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

Why go dairy free?

Posted by Chris Cattini

17-Nov-2016 10:07:08

Consumption of dairy products in the UK has declined by 30% over the last 20 years. Americans drink 37% less milk now than they did in the seventies. Milk alternatives, on the other hand, are becoming increasingly popular. So why is this happening?

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Topics: milk and milk substitutes, dairy, nutrition, health, nutrients, allergies and allergens, animal welfare, calcium, cancer, cardiovascular health, child nutrition, labelling, gut health, intolerances, nuts, obesity, sleep, tryptophan

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

Mood-Improving Foods

Posted by Dave Howard

07-May-2013 11:59:00


Some 90g of quinoa provides your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of mood-stabilising manganese. Manganese is a mineral found in the human body in very minimal amounts and is a component of the manganese super oxide dismutase enzyme.

It is a powerful antioxidant that searches for free radicals in the human body and manages to neutralise these damaging particles and prevents any potential danger they may cause. The body may contain, at most, 20mg of manganese concentrated in the kidneys, pancreas, liver and bones.

Manganese is very important for normal functioning of the brain and nerve areas of our bodies. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that men absorb less of this mineral than women.

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Topics: sleep, neuroscience, selenium, tryptophan

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