Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: Foods (Basel, Switzerland)


The dramatic rise in the use of smartphones, tablets, and laptop computers over the past decade has raised concerns about potentially deleterious health effects of increased “screen time” (ST) and associated short-wavelength (blue) light exposure. We determined baseline associations and effects of 6 months' supplementation with the macular carotenoids (MC) lutein, zeaxanthin, and mesozeaxanthin on the blue-absorbing macular pigment (MP) and measures of sleep quality, visual performance, and physical indicators of excessive ST. Forty-eight healthy young adults with at least 6 h of daily near-field ST exposure participated in this placebo-controlled trial. Visual performance measures included contrast sensitivity, critical flicker fusion, disability glare, and photostress recovery. Physical indicators of excessive screen time and sleep quality were assessed via questionnaire. MP optical density (MPOD) was assessed via heterochromatic flicker photometry. At baseline, MPOD was correlated significantly with all visual performance measures (p < 0.05 for all). MC supplementation (24 mg daily) yielded significant improvement in MPOD, overall sleep quality, headache frequency, eye strain, eye fatigue, and all visual performance measures, versus placebo (p < 0.05 for all). Increased MPOD significantly improves visual performance and, in turn, improves several undesirable physical outcomes associated with excessive ST. The improvement in sleep quality was not directly related to increases in MPOD, and may be due to systemic reduction in oxidative stress and inflammation.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Antioxidant, Carotenoid, Laptop, Zeaxanthin, Lutein, Xanthophyll, Shutter speed


Turmeric, a spice that has long been recognized for its medicinal properties, has received interest from both the medical/scientific world and from culinary enthusiasts, as it is the major source of the polyphenol curcumin. It aids in the management of oxidative and inflammatory conditions, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, anxiety, and hyperlipidemia. It may also help in the management of exercise-induced inflammation and muscle soreness, thus enhancing recovery and performance in active people. In addition, a relatively low dose of the complex can provide health benefits for people that do not have diagnosed health conditions. Most of these benefits can be attributed to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Ingesting curcumin by itself does not lead to the associated health benefits due to its poor bioavailability, which appears to be primarily due to poor absorption, rapid metabolism, and rapid elimination. There are several components that can increase bioavailability. For example, piperine is the major active component of black pepper and, when combined in a complex with curcumin, has been shown to increase bioavailability by 2000%. Curcumin combined with enhancing agents provides multiple health benefits. The purpose of this review is to provide a brief overview of the plethora of research regarding the health benefits of curcumin.

Concepts: Inflammation, Health care, Medicine, Metabolism, Nutrition, Antioxidant, Anti-inflammatory, Black pepper


Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) remain a major cause of death and morbidity globally and diet plays a crucial role in the disease prevention and pathology. The negative perception of dairy fats stems from the effort to reduce dietary saturated fatty acid (SFA) intake due to their association with increased cholesterol levels upon consumption and the increased risk of CVD development. Institutions that set dietary guidelines have approached dairy products with negative bias and used poor scientific data in the past. As a result, the consumption of dairy products was considered detrimental to our cardiovascular health. In western societies, dietary trends indicate that generally there is a reduction of full-fat dairy product consumption and increased low-fat dairy consumption. However, recent research and meta-analyses have demonstrated the benefits of full-fat dairy consumption, based on higher bioavailability of high-value nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties. In this review, the relationship between dairy consumption, cardiometabolic risk factors and the incidence of cardiovascular diseases are discussed. Functional dairy foods and the health implications of dairy alternatives are also considered. In general, evidence suggests that milk has a neutral effect on cardiovascular outcomes but fermented dairy products, such as yoghurt,kefirand cheese may have a positive or neutral effect. Particular focus is placed on the effects of the lipid content on cardiovascular health.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Nutrition, Cardiovascular disease, Milk, Fat, Butter, Pasteurization, Dairy product


The Japanese fermented beverage, homemade kefir, contains six lactic acid bacteria:Lactococcus. lactissubsp.Lactis,Lactococcus.lactissubsp.Cremoris,Lactococcus. Lactissubsp.Lactis biovar diacetylactis,Lactobacillus plantarum,Leuconostoc meseuteroidessubsp.CremorisandLactobacillus casei. In this study, we found that a mixture of the six lactic acid bacteria from kefir increased the cytotoxicity of human natural killer KHYG-1 cells to human chronic myelogenous leukemia K562 cells and colorectal tumor HCT116 cells. Furthermore, levels of mRNA expression and secretion of IFN-γ (interferon gamma) increased in KHYG-1 cells that had been treated with the six lactic acid bacteria mixture from kefir. The results suggest that the six lactic acid bacteria mixture from kefir has strong effects on natural immunity and tumor cell cytotoxicity.

Concepts: Immune system, Lymphocyte, Cell, Bacteria, Virus, Natural killer cell, Interferon, Cytotoxicity


Ultra-processed foods are ready-to-heat and ready-to-eat products created to replace traditional homemade meals and dishes due to convenience and accessibility. Because of their low-fiber and high-fat and sugar composition, these foodstuffs could induce a negative impact on health. They are partially responsible for obesity and chronic non-transmissible diseases; additionally, they could impact in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes and celiac disease. The rationale is that the nutritional composition of ultra-processed foodstuffs can induce gut dysbiosis, promoting a pro-inflammatory response and consequently, a “leaky gut”. These factors have been associated with increased risk of autoimmunity in genetically predisposed children. In addition, food emulsifiers, commonly used in ultra-processed products could modify the gut microbiota and intestinal permeability, which could increase the risk of autoimmunity. In contrast, unprocessed and minimally processed food-based diets have shown the capacity to promote gut microbiota eubiosis, anti-inflammatory response, and epithelial integrity, through bacterial butyrate production. Thus, to decrease the susceptibility to autoimmunity, genetically predisposed children should avoid ultra-processed food products and encourage the consumption of fresh and minimally processed foods.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Gut flora, Nutrition, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Food, Malnutrition


