Food and Health

Ensuring diets are sufficently high in nutrition to maintain health is an important part of food security.

Lead scientist: Richard Mithen

Visit the Food & Health programme website

Many plant-based foods contain bioactive compounds that may help maintain health or prevent disease. The IFR is improving our understanding of how these bioactive compounds work, by working out how they are taken up by the body and how they can then modify our bodies’ internal processes to prevent the development of chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

The physical structure of foods is complex and changes during digestion, altering how nutrients and bioactive components are delivered to the body. We want to understand more about how the physical structure of foods at the molecular level affects how it interacts inside our bodies and how this impacts on health.

To maximise the impact of the fundamental knowledge gained from these studies, we will work with food manufacturing companies to develop new foods, ingredients or crops with enhanced nutritional value. Our studies will also provide the best quality evidence for policy makers and government providing diet and health advice aimed at improving the overall health of the nation.

Further information

More information about this area of IFR research can be found on the Food and Health Programme website.

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