October is designated as National Cholesterol Month. The event is initiated and led by cholesterol awareness organisation Heart UK; intended to build greater awareness of the dangers of cholesterol and get individuals connecting with their heart health on a much closer level.
We have never been more connected to our health. Whether looking up our pulse rates on the latest wearable tech, recording our sugar intake or tracking calories on an app, our fundamental links to wellness have never been closer. One key aspect of holistic health is monitoring cholesterol to ensure long-term heart health. Having high cholesterol levels in the blood can lead to plaque build-up in the arteries, increasing the risk of developing circulatory and cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes.
The human microbiome was first discovered in the mid-1880s when Austrian paediatrician, Theodor Escherich, uncovered the presence of Escherichia coli – a species of bacteria typically found within the stomach and intestines. While the 20th Century saw the identification of multiple microorganisms from nasal passages, oral cavities and skin, it wasn’t until the introduction of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP) in 2007 that microbial science became mainstream.
We know that large quantities of processed foods can be bad for our waistlines, but few people realise the impact they can have on the diversity of bacteria in our gut. Studies have shown that just ten days of eating highly processed foods can cut gut microbiome diversity by 40%.
World Health Day is here again, serving as a chance to both promote the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) vital work and to reflect on our own efforts towards health and wellness. Each year the theme of World Health Day differs, encompassing all aspects of health from beating diabetes to ensuring food safety. This year the theme is universal health coverage for all, reflecting the WHO’s primary goal of ensuring that everyone can obtain the care that they need, when and where they need it.
The world of science and medicine is only just beginning to uncover the full extent of the gut microbiome’s effect on overall health and wellness, which makes it an exciting time in the sphere of gut-mediated wellness. Father of modern medicine Hippocrates claimed over 2000 years ago that ‘all diseases begin in the gut’ and while we know this is an oversimplification, modern scientific research has shown that the gut microbiome is a lot more pivotal to overall wellbeing than first thought.