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  1. Nowadays, diets are changing towards healthy eating. Most diets are focused on removing certain products from diet (e.g. not to eat cookies or lardon), now we rather want to know what is better to add to out diet so that to maintain healthy balance of vitamins, minerals and calories. What are other scientific trends in diets today and why people keep changing their attitude to and inventing new diets on and on? 
  2. It is indisputable that what we eat is critical to our state of health. Nutrients provide the body with the raw materials for our most basic functions. Essential nutrients are nutrients that the body requires for growth, development and functional maintenance. However many diets, particularly the Western diet, unfortunately lack some of these essential nutrients. Additionally, processed food high in fats and sugars that have been chemically changed, often to the point of becoming toxic, is consumed in increasingly large quantities. As many functions of the body are interactive and interdependent, an imbalance of essential nutrients can have far-reaching negative effects. High levels of some substances found in processed or artificially ‘enhanced’ food may have the ability to alter our metabolic state and adversely affect our body’s functions. In obesity, an overweight but in some ways undernourished, state, the long term risk of chronic diseases including type 2 diabetes, heart disease and arthritis is vastly increased.[1] [2] Until recently it was believed that a wide range of diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, stroke and some cancers could be caused by a single gene mutation. More recent findings, however, indicate that these conditions are attributable to a network of biological dysfunction. Furthermore, it is now also known that a lack of essential nutrients, caused by an inadequate supply in the diet, can be an important factor in this biological dysfunction.[3] In order to better understand and treat these diseases, intense research is required to identify how multiple nutrients interact, and how these interactions affect body functions. As the relationship between nutrition, metabolic function and disease becomes more apparent, the view of the virtues of food in simplistic terms of calories or fat will no doubt require revision.[4] Focus must be drawn to food that it is essential to include, rather than just highlighting those to avoid. In the diet of the future, instead of looking at foodstuffs as the ‘enemy’, to be continually reduced or excluded, we will perhaps instead be directed to see the diet as a means to promote good health. By including the right kinds of foods we may even be able to decrease or eliminate the risk of many diseases that are currently epidemic in Western societies. Additionally, with the advent of personalised medicine and advances in genotyping, future diets may even be designed to coincide with an individual’s unique metabolism.[5] There is increasing evidence of the adverse impact on health caused by food that is processed, or has a high sugar and fat content. As we find out more about the true, scientifically-backed ways to maintain a healthy diet, we can shape our health and even our future. Current thinking shows that a balanced and varied diet consisting of freshly prepared food from natural sources, rich in essential nutrients and free from pesticides is the most sensible option to maintain health.   [1] Li, YX. & Zhou, L. (2015) Vitamin D deficiency, obesity and diabetes. Cell Mol Biol (Noisy-le-grand). 61(3). 35-8. [2] Han, TS. & Lean, ME. (2016) A clinical perspective of obesity, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. JRSM Cardiovasc Dis. doi: 10.1177/2048004016633371. [3] American Heart Association Nutrition Committee et al. (2006) Diet and lifestyle recommendations revision 2006: a scientific statement from the American Heart Association Nutrition Committee. Circulation. 114(1). 82-96. [4] Rozin, P. et al. (1999) Attitudes to Food and the Role of Food in Life in the U.S.A., Japan, Flemish Belgium and France: Possible Implications for the Diet–Health Debate. Appetite. 33(2). 163-80. [5] Chadwick, R. (2004) Nutrigenomics, individualism and public health. Proceed Nutr Soc. 63(1). 161-6.  
  3. We all know that unhealthy food, as a rule, is more tasty. Eating meals high in fat, sugar and salt is more satisfying than eating nutritious food, such as brussels sprouts or carrot. Why does our brain drive us to eat junk food and detest the most healthy? Does it mean that 'good' food always has a 'bad' taste?
