What are some of the ways Brightseed is exploring the concept of food as medicine?
If you want to turn food into medicine and advance nutrition in a meaningful way, you have to look at the tiny molecules inside plants that have anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective or heart-protective properties. But what’s crazy is that we’ve only mapped 1% of the phytonutrients on earth. So, the first step in making food into medicine is understanding the other 99% of phytonutrients, and the biological mechanisms that are triggered when we ingest them. Only then can we know that what we eat makes a clinical and meaningful difference in health outcomes.
Where does your work intersect with sustainability in the food supply chain?
We are focused on the things that are commonly grown and have established supply chains. We are not looking to find the next exotic flower in the Amazon that might cure some rare disease. Brightseed is squarely focused on partnerships in which we can either find natural versions of a synthetic [ingredient] or do some deep research into commonly grown crops, supply chains and waste streams. We're sitting on a gold mine with the common stuff that we're eating and we know this intuitively.
How could Brightseed’s and Forager’s research shape future diets?
Our goal is to help our partners better understand plant-based foods. For example, we're now working with Danone on soy. That’s an interesting example of a common crop with a massive supply chain. But we only know a few things about soy. The results of these types of partnerships have the potential to prove that food grown in a particular way releases more phytonutrients and is therefore more nutritious. Our hope is that there will also be individual phytonutrients or combinations that we can work on together with supplement companies to target specific health areas.
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