Milk is the complete food for infants, thanks to millions of years of natural selection on mammalian lactation. Through the bioreactive process that is lactation, milk provides complete nourishment and protection for the infant and their microbiota. This principle of a complete food delivered as a complex mixture of molecules is used throughout the programs and projects of the Foods for Health Institute. Research projects in Milk & Lactation include: discovering new components and structures in human milk and their functions; clinical testing of milk-based dietary solutions for enhancing immunity; and development of new milk lipid-based solutions for improving skin health in premature infants.
Our Education program empowers school children with real skills to be their healthiest right now and for the rest of their lives. The core principles of human genetic and phenotypic diversity are becoming central to the personalized medicine field that is transforming modern health care. FFHI researchers are invested health education that is personalized and phentotype-appropriate. From K-12, we get students engaged in health-focused Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and training that positions them not only as skilled workers and thinkers, but also as capable of lifelong personal health management.
The thematic principle guiding the Foods for Health Institute is to use our understanding of Lactation Biology to guide all aspects of the food enterprise from agricultural traits to complete diets. This principle is unusually insightful for the processing of food because at its core, the mammary gland is a food bioprocessor. Indeed, the principles of biology are revolutionizing the traditional approaches to Food Processing. The Foods for Health Biotechnology programs are using principles of lactation to develop innovative ‘bio-inspired processes’ to enhance the biological structures and functions of foods rather than to degrade them.
People are not all the same, and they don’t want to be! In order to guide their health along improved trajectories that they choose, people will need to eat different diets. But how will they know? We will have to add personal health measurement to the list of criteria for choosing foods and assembling diets. Foods for Health is building much more precision into health and in diets than is possible today.