  4. It’s fairly obvious that foods that are bad for us generally taste good. Most unhealthy options such as processed, pre-packaged food and fast food from take-away restaurants are pumped full of sugar, fat and salt. These unhealthy constituents taste appealing, and light up the pleasure centres in our brain when we eat them. Eating fats and sugars causes increases in serotonin in the reward areas of our brain, in a similar way to taking recreational drugs. [1] [2]  One study conducted on rats found that regular administration of fatty foods induced a cocaine-like addiction:[3] electrodes monitoring brain activity showed that after frequent fatty food consumption the rats developed a tolerance to the pleasure they got from fatty foods, and thus they compulsively sought out larger amounts, even when given electric shocks for eating it. Furthermore, they also became less inclined to eat nutritious food, even when nutritious food was the only food available. Conversely, many people dislike, or even have aversions to, food that is highly nutritious. Brussels sprouts are commonly disliked, but are actually highly beneficial. They have been shown to reduce DNA damage[4] and increase levels of detoxifying enzymes,[5] both of which are mechanisms that can potentially reduce the risks of certain cancers. Many people also do not like the taste of fish, particularly strong tasting oily fish. However certain types of oily fish can help to reduce inflammation in the body, reducing the risks of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers and improving improve brain function and mood.[6] This is because oily fish is rich in vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids, which benefit brain and heart function.[7] Ginger root, which many people feel has an overpowering spicy taste, aids digestion,[8] reduces inflammation[9] and can help to prevent blood clots.[9] In addition, studies have also shown that ginger powder can induce cell death in ovarian cancer cells,[10] and that it can prevent gastrointestinal cancers.[11] It also has other beneficial effects, including giving relief from pain,[12] heartburn[11] and migraines.[13] Mushrooms are also commonly disliked, mostly due to their texture. However they bring a lot to the table. They provide a lot of nutrition considering they’re very low in calories and salt, and are cholesterol and fat free. They are also a great source of B vitamins.[14] [15] Another food, Miso, is a dark brown paste that isn't very attractive and is quite strongly flavoured. It is a form of fermented soy derivative, which has has been linked to reduced incidences of cancer and hypertension.[16] [17] Seaweed, which might appear slimy, can favourably improve estrogen and phytoestrogen metabolism in postmenopausal women and can modulate bacteria in the gastrointestinal system.[18] It has also been reported to contain compounds that possess strong anti-cancer and antiviral actions.  So, it is important to realise the many benefits of foods that you might otherwise turn you nose up at. Whilst no-one should feel forced to eat foods that they dislike, the multitude of health boosting properties of these unpalatable foods may just sweeten the deal, and encourage you to broaden your taste horizons. [1] Fortuna, JL. (2012) The obesity epidemic and food addiction: clinical similarities to drug dependence. J Psychoactive Drugs. 44(1). 56-63. [2] Young, SN. (2007) How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 32(6). 394-9. [3] Kenny, PJ. (2011) Reward mechanisms in obesity: new insights and future directions. Neuron. 69(4). 664-79. [4] Verhagen, H, Poulsen, HE, Loft, S, van Poppel G, Wilems, MI, van Bladeren, PJ. (1995) Reduction of oxidative DNA-damage in humans by Brussels sprouts. Carcinogenesis. 16(4). 969-70. [5] Nijhoff, WA, Grubben, MJAL, Nagengast, FM, Jansen, JBMJ, Verhagn, H, van Poppel, G, Peters, WHM. (1995) Effects of consumption of Brussels sprouts on intestinal and lymphocytic glutathione S-transferases in humans. Carcinogenesis. 16(9). 2125-8. [6] Ellulu, MS, Khaza’ai, H, Abed, Y, Rahmat, A, Ismail, P, Ranneh, Y. (2015) Role of fish oil in human health and possible mechanism to reduce the inflammation. Inflammopharmacology. 23(2-3). 79-89. [7] Hearn, TL, Sgoutas, SA, Hearn, JA, Sgoutas, DS. (1987) Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids and Fat in Fish Flesh for Selecting Species for Health Benefits. J Food Sci. 52(5). 1209-11. [8] Valussi, M. (2012) Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 63(S1). 82-9. [9] Thomson, M, Al-Qattan, KK, Al-Sawan, SM, Alnaqeeb, MA, Khan, I, Ali, M. (2002) The use of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.) as a potential anti-inflammatory and antithrombotic agent. Prostagland Leukotrienes, Ess Fatty Acids. 67(6). 475-8. [10] Rhode, J, Fogoros, S, Zick, S, Wahl, H, Griffith, KA, Huang, J, Liu, JR. (2007) Ginger inhibits cell growth and modulates angiogenic factors in ovarian cancer cells. Biomed Central. [epub] DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-7-44. [11] Prasad, S, Tyagi, AK. (2015) Ginger and its constituents: role in prevention and treatment of gastrointestinal cancer. Gastroenterol Res Pract. [epub]  doi: 10.1155/2015/142979.  [12] Shirvani, MA, Motahari-Tabari, N, Alipour, A. (2015) The effect of mefenamic acid and ginger on pain relief in primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized clinical trial. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 291(6). 1277-81. [13] Cady, RK, Goldstein, J, Nett, R, Mitchell, R, Beach, ME, Browning, R. (2011) A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Pilot Study of Sublingual Feverfew and Ginger (LipiGesicTMM) in the Treatment of Migraine. Headache. 51(7). 1078-86. [14] Mattila, P, Könkö, K, Eurola, M, Pihlava, JM, Astola, J, Vahteristo, L, Hietaniemi, V, Kumpulainen, J, Valtonen, M, Piironen, V. (2001) Contents of vitamins, mineral elements, and some phenolic compounds incultivated mushrooms. J Agri Food Chem. 49(5). 2343-8. [15] Furlani, RPZ, Godoy, HT. (2008) Vitamins B1 and B2 contents in cultivated mushrooms. Food Chem. 106(2). 816-9. [16] Santiago, LA, Hiramatsu, M, Mori, A. (1992) Japanese Soybean Paste Miso Scavenges Free Radicals and Inhibits Lipid Peroxidation. J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 38(3). 297-304. [17] Watanabe, H. (2013) Beneficial Biological Effects of Miso with Reference to Radiation Injury, Cancer and Hypertension. J Toxicol Pathol. 26(2). 91-103. [18] Teas, J, Hurley, TG, Hebert, JR, Franke, AA, Sepkovic, DW, Kurzer, MS. (2009) Dietary Seaweed Modifies Estrogen and Phytoestrogen Metabolism in Healthy Postmenopausal Women. J Nutr. 139(5). 939-44.