me guess. It had to do with the genes.
Dr. El-Sohemy: That’s right. Individuals who had what we call a ‘slow’ version of the gene CYP1A2 (a gene that breaks down caffeine in the liver) have an increased risk of a heart attack when increasing consumption of caffeinated coffee.
However, those who have the ‘fast’ version of CYP1A2, have a lower risk of heart attacks with moderate intakes of caffeinated coffee (1-3 cups per day).
Berardi: How do people make sense of this dichotomy?
Dr. El-Sohemy: These findings suggest that caffeinated coffee only increases heart disease in those who have a limited capacity to break down caffeine.
The reason why those with the...