Health effects of foods and their components – promoting health beneficial choices

The main focus of our research is in the health effects of foods and their components, especially in whole grain cereals and berries in healthy and in-risk populations. We have conducted clinical dietary trials from postprandial acute studies to short- and long-term interventions.

The key findings are the health benefits of whole grain products, such as rye bread, and berries on glucose and lipid metabolism, low grade inflammation and even on adipose tissue function. These foods commonly consumed in Finland are rich sources of bioactive compounds, such as polyphenols.

The current research target is the more detailed understanding of the health benefits of bioactive compounds, in addition to fibre and product structure. As the certain foods alleviate the metabolic stress, as measured in low grade inflammation, we are currently also studying, how the metabolic stress is related to psychological stress. Other targets include consumers’ food choices and possibilities to promote healthy choices.

Many of our studies have been conducted in strong collaboration with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd and food industry. VTT provides expertise in food production, technologies and new developments in technological processing of raw materials aiming at more healthy products.

Group leader Marjukka Kolehmainen, PhD, +358 40 3553 617, marjukka.kolehmainen(at)

Research focus

  • Investigation of bioactive compounds of whole grain cereals and berries and their health effects using non-targeted metabolomics from plasma and urine samples of our previous acute and long-term interventions
  • ealthy aging and impact of tailored food solutions on acute and long-term effects on nutrition, health and wellbeing in the elderly
  • Subjective, psychophysiological and metabolic responses  – and their interactions –  to polyphenol-rich foods during cephalic phase of eating
  • New, non-perishable food products in maintaining performance and inducing better recovery
  • Consumer food choices: how to modify eating behavior and maintain it towards healthier choices
  • Impact of eating behavior and food choices on metabolic stress (inflammation) and psychological stress as well as wellbeing
  • Impact of whole grain foods on exhaled breath compounds