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

Water - much more than H2O

Posted by Chris Cattini

04-Aug-2016 16:15:36

These days, most people carry a drink with them wherever they go. Every food shop, however small, has a fridge packed with bottled beverages. Some people drink large quantities of sugary soft drinks, others can’t get through the day without copious quantities of coffee, and tea drinkers are happy to respond to recent experimental evidence that suggests tea is a healthy source of liquid sustenance for the human body. However, for purposes of hydration, the most popular choice is water.

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Topics: food quality, fluoride, packaging, salt, nutrients, bacteria, pathogens, magnesium, contaminants, water, retail and marketing, calcium, vitamins and minerals, bone health, cognitive function, central nervous system

Good Gut, Good Health?

Posted by Lisa Palmer

03-Jul-2015 09:23:36

This post was originally published on the Future Food 2050 website. It has been reposted with permission.

New nutritional therapies are aimed at boosting the variety of microorganisms that live in your GI tract, says neuroendocrinologist Mark Heiman.

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Topics: nutrition, healthy eating, diabetes, bacteria, obesity, cardiovascular health, fatty acids, gut health, biochemistry, functional foods

Is Stevia a Trend or the Answer?

Posted by Chris Cattini

15-Apr-2015 13:46:00

Stevia is the name given to extracts from leaves of the plant Stevia rebaudiana used as sweeteners or sugar substitutes. The two main compounds responsible for the sweetness of stevia are stevioside and rebaudioside A, both of which are derivatives of the diterpene, steviol.

  • Stevioside is 250-300 times sweeter than sugar, but possesses a bitter aftertaste. 
  • Rebaudioside A is 350-450 times sweeter than sugar and is less bitter than stevioside, making it a popular option for use in sweetener preparations.
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Topics: diabetes, bacteria, obesity, additives, sugar and substitutes, functional foods, confectionery, analytical techniques, hormones, appetite and satiety, supplements

The Hidden Threat in Plant Foods

Posted by Naomi McGrath

16-Feb-2015 13:42:00

Fresh fruit and vegetables form an essential part of a healthy diet. However, while they are undeniably good for us, their consumption may, on occasion, pose a risk to our health. The contamination of plant foods by bacteria tends to be less well known about than that of animal-derived foods, but is, nevertheless, a matter of great importance for food safety.

Bacterial contamination can affect a wide range of fruits, vegetables and other plant-derived foods, and several different species of bacteria may be responsible. Food recalls due to potential bacterial contamination have been issued for several different plant foods over the last few years, including watercress, freeze-dried sliced fruit and even a variety of herbs and spices, with Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Salmonella being some of the main culprits.

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Topics: food safety, packaging, bacteria, fruit, pathogens, vegetables, contaminants, food processing

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