This review examines different nutritional guidelines, some case studies, and provides insights and discrepancies, in the regulatory framework of Food Safety Management of some of the world’s economies. There are thousands of fermented foods and beverages, although the intention was not to review them but check their traditional and cultural value, and if they are still lacking to be classed as a category on different national food guides. For understanding the inconsistencies in claims of concerning fermented foods among various regulatory systems, each legal system should be considered unique. Fermented foods and beverages have long been a part of the human diet, and with further supplementation of probiotic microbes, in some cases, they offer nutritional and health attributes worthy of recommendation of regular consumption. Despite the impact of fermented foods and beverages on gastro-intestinal wellbeing and diseases, their many health benefits or recommended consumption has not been widely translated to global inclusion in world food guidelines. In general, the approach of the legal systems is broadly consistent and their structures may be presented under different formats. African traditional fermented products are briefly mentioned enhancing some recorded adverse effects. Knowing the general benefits of traditional and supplemented fermented foods, they should be a daily item on most national food guides.

Concepts: Bacteria, Metabolism, Nutrition, Microbiology, Food, Vinegar, Fermentation, Pickling


Lutein is one of the most prevalent carotenoids in nature and in the human diet. Together with zeaxanthin, it is highly concentrated as macular pigment in the foveal retina of primates, attenuating blue light exposure, providing protection from photo-oxidation and enhancing visual performance. Recently, interest in lutein has expanded beyond the retina to its possible contributions to brain development and function. Only primates accumulate lutein within the brain, but little is known about its distribution or physiological role. Our team has begun to utilize the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta) model to study the uptake and bio-localization of lutein in the brain. Our overall goal has been to assess the association of lutein localization with brain function. In this review, we will first cover the evolution of the non-human primate model for lutein and brain studies, discuss prior association studies of lutein with retina and brain function, and review approaches that can be used to localize brain lutein. We also describe our approach to the biosynthesis of (13)C-lutein, which will allow investigation of lutein flux, localization, metabolism and pharmacokinetics. Lastly, we describe potential future research opportunities.

Concepts: Human, Retina, Macaque, Olfaction, Primate, Rhesus Macaque, Macular degeneration, Old World monkey


Irritable bowel syndrome is a highly prevalent gastrointestinal disorder that threatens the quality of life of millions and poses a substantial financial burden on healthcare systems around the world. Intense research into the human microbiome has led to fascinating discoveries which directly and indirectly implicate the diversity and function of this occult organ in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) pathophysiology. The benefit of manipulating the gastrointestinal microbiota with diet and probiotics to improve symptoms has been demonstrated in a wealth of both animal and human studies. The positive and negative mechanistic roles bacteria play in IBS will be explored and practical probiotic and dietary choices offered.

Concepts: Archaea, Bacteria, Gut flora, Microbiology, Digestive system, Escherichia coli, Gastroenterology, Irritable bowel syndrome


Food futurists accept that sustainability-minded humanity will increasingly incorporate insects as alternative protein. The most studied and easily reared species are not necessarily the most sustainable, acceptable, or delicious. Here, we review the literature on the black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens, which is capable of efficiently converting a wide variety of organic materials, from food waste to manure, into insect biomass. They can be grown and harvested without dedicated facilities and are not pestiferous. Their larvae are 42% crude protein and 29% fat, although they are higher in saturated fats than most insects. They do not concentrate pesticides or mycotoxins. They are already grown and recommended for use as animal feed, but with regional legal restrictions on how this is done. For commercial use in human foods, larvae could potentially be milled and converted into a textured protein with a strong flavor. Their biggest advantage over other insects is their ability to convert waste into food, generating value and closing nutrient loops as they reduce pollution and costs. This general advantage is also their greatest disadvantage, for the social stigmas and legal prohibitions against eating organisms that eat waste are added to extant taboos facing insect consumption.

Concepts: Agriculture, Nutrition, Insect, Food, Flies, Insects, Hermetia illucens, Stratiomyidae


Children’s vegetable consumption is often lower than that needed to promote optimal health and development, and practical approaches for increasing vegetable consumption are needed. Sensory Specific Satiety (SSS) reduces the liking and consumption of a consumed food over the course of an eating occasion and is an important factor in meal termination. The present study aimed to investigate the development of SSS when children ate vegetables of different sizes. The absence of SSS would be an encouraging sign to provide children more vegetables during a meal. Seventy-two children (33 boys, ages 8.8 ± 1.5 years) were recruited from Australian primary schools. Participating children consumed either whole or diced carrots for a maximum period of 10-min from a 500 g box. Cucumber was used as a control vegetable. Children’s liking of carrots and cucumber was measured with a 5-point child friendly hedonic scale prior to and after carrot consumption. In comparison to cucumber, liking for neither diced (p = 0.57) nor whole carrots (p = 0.18) changed during ad libitum consumption of carrots, indicating that SSS did not occur. However, children (n = 36) who finished eating carrots within the 10-min time limit, spent more time eating the whole carrots compared to the diced carrots (p < 0.05), which tended to result in a higher consumption of whole carrots (p < 0.06). This suggests that, in order to increase vegetable consumption, it is better to present children whole carrots than diced carrots. These findings might aid in the development of strategies to promote children's greater vegetable consumption.

Concepts: Present, Time, Nutrition, Food, Fruit, Vegetable, Primary school, Cucumber