MILAN – Nourishing oneself goes beyond the simple act of eating: it is the need whereby the complexity of human beings is most evident because it is influenced by numerous factors that combined differently in everyone to create unique and unrepeatable food preferences, desires, cravings, and wastes that evolve as we do starting from birth. Nestlé invites visitors to the Expo 2015 "FEED your MIND!", the exhibit set up in the Swiss Pavilion, which reveals the connection between food and man.
FEED your MIND! explains complex scientific evidence in an immediate and impressive manner: from the 100 million neurons that light up upon the stimulus from food through a complex network of hormonal messages and neurotransmitters that regulate hunger and satiety, to the new frontiers of nutritional science - nutrigenomics - which examines the effects that food has inside of our cells.
In fact, DNA is not a written destiny: even food can influence it, through habits and eating patterns, without changing the code but by improving expression. This ability is particularly strong in children, but not lost entirely in childhood. This is why eating well is the first gesture of care we can show ourselves and those whom we love.
The four areas of the exhibition
Growth and development in the first 1,000 days of life
This is the period containing all of the stages leading to the development of the senses and the brain, and it is important to underline the relevance of good nutrition within the first 1,000 days of life, from conception until age 2. Additionally, a new branch of science until now rarely discussed among the general public is put forth: epigenetics, the science which studies the influences of dietary habits and other environmental factors on genes, health, and future generations. The theme is treated in its conceptual value: DNA is not a predetermined destiny but we now know that epigenetic mechanisms are crucial for modulating gene expression, which is the function of DNA itself. Visitors are invited to discover which and how many nutrients are important for good health.
Hunger and satiety
In this installation, visitors will discover the complex mechanisms which underlie our perception of hunger and satiety. Hunger and satiety trigger specific areas in the brain (hypothalamus) with specific mediators that activate a series of sensory mechanisms associated with the need to seek out and ingest food. In this delicate phase, the five senses act as "supervisors" or counsellors and together with our experiences influence food choices.
The role of the senses and emotions in nutrition
Here visitors will learn how the senses guide our food choices and even influence our sense of taste in some cases. Through simple games, visitors can - among other things - evaluate the salt or sugar content in food which we have all tried at some point in our lives.
Health and food: the future
The installations planned in this area will provide visitors with information about food and nutrition with a proven effect on the well-being of the brain and its functions. For example, explanations are given on how antioxidants - contained in abundance in fruits and vegetables - improve cognitive skills, vision, and cerebral function, as well as how chocolate helps to improves mental performance and offers short-term support for cognitive abilities by promoting blood supply to specific areas of the brain.