Thought for Food Blog

Gut Feelings: The gut-brain axis and mental health

Posted by Chris Cattini

01-Sep-2017 12:12:02

Our second brain

We have a second brain in our guts. Known as the enteric nervous system, it consists of a mesh-like network of around 100 million neurons lining the entire gastrointestinal tract. These neurons include a range of cell types operating via a complex system of circuitry largely independent of the central nervous system.

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Topics: zinc, sleep, fish, cereals, seafood, bacteria, fruit, vegetables, eggs, fibre, soy, meat, dairy, immune system, amino acids, neuroscience, fatty acids, nuts, tryptophan, gut health, cognitive function, mental health, central nervous system, fermented foods, supplements

Edible Insects – The Food of the Future?

Posted by Naomi McGrath

10-May-2017 08:30:00

The eating of insects, or entomophagy, is not a new concept. In fact, insects have been eaten around the world since prehistoric times.

 

A history of insect consumption

Stable carbon isotope analysis of the bones and dental enamel of australopithecines, for example, has shown that they were significantly enriched in isotope 13C, suggesting that the diet of these people was largely composed of animals feeding on grasses, including insects. Termites are reported to have been included into the Plio-Pleistocene hominin diet, and an analysis of fossils from caves in the USA and Mexico showed that coprolites from caves in Mexico contained ants, beetle larvae, lice, ticks and mites, providing further evidence for entomophagy in human history. 

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Topics: zinc, texture, food safety, food security, nutrition, protein, allergies and allergens, pesticides, cholesterol, nutrients, magnesium, amino acids, fatty acids, calcium, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, environment and sustainability, Asia, Africa, consumer behaviour, insect foods, novel foods

How Does Food Affect Sleep?

Posted by Naomi McGrath

01-Sep-2014 15:50:00

Sometimes, we all have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Stress, noise disturbances and too much stimulation before bedtime can all contribute to us having difficulty drifting off. Sleep is essential for maintaining mood, memory and cognitive functions, and as well as having a negative impact on these factors, a lack of sleep can also have serious consequences for our health. Not only is it crucial for normal functioning of the endocrine and immune systems, a lack of sleep has also been linked with obesity, diabetes, hypertension and depression. Some dietary components have long been known to have a disruptive effect on sleep, but evidence is emerging of other interesting foods that may help us on the way to the land of nod.

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Topics: zinc, milk and milk substitutes, sleep, fish, caffeine, cereals, protein, diabetes, fruit, vegetables, eggs, coffee, obesity, alcohol, meat, magnesium, dairy, immune system, amino acids, tryptophan, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates, hormones, cognitive function, mental health

Protein, Chicken, and Weight-Lifting...

Posted by Dave Howard

07-Aug-2013 14:41:00

There are many other factors that affect success in weight-lifting, but adequate protein intake is crucial. Protein contains amino acids, which the body uses for repair and growth. If you don't consume enough protein, your body won't have enough materials with which to rebuild your muscle tissue after intense workouts.

Recommended levels of protein vary, but a widely-promoted rule is that of consuming at least 2g of protein per kg of body weight.

So just eat plenty of protein, like chicken, right? Not quite. Total calorie intake is also important and not all chickens are the same...

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Topics: omega-3, organic, protein, nutrients, agriculture, amino acids

Brain Food

Posted by Dave Howard

14-Mar-2013 10:47:00

One of the major challenges associated with an ageing global population is the increasing incidence of age-associated cognitive decline, which has significant implications for an individual's ability to lead a productive and fulfilling life.

In stark economic terms the cost of ageing reflects decreased productivity and engagement with the workforce. The maintenance of brain health underpinning undamaged cognition is a key factor to maintaining a positive, engaged, and productive lifestyle.

In light of this, the role of diet, including supplementation with nutritional and even pharmacological interventions capable of positively affecting the neurocognitive changes that occur with age constitute vital areas of research.

 

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Topics: fish, cancer, nutrition, fruit, oily fish, magnesium, cardiovascular health, toxins, amino acids, neuroscience, nuts, legumes

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