Ever wonder why berries come in the shades of red, purple and blue colors. These color shades represent a natural components call anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins compounds were found to be highly beneficial to human health particularly on their function as an antioxidants to sequester free radicals in human body. Free radical exist naturally as a by-product of human metabolism. Excessive free radicals can damages human cell, tissues and organ, and are thought to be a cause of cancer development. In a simpler words, antioxidants acts by a compound that binds and neutralize the free radicals in human body.
Today, anthocyanins compounds can be used as natural food colorants to meet consumer demands for natural food coloring agents.
In most part of the world, our food sources came from food derived from crops (plants) and livestocks (animals). In some part of the world, some people's food source derived from insects and to a lesser extend, testing of lab-grown foods. This article share some of the food sources that we have, extending slightly beyond the application of crops and livestocks in non-food applications.
Crops refers to the plant derived foods that can come from the leaves, the roots, legumes, fruits, flowers and the stalks of the plant. In fact, plant derived products also used in different non-food applications such as household detergents, rubber, clothes, soy-based ink, furniture and fuels.
Similarly, livestocks also play a role on non-food products as you may see on the below slide.
They are part of the animal kingdom, although they are not part of our livestocks. In some part of the world, reptiles such as snake and crocodile are hunt for the meats and inner organs. Here is the catch according to the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology, people can catch certain diseases such as trichinosis, pentastomiasis, gnathostomiasis and sparganosis (2010).
Hmmm... yum or disgusting! Do you know that natural red color, carmine derived from cochineal are the more stable than natural beets color? In the food industry, we need stable color so that consumer (including myself) don't freak out when our food's color deteriorate. The Chinese, in some part of the world, eat fried crickets as part of their tradition. In fact, there is even a cricket farms for insects such as crickets, as insect protein are known with high protein content. Feeling curious -check this out! Insect protein powder may just be an ingredients of sport supplementation for protein for body building purpose.
Lab grown meat
Of course, one of the most highly debated food source is lab-grown meat. Lab meat burger patty anyone-check out this youtube video? Similar to how we can grow human cells for experimental purpose, we can grow meat that we can eat in the lab.
Looks like we got multiple sources of food that we can consume. What are you comfortable consuming and why? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
Most of our milk supply at the store are pasteurized milk. A very small percentage of milk are consumed raw with no further processing after milking the cow or other milk producing animals.
On the good side, pasteurization eliminate harmful bacterias and reduce some enzymes that turn milk sour. However, the exposure of milk with even small amount of heat does reduce some essential vitamin and minerals and other nutrients.
Although there are wide spread for milk consumption across all age groups, milk is more commonly consumed at the younger age by young children. We knew that at young age, our children's immune system are weak and still developing. Other vulnerable populations may include elderly and people with weakened immune system. They may get sick due to inability to fight germs.
Don't get me wrong, raw milk contains both the bad and the good bacterias. While pasteurization aims to kill all these bacterias (indirectly affecting the nutrient content) in the milk, pasteurization does help to reduce risk of our children from getting sick. As a bonus, with the bacterias and some enzymes deactivated, the process also helps prolong the shelf life of milk. Thus, keeping them fresh when we need them.
So, why do we still have raw milk and is it harmful to drink raw milk? One of the reason that we have raw milk is that there is certain group of people believe in the benefit of raw milk can outweigh the need for pasteurization. Of course, not all raw milk can make you sick. We get sick usually due to consumption of large number of bacterias or sufficient amount of pathogenic bacterias. So, my tips for consuming raw milk are drink them fresh and low temperature below 4°C can help prolong their shelf life. Always be aware of risk of raw milk for yourself and your family.
I like to share the visible and hidden challenges of feeding the future. According to the United Nation, the world population is projected to grow from the existing 7.3 billion in 2015 to 9.7 billion in 2050. The increase in the number of populations means that we need to have a method to ensure we are able to feed 2.4 billion more people on the globe, on top of stopping hunger.
Example of some of the current dilemmas are many of our lands are no longer suitable or available as agricultural land (transformed into modern buildings and cities), decreasing amount of available underground water, decreasing the crop yields due to pest and diseases and climate changes. These factors are further complicated by the decreasing amount of farmer, working to farm and grow the crops and the livestocks.
Then, there are another question. What happens to the food we grew today? Just as an example, USDA estimated 30-40% edible food are wasted. How? Food can turn into waste, from the moment it was harvested. The crops and livestocks are living organism. Although they may seems lost its live during harvesting processes, the crops and livestocks are subjected to natural chemical process that affects its safety and quality. The natural chemical deterioration process continue to occur unless the condition for the process is not favorable for the reaction, usually through temperature control such as refrigerations.
The damage crops and livestocks then, are rejected as waste and ended up in the landfill. Further, waste can occur during processing as food companies rejects food products that are not in-compliant with the specifications. At the consumer level, the food may not be consumed before the expiry date and dispose extra foods into the garbage. Some consumers are confused regarding best before date and expiry date when discarding food. Food with best before date can be consumed after the labelled date as they do not possessed health risk. A simple quality check for food with best before date is recommended to ensure that the food texture and taste is almost similar to those that have not exceed the best before date.
Designing the future food also means looking at the aspect of nutrition and the socio-economic and cultural perspectives of the locals. Nutrition are an important aspect for growth and sustaining life's requirement for building strong communities. The origin of nutrients are from our land, that are either absorbed directly by the plant or indirectly by the livestock through their feeds. In another word, food grown on the land with poor nutrient, will ended up having poor nutrient value and vice versa. Are we getting the most nutrient out of our crops?
The importance of local foods are highlighted due to carbon footprint. However, certain local foods that belong to the developing countries such as cassava have poor nutrient but that is what the locals consume. Instead of substituting the local food with nutrient dense food, fortification with nutrients missing in their common diet such as iron and iodine provide nutrients using an acceptable food vehicle for the locals. I think the saying "there is no where like home" also refers to the social-cultural uniqueness of the local communities that we live in. These uniqueness can be preserved by adapting to the local communities that we wish to place a nutritional intervention strategies.
The imbalance family income also affects the affordability for food resulting hunger and consumption of food with low nutritive value. These are concerning as it particularly linked with wasting, underweight and stunted growth. Meanwhile, some higher income family prefers to consume more meats as they have more spending power. Access to fast foods and food that contains high fats, proteins and refined carbohydrates also contribute to the current food situation. Coupled with the lack of exercises, many non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases are linked to poor dietary habits.
Some other novel introduction of future foods include lab grown meats and insect farming. In certain countries, insects are commonly consumed as food. In fact, insects are categorized as a good source of protein. Lab grown meats are still under testing but would you give it a try? Can it be a substitute to the current option?
In conclusion, designing the future food model is very specific to each community as every communities is unique. There is no one model fit all, in designing the future food models. Changes in dietary habits and the sustainability of our food production system along with the current and upcoming food technologies play an equally important role to define not only the quantity of food to feed the future but also, the quality of future foods from health and community perspective. I am pretty sure that I have not share them all. Please provide more comments on other consideration to feed more people.
Many of us pride over imported foods for it being luxurious foods but hey, local foods can be too pending on preparation methods.
Here are my 5 reasons to love local foods: