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

Understanding Your Child’s Appetite is Key to Preventing Obesity in Later Life

Posted by Tom Payne

06-Jan-2016 09:35:41

This post was originally published on The Conversation, and was written by Hayley Syrad, a PhD candidate at University College London (UCL).

If you want your toddler to be a healthy weight you might control portion sizes or the frequency of their meals and snacks. Of course, you could use both of these strategies, but a study we recently published found that one strategy is likely to be much more effective than the other depending on the traits in appetites of individual children.

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Topics: saturated fat, healthy eating, obesity, fatty acids, child nutrition

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

Taking the Fat Out of Processed Foods

Posted by Chris Cattini

14-Jan-2015 15:37:00

Since the discovery that dietary saturated fats increase plasma cholesterol levels, low fat foods have been an important area of research, mainly because a link was assumed between plasma cholesterol levels and cardiovascular disease risk.

Recent studies have suggested that the connection between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular health is more tenuous than was previously thought. Despite this, advisory bodies, such as the British Heart Foundation, still recommend that people should avoid saturated fats as much as possible and eat small amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats.

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Topics: acrylamide, processed food, saturated fat, cereals, sensory perception, cholesterol, fibre, dairy, cardiovascular health, additives, fatty acids, sugar and substitutes, consumer behaviour

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