While we have known for a while that a diet consisting of fiber-rich foods reduces the risk of developing chronic diseases and lowers people’s mortality rate, scientists have only recently started elucidating why fiber is beneficial for human health. This article clarifies the definition and health implications of the closely related terms fiber, MACs and prebiotics.

Beyond live microorganisms, inanimate microorganisms and their components can also confer a health benefit on the host. A panel of experts under the auspices of the International Scientific Association for Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) updates the definition and scope of postbiotics.

Irritable bowel syndrome is one of the most common disorders diagnosed by gastroenterologists. Peppermint oil, specific probiotics, psyllium supplementation, first-line IBS dietary advice, and a low FODMAP diet can aid in improving IBS symptoms.

It is largely recognized that a high-salt diet can lead to hypertension. A new randomized controlled trial reports that, particularly in females with untreated hypertension, reducing salt intake to recommended levels is linked to decreased blood pressure, more compliant blood vessels and increased serum levels of short-chain fatty acids.

Fermented foods are a known source of lactic acid bacteria. A high-throughput sequencing analysis of food and human metagenomes proves that fermented foods are a source of lactic acid bacteria for the gut microbiome, and that abundance is shaped by both age and lifestyle.