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Functional foods and nutra as future foods
Monday, 01 June, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Sharda Patekar, Shashikiran Hingade

Functional foods
Today, the term functional foods is used to describe foods or food ingredients that provide health benefits beyond meeting basic nutrition needs due to their physiologically active food components (i.e. bioactive compounds or bioactive food components).

Functional foods are defined as whole foods along with fortified, enriched, or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis at effective levels. The interest in nutraceuticals and functional foods continues to grow, powered by progressive research efforts to identify properties and potential applications of nutraceutical substances, and coupled with public interest and consumer demand. The principal reasons for the growth of the functional food market are current population and health trends. People  can  optimise  the  health-promoting  capabilities  of  their  diet  by  way  of supplementation  and  by  consuming  foods  that have  been  formulated  or  fortified  to  include health-promoting factors. Another reason for the growing trend in functional foods is public education. People today are more nutrition-savvy than ever before.

Nutraceuticals
Nutraceuticals refer to the naive or processed natural compounds exhibiting health benefits, therapeutic value, and marketed as nutrition supplements. Nutraceuticals can be derived from any living organisms ranging from microbes, plants, to animals. Nutraceuticals exhibit wide-spectrum health benefits in contrast to pharmaceuticals, which are of very specific therapeutic value. Modern sedentary, stressed lifestyle without healthy food habits has provided an up-thrust to the nutraceuticals market.

Foods are typically considered functional if they contain a bioactive component such as nutrients (vitamins, minerals, protein, etc..) or non-nutrients (phytochemicals including polyphenols, prebiotic dietary fibers, etc..) that affect one or more physiological functions in the body to improve well-being and health, reduce disease risk, and/or improve disease outcomes.
Conventional foods are unmodified or whole foods that may be functional due to the bioactive compounds it contains. These compounds often work additively and/or synergistically to exert their effects.

Modified foods considered to be functional foods have been modified through factors involved in food production and/or processing to modify the type, content, bioaccessibility, and/or bioavailability of bioactive compounds.
Food ingredients may be isolated and/or synthesised bioactive components that are used in food products to confer a functional effect.

Components of Nutraceuticals
 Nutraceuticals components can be any natural compound with therapeutic and health benefits. They include dietary fibres, flavonoids, natural antioxidants, polyphenols, polyunsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, spices, and probiotics.

Several classifications of nutraceuticals have been proposed depending on various parameters. Classify nutraceuticals as:
Depending on the source of nutraceuticals from which they are derived or isolated, they can be divided as:
1. Photochemical: derived from herbs or plants like flavonoids
2. Microbial derived nutrients: derived from microbes like vitamin A
3. Animal-based nutrients: derived from livestock On the basis of chemical properties, nutraceuticals can be classified as:
1. Flavonoids 2. Vitamins3. Polyunsaturated fatty acids
4. Prebiotics
 Further nutraceuticals can be classified as:
1. Dietary supplements: These formulations have nutrients alone as a salt and are mixed with some buffers and preservatives.
 2.Functional foods: Katherine Zeratsky defines, “functional food as food enriched with proponents who promote optimal health and help reduce the risk of disease, for example, oatmeal contains a soluble fibre which lowers cholesterol levels.”

Table No 2. Classification of Nutraceuticals
 
Sr. no  Class Examples   
1  Inorganic minerals and supplements Minerals   
2  Probiotics Helpful bacteria    
3 Prebiotics Digestive enzymes    
4 Dietary fibres  Fibres   
5 Antioxidants Natural antioxidants    
6 Phytochemicals (fatty acids, phenolics, lipids, protein.) Omega 3 fatty acids, tea polyphenols, carotenoids, soyaproteins 

Functional foods from plant sources
Oats
Oats products are widely studied that contain soluble fibre B glucan which reduces low density lipoprotein (LDL)  Now the scientists also agreed that consumption of this perticular plant food can reduce total and low density lipoproteins there by reducing the coronary heart disease.
 
Soy 
Soyabean contains isoflavanols useful in prevention of cancer. FDA gives approval to soy as official cholesterol lowering food along with other heart and health benefits. Some 25 gm of soy protein a day as a part of a diet low in cholesterol may reduce risk of heart disease.
Soy products:- soymilk, soy curd/ tofu, protein isolate, protein concentrate, texturised vegetable protein
 

Flaxseed
Among the major seed oils, flaxseed contains the most (57%) of the omega fatty acids, a lenolenic acid. Recent research however focussed more specifically on fibre associated compounds known as Lignans. Health Benefits:- Reduces risk of heart diseