Thought for Food Blog

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

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

Foraging for Food Security

Posted by Naomi McGrath

01-Nov-2014 10:41:00

The leaves are changing colour and falling from the trees, the weather has turned wet and windy, and the nights are drawing in. Autumn is well and truly here. But while the downturn in the weather can sometimes have us feeling a little gloomy, the coming of autumn is also a time that gets many people thinking about going out into the countryside to pick fruit from heavily laden trees and explore the forest floors for curious forms of fungi.

There are estimated to be over 50,000 species of edible plants in the world and many different edible mushrooms, yet in the industrialised world almost all of our food comes from just a handful of species, picked not from the trees but from the supermarket shelves. 

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Topics: food security, antioxidants, nutrition, protein, nutrients, vegetables, fibre, magnesium, calcium, vitamins and minerals, environment and sustainability, food economics

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

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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