Meet the trailblazing doctors transforming our understanding of health, ageing and emotions, and offering new ideas for living well
A healthy microbiome is key to wellbeing, boosting metabolism and regulating brain chemistry. That’s the conclusion of gut health guru Prof Tim Spector’s years of research. The key is finding the combination of foods that works for your own unique microbiome. And you can forget five-a-day. For a happy gut, he recommends eating 30 different plants a week – which thankfully includes nuts, pulses, spices and herbs.
Image: Zoe Ltd
Prof Lisa Feldman Barrett is among the top 1 per cent most cited scientists in the world, and her research has transformed our understanding of the human mind. She says emotions are concepts constructed by the brain, rather than innate responses, so we’ve got more control over them than we think. Check out her book 7½ Lessons About the Brain, aka, the world’s first neuroscience beach read.
Image: Prof Lisa Feldman Barrett
An expert on addiction, stress and childhood development, Hungarian-Canadian physician Dr Gabor Maté has upended the narrative regarding trauma. He says trauma happens to all of us and is the invisible force that shapes our society – the source of addiction, chronic illness and anxiety. His latest bestseller, The Myth of Normal, offers a guide for health and healing in a toxic Western culture.
Image: Matej Stránský
Rose Anne Kenny’s groundbreaking Age Proof was an international bestseller last year, unsurprisingly – the idea that we can turn back the clock is never going to grow old. The professor of medical gerontology at Trinity College Dublin says that we can control 80 per cent of our ageing biology, and lays out a road map for doing so: get a good night’s sleep, have a social life, eat well, fast occasionally – and keep having sex.
Image: Julien Behal
Doctors are increasingly prescribing activities to boost public health, but there’s no need to wait for a prescription. New groups are springing up all the time to improve people’s outlook via walking, surfing, singing, even Shakespeare performances. Dr Radha Modgil, a GP, broadcaster and wellbeing campaigner, is one of the UK’s leading champions of social prescribing. Her weekly newsletter offers practical advice on “how to do life”.
Image: Dr Radha Modgil
Main image: Toa Heftiba
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