Move over soul food

Sibéal Bird, Rome, Bord Bia – The Irish Food Board

According to a recent article in the Irish Times, one of the key food trends to watch out for in 2018 is the rise of the relationship between the brain and gut. The connection between food and brain power is not a new revelation and most people can relate on some level to the experience of having butterflies in their stomach, or to a gut-wrenching feeling, and how often has a “gut-instinct” or “gut-feeling” been relied upon when making a decision. Even from the commonplace use of these terms, it is clear just how symbolically connected the gut is to emotions. The intrinsic link has not only been popularized by books such as Lisa Mosconi’s Brain Food, The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power, but there is now also tangible proof to support these popular metaphors. Research being conducted at John Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology has found that although the enteric nervous system (the gut), doesn’t seem capable of ‘thought’ in the classic sense, it does, however, communicate back and forth with the main brain – with profound results.

The rise of ‘culinary cognition’ paves the way for an increase in the number of gut-friendly fermented foods being introduced to consumers such as; sauerkraut, sourdough bread, kombucha and kimchi, all leaning heavily on the science and health credentials in their product marketing. According to the Hartman Group consumers are increasingly looking for foods with inherent functionality and not ‘lab created’ properties, they want healthy gut nutrition that comes from a traditional fermentation process and thus are seeking out naturally fermented foods and drinks over their artificial counterparts.

A Little known fact is the condiment ketchup started out as fermented tomatoes that were served as a “digestive” along with a meal, unfortunately, however, the condiments current probiotic properties may not be quite as explicit.

Fermented tomatoes in glass bottles
Image source: Pixabay