The immune system

Your immune system is a multifaceted, complex, self-regulating system, designed to protect you from any invasion by pathogens or parasites. One way to visualise it is as a your body’s Department of Defence, with various subdivisions, such as border control, police force, army, air force etc. Let’s take a whirlwind tour. The first line of …

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Blood glucose regulation

Blood sugar levels rise sharply after we eat a meal high in sugar or starch. During digestion, both sugar and starch (carbohydrate) in food is broken down to a small sugar molecule called glucose, and absorbed into the bloodstream. Glucose serves as energy source for the ells, tissues and organs of the body, such as …

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Peri-menopausal weight gain

Many patients tell me: ‘I just can’t lose weight as easily as I used to!’ and ‘I never carried weight around my middle, now I have a spare tyre’. Does this sound like you? Women’s bodies and hormones undergo major changes as we move into our forties and into peri-menopause (the period leading up to …

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a little space

When we are under stress, our adrenal glands secrete cortisol to prepare our bodies for dealing with a threat. This works well in the short or medium term, when there is an actual physical threat. Unfortunately, our modern way of living, with constant exposure to stresses big and small, leads to a constant output of …

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the effect of stress on memory

When we perceive a situation to be threatening, our adrenal glands produce stress hormones to prepare us to deal with the threat. This is the ‘Fight, flight or freeze’ response, which works wonderfully well to get us out of acute danger. Things go awry when we are faced with a situation that we perceive as …

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health benefits of forest bathing

There is a wonderful tradition in Japan and mainland China called Shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing, which involves taking a slow mindful walk in the forest. Many studies have been done on the health benefits of forest bathing. As may be expected, it improves mood, lowers anxiety and depression and increases a sense of vigour. It …

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sulforaphane

SULFORAPHANE, (or why you should eat your broccoli). Free radicals are highly reactive and unstable molecules that are produced in the body in response to exposure to toxins in the environment such as tobacco smoke and ultraviolet light (i.e excessive sun exposure), or to a lesser extent, naturally as a by-product of the body’s metabolism. Free radicals cause damage to cells, accelerating aging, a bit like the …

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epigenetics

Twenty years ago, scientists thought of genes as fixed, like the hardware on your computer. Whatever DNA you inherited from your parents would determine not only your eye colour, but also whether you developed diseases like diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease. We now know that we have the ability to fundamentally influence the expression of many genes and …

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Healthy aging

Aging is inevitable, but becoming aged is not. Chronic illness and disability need not be the inevitable partners to adding years to your life. Lifespan is the number of years we live (or our chronological age) , while health-span is the number of years we remain healthy, vibrant, active and free from chronic debilitating illness. This is …

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