Nutrition science

  • Inflammation and diet
    Blog,  Diet,  Health,  Nutrition,  Nutrition science

    Inflammation and diet

    Chronic low-level inflammation is a feature of most chronic health conditions. The link between inflammation and diet is multi-factored and can’t be reduced to individual foods or nutrients. What is inflammation? Inflammation is an important mechanism of the immune response. Under normal circumstances, it acts as a local response to cellular injury. The characteristics of inflammation are increased blood flow, capillary dilatation, leukocyte infiltration, and localised production of chemicals (1). The signs and symptoms of inflammation include heat, redness, swelling, pain, and loss of function (2). Types of inflammation Broadly speaking, there are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Acute: This is the “good” kind of inflammation, which happens in…

  • cruciferous vegetables
    Blog,  Diet,  Nutrition,  Nutrition science

    What are cruciferous vegetables and are they healthy?

    Cruciferous vegetables (a.k.a. Brassica) are a group of vegetables named for their cross-shaped flowers. They include broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, broccoli sprouts, Chinese broccoli, Chinese cabbage, collards and kale. (1, 2, 3). All these vegetables contain organic sulphur-containing compounds with a characteristic foul smell (2). These compounds have been investigated for their potential health benefits. Nutrients in cruciferous vegetables Brassica vegetables are rich in antioxidant vitamins and phytochemicals (4), including vitamin C, folate, carotenoids and tocopherols (5). They are also the primary dietary source of isothiocyanates and indoles (4), the sulphurous compounds mentioned before. Health benefits Cancer Isothiocyanates have been studied for their ability to inhibit enzymes that affect…

  • news headlines
    Blog,  Nutrition science

    Why you shouldn’t get your information from news headlines

    Publications (newspapers, magazines, and the like) make the bulk of their revenue from advertising. For advertisers to pay premium fees for exposure, journalists work hard in writing headlines that are catchy enough for people to buy the publication/subscription or click on them, depending on the format. That’s the main reason why you shouldn’t get your information from news headlines, or in other words, believe everything you read. I’ve chosen a recent piece of scientific literature that has had a significant impact in the past week or so. The full-text paper is available online (see references) and is entitled “Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis.”. In…

  • longevity diet
    Blog,  Book review,  Nutrition,  Nutrition science

    Book review: The Longevity Diet (Prof Valter Longo)

    The Longevity Diet is one of these few diet books worth reading. It was written by Prof Valter Longo, one of the leading scientists in the field of longevity. Prof Longo has been experimenting with fasting-mimicking protocols in order to extend life and vitality. One of the coolest facts about Prof Longo I learned from his book is that he wanted to become a rock star and that’s why he travelled from his home town in Italy to the US. He was on his way through a jazz composition major when he decided to change gears and pursue an interest that had been dormant in his mind: to study the…

  • 16:8 diet
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Nutrition science

    The 16:8 diet

    The 16:8 diet is a form of intermittent fasting or time-restricted eating. The numbers in the ratio stand for 16 and 8 hours (of fasting and eating, respectively). Intermittent fasting vs time-restricted feeding These days, the term “intermittent fasting”, is being thrown around all over the place. Prof Valter Longo is the opinion that we need to stop using term “intermittent fasting” because it’s being used to talk about different protocols that have different effects on health (minute 1:01 in the video below). Simply put, fasting = not eating. If you do it intermittently (i.e. not all the time), you are intermittent fasting. Humans, and all creatures, have fasted since…

  • asparagine asparagus
    Blog,  Nutrition,  Nutrition science

    Should we avoid asparagine to stop breast cancer spread?

    A recent study published in the prestigious journal Nature, entitled “Asparagine bioavailability governs metastasis in a model of breast cancer” (1) has been making the rounds lately. I first heard about it from a friend, who urged me not to eat asparagus out of a vegetable & dip platter at a party. Asparagine is an amino acid present, among other foods, in asparagus. As usual, news media have latched on the study to publish eye-grabbing headlines, such as: “Spread of breast cancer linked to compound in asparagus and other foods” (The Guardian) “Food may influence cancer spread” (BBC News) “Could cutting asparagus from your diet stop the spread of cancer?”…