Food Pharmacy

Psychobiotics.

We hope you didn’t miss yesterday’s podcast about our second brain (if so, drop what you’re doing and catch up here!). We thought it might be nice to complete the episode by re-posting some of the articles we refer to in the podcast, in order to (hopefully) tie it all together a little more.

Speaking of brains, we really wonder how ours is doing? We’ve been sitting here for a some time now, trying to put a period at the end of the title, but every time we hit the period on the keyboard, it appears as a comma instead. After a moment or two of despair, we realized that it was just a little dirt on the screen below the period. Now the screen is cleaned, the period is in the right place, and order is restored once more: except, possibly, in our brains.

Sorry for getting side tracked. But here goes: a little selection about psychobiotics, depression and our ”other” brain:

Psychobiotics.

Professor Felicie Jacka: It’s time we see diet as an important, new treatment approach to depression and anxiety.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Our second brain.

Dear reader, it’s finally time for a new podcast episode. What a nice little weekly tradition this is becoming!

In this week’s episode, Lina has stayed up all night to finish an essay on the effects that intestinal flora have on the brain. Lina guides Mia and our trainee Sebastian through 36 fact-filled minutes, with topics ranging from depression and SSRIs, to exercise and foods that can complement antidepressants. And as if that isn’t awesome enough, Mia also challenges Robert Wells (Sweden’s favorite Piano Man) with a little piece on the piano.

Listen here or here.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Three simple tips on how to reduce your sugar intake.

It might seem like we’re a little in love with the science journalist and author Ann Fernholm … well ok, we admit it, we are! Three days ago, she was a guest on the Swedish television show ”SVT Plus”, where she talked about her favorite subject – sugar – and she did a stunning job as usual. You can see the entire clip here. It ends with these three tips on how to reduce your sugar intake:

1. Most of the sugar we eat comes from candy and soda. Skip the soda and save the juice for special occasions. Make sure the kids eat no more than 5-6 pieces of candy on Saturday (the traditional ”Candy Day” for kids in Sweden).

2. Take a closer look at your breakfast and snacks. Watch out for sugar in cereals and flavored milk products. Get rid of the chocolate milk.

3. When you’re baking – use half the amount of sugar in all recipes.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

The Finnish city that managed to reduce obesity among children.

When we were young, there were hardly any children who suffered from obesity. One kid here and there would have a few extra kilos round their waist, something that probably wouldn’t even be considered as overweight in relations to today’s problems?

Today we live in a different reality – in just 20 years, obesity has become our new endemic disease and obesity among children and adolescents has increased tremendously. 20-25% of all teenagers are overweight and more than 3% suffer from obesity, according to figures from the Children Obesity Register. Children suffering from obesity don’t only develop insulin resistance, blood lipid disorders and liver damage. They also have a hard time becoming normal weight as adults – 80% of kids that are overweight or obese when they are 6-7 years-old are still overweight in late teens.

This is a troublesome development that unfortunately increases throughout the western world. Except in a small town in southern Finland.

Seinäjoki is a city in the Finnish region of Österbotten with around 60.000 inhabitants, where something very unusual has been achieved –  they have turned the childhood obesity curves around, and the proportion of obese children in several age groups has declined in recent years. The anti obesity program for ”Seinäjoki” started in 2013 when the local politicians noticed that obesity was a growing problem. The goal was to reduce obesity among children and adolescents and to prevent obesity-related illnesses as they grow older.

The schools have played a central role and, among other things, all lunches at the schools and preschools have been adapted so that the children will eat more fruits and vegetables in parallel with the decrease of salt, sugar and animal fat. In addition to this, daily classes are interrupted with short gymnastic classes to reduce the sedentary nature of regular lessons, and many classrooms are arranged so that students can stand up and work. Many of the schools have also added more activities for the children on their breaks.

Already after two years, the curves of obesity among children in the city had turned downwards. In 2009, 17% of all five-year-olds were overweight or obese. By 2015, the percentage had decreased to 10%. Even for seven and eleven-year-olds a clear reduction was noticed, from 14 and 16% in 2011, to below 10% in 2015. In 2015, WHO published these results, which put the small Finnish city on the map and made it an international model. During the last two years, many foreign delegations have visited the city to learn about the ”Seinäjoki model”.

It’s quite fascinating that relatively small changes in schools can make such a big difference to one of our biggest public health problems today.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

The Dietary Science Foundation – so that more people can live a healthy life.

All through out the time that I’ve studied diet research, I’ve found myself feeling frustrated many times. We are bombarded with well-meant advice from experts and authorities: eat less salt, be careful with fat, feed your baby gluten so they won’t get gluten intolerance and don’t forget the infant formula, or they will suffer from iron deficiency. Some of you have probably forgotten, but in the 1990s, the Swedish National Food Agency labeled ice cream and super-sweet yoghurts with the Keyhole (a food label that identifies healthier food products), in its eagerness to make us eat less saturated fat.

Many of us have kindly followed these advices. My kids obediently nibbled on their crackers before they even tasted real food like fish, eggs or broccoli. And since the fear of salt was so great, I gave them mostly canned children’s food that they consistently refused to eat.

When I began to study the science behind these dietary advices, I became … Well, there isn’t really a diplomatic way to describe my reaction. Let’s move on. Many of the recommendations we receive stems from reasons that make even a Swiss cheese look solid. Frankly speaking, authorities and experts have shared hopeful guesses about how their advice will affect us, but often, we haven’t seen the effects of the advice. Despite all the light and low fat products in the dairy section, we didn’t get thinner. Although most Swedish parents have followed the advice to give their babies gluten before the age of six months, Swedish children still suffer from gluten intolerance twice as often as American babies.

But you know what. Three years ago, we had it with guesses. We’re all worth something better and there is only one way: high quality and independent scientific studies.

Therefore, we founded the Dietary Science Foundation – an non-profit organization with a Swedish 90-account (confirms that the fundraising operation is being managed in an ethical and responsible way, and that the money reacheas the intended purpose). Just like the Swedish Cancer Society and the Heart-Lung Foundation, we raise funds to finance scientific studies, and our focus is diet and its connection to health.

The kind of research that we’re interested in is so-called ”randomized and controlled trials.” I’ll spare you the details on how they work (there’s a risk you’ll stop reading), but it’s the kind of studies that can prove effects and evaluate side effects. It’s the law that such studies most be made for a drug to be approved, but the dietary requirements are much lower.

During our first three years, the Dietary Science Foundation managed to launch two major randomized and controlled trials: one that analyses the role of carbohydrates in relation to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and one in which scientists study how diet can be used to stabilize blood sugar in patients with type 1 diabetes ( the type of diabetes that also affects children). The Swedish insurance company Skandia recently gave more than 2.8 million SEK towards these studies (I love them).

So now, everyone who reads this amazing blog knows about the Dietary Science Foundation. There’s no requirement to become a monthly donor, but it is a great opportunity to contribute to a healthier society. If for any reason you have a left over 10 dollar bill in your wallet, you can send it to the Dietary Science Foundation’s Swish account at 123 900 42 43, we promise we will use it well. Read more here about some of the knowledge gaps that need to be filled by new research: Which are the diseases where a dietary treatment can help?

Let’s work together towards a healthier future. Come on!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

A new podcast episode: Those school meals.

Sitting here at the office, listening to our very own podcast – Food Pharmacy-podden – part 2. Here’s some spontaneous thoughts:

1) It’s hard, almost unbearable, having to listen to our own voices.

2) Two seconds into the program, we received a question about the food in schools, and therefore we talk about everything from blood sugar dips and concentration difficulties, to breakfast habits and people working in school cafeterias.

3) Lina and her children eat a lot of cinnamon. Almost unnatural amounts.

4) There’s a good balance between seriousness and laughing, just as we like it.

Have a listen, and don’t forget to subscribe – then you’ll receive a notification (we think?) every week when there’s a new anti-inflammatory episode!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Sweden’s most downloaded podcast.

Ok, we get that it may not stay like this forever. And, the fact that we have been talking about it for three years, probably contributed to what happened last week. But the fact remains: the day we released the very first episode of our very first podcast, we ended up #1 on the Swedish toplist.

On Friday last week, we returned to the studio to record the second episode. Talked about kids, school meals, and the connection between gut flora and mental health. Had some coffee, and celebrated that Friday feeling by showing off on the drums.

Any time now, it’s time to release the second episode of the podcast. As might be expected, we’re bouncing off the wall with excitement.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Boost your immune system with our anti-inflammatory online course.

We’ve never made ourselves any business cards, which is probably for the best because we wouldn’t really know what to write on them. Maybe something like ”writers” and ”bloggers”.  And now, as of two days ago, we’re also ”podcasters”. In addition to all the above, we’ve made an anti-inflammatory online course. But we couldn’t really call ourselves ”anti-inflammatory online influencers”, or could we…?

Anyway, instead of printing business cards, we’ll just take this opportunity to tell you all about our course here on the blog. Our guess is that there are many happy health enthusiasts out there, who bought our cookbook and now want to know more about the connection between intestinal bacteria, intestinal flora, and the immune system, but don’t have the time to read our first book.

If that sounds like you, then check out the course! It’s sort of a simplified version of Food Pharmacy’s book Food Pharmacy: A Guide to Gut Bacteria, Anti-inflammatory Foods, and Eating for Health, along with pictures from the book’s ”important facts” section, many delicious recipes, a week-long menu, and a lot of fun short videos. And unlike the book, it ends with an interactive section in which you get to start eating foods that will strengthen your immune system and intestinal flora.

Sounds like something you’d like to try? Or maybe something you would give as a gift to a friend/relative/ballet teacher?

If so, check out the course here.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

Food Pharmacy – The Podcast is finally here!

We’ve talked about this project for three years, and finally, we took the bull by the horns and did it. It’s about time! If you know any Swedish, feel free to visit iTunes or Acast on your computer, or use the podcast app on your phone. Get some finger exercise and firmly type ”Food Pharmacy-podden” (ok sorry, we’re spelling it out for you, but we just want to make sure you find it).

Today, all roads lead to Food Pharmacy – The Podcast. And in the very first episode, we talk about everything under the sun – why lifestyle choices have a greater influence on your health than your genes, how to deal with health experts and sift through all the advice, and last but not least, Lina’s recipe for… what’s your guess? (ok, go ahead and listen to the episode now).

We will try to release an episode a week, but please do not hesitate to provide us with feedback on the ways we can improve, give input (the same as feedback?), love, topics, you name it. Type your ideas as a comment underneath this post.

Time to listen! You do the listening part, and we will keep our fingers crossed you like it, deal?  Needless to say we’re a bundle of nerves.

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.



Food Pharmacy

The blog turns 3 today!

We can’t believe it’s been THREE YEARS since we published our very first blog post. Time flies. And at the same time, ONLY three years, it feels like so much longer. We will celebrate all week long, and first off (tomorrow), we have something for you. We know many of you have asked and longed for… A little something for your ears… Something that you can listen to on your way to work, or on your way home from work, or in the kitchen, or while doing your nails, or while removing lice from your child’s head…

The podcast! In Swedish. We promise (or at least hope), someday there will be an English version. But if you know Swedish, be sure to stop by tomorrow for the very first episode of our very first podcast. Can’t wait!

You’re more than welcome to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And buy our first book in German here or in Polish here, and our new cookbook in Swedish here. And buy professor Bengmark’s Synbiotic15 here.