Introduction to functional foods and nutraceuticals

Both functional foods and nutraceuticals are believed to support health and prevent or manage certain diseases. The term nutraceutical is a hybrid or contraction of nutrition and pharmaceutical. Nutraceutical is a product produced from foods but sold in powders, pills, and other medicinal forms not generally associated with food and demonstrated to have physiological benefits or provide protection against chronic disease.

Functional food can be a natural food, a food to which a health-promoting component has been added or from which a component for specific health reasons has been removed, a food in which a component has been modified by technological or chemical means to provide a specific health benefit, or a food in which the bioavailability of a component has been modified, or a combination of any of them.

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The products are often marketed for their potential roles in improving digestion, boosting immunity, reducing inflammation, supporting cardiovascular health, promoting cognitive function, and more. However, it’s important to note that the scientific evidence behind the health claims of functional foods and nutraceuticals can vary, and regulatory frameworks differ across countries.

Consumers are increasingly seeking out these products as part of a proactive approach to their health and well-being. However, it is advisable to consult with healthcare professionals or registered dietitians before incorporating functional foods or nutraceuticals into one’s diet, particularly if there are existing health conditions or interactions with medications to consider.

In summary, functional foods and nutraceuticals represent a dynamic field that explores the potential health benefits of specific foods and bioactive compounds. While these products hold promise for supporting health and wellness, it is essential to make informed choices based on scientific evidence and seek professional guidance to ensure optimal outcomes.

Read more about functional foods and nutraceuticals

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Functional foods and how they relate to nutraceuticals

Nutraceuticals and functional foods are closely related, as both are food-based products that have health-promoting properties beyond their basic nutritional value.

Functional foods: What they are and how to make them

The term “functional” in functional foods refers to the idea that these foods have specific, measurable health benefits beyond basic nutrition. 

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The role of functional foods in chronic disease management

Functional foods are foods that contain physiologically-active components that provide a health benefit beyond basic nutrition

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Watch an introductory lecture on functional foods and nutraceuticals

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