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

Is Breakfast the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Posted by Naomi McGrath

04-May-2016 09:42:31

Breakfast on the brain?

Breakfast, we’ve all been told countless times, is the most important meal of the day. It is claimed that a good breakfast can provide us with the energy needed to start a new day, offer a good source of important nutrients and fibre, helping to contribute to a more nutritionally complete diet overall, and even reduce the risk of becoming overweight or obese, or developing high blood pressure, heart disease, or type 2 diabetes.

In addition to being good for our health, eating – or not eating – breakfast has also been linked to effects on our cognitive performance, alertness, concentration, and mood. It is claimed that eating breakfast can enhance memory, improve concentration levels and mood, decrease stress, and improve attention span.

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Topics: healthy eating, neuroscience, cognitive function, nutrients, diabetes, obesity, mental health, fibre

A Matter of Taste – The Neuropsychology of Flavour Perception

Posted by Chris Cattini

01-Oct-2014 11:30:00

Most people enjoy eating. In this age of plenty, food has become a source of pleasure to an extent that goes way beyond its ability to provide us with sustenance. However, this sense of pleasure is a complex issue. Take cheeses for example. Each has its own particular combination of flavour compounds and sensory properties – Brie is clearly distinguishable from Cheddar, ripened cheese tastes different to fresh cheese, and so on. But why does my husband have to leave the room, retching dramatically, when the rest of my family salivate in anticipation as we sprinkle parmesan on our minestrone?

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Topics: sensory perception, neuroscience, flavour

Endless Conversations...

Posted by Dave Howard

11-Nov-2013 11:56:00

These days, wherever you look, everyone seems to be gazing at some kind of an handheld device. It’s now very easy to make trivial comments about trivial, however the future of technology and information is anything but trivial.

While we grapple with devices, interfaces and screens in our daily lives, the futurists tell us that we will be our technology, and information will be who we are and what it made us.

As the fast-paced technological changes take place - for example, the increasing the web of data and the seemingly endless social connections - the value of information as knowledge remains the core business of information professionals.

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Topics: social media, information professional, neuroscience

Brain Imaging to Show How Diet Affects Our Brain

Posted by Dave Howard

20-Aug-2013 10:50:00

In the first of related series of posts, I will be showcasing peer-reviewed articles published by The International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI) Europe. 

What we eat, or do not eat, may have an important impact on our cognitive ability and mental performance. Changes in brain functions can be long-term events difficult to demonstrate by traditional means. Brain imaging offers the critical opportunity to study how nutrition affects brain functions.

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Topics: nutrition, healthy eating, nutrients, neuroscience, vitamins and minerals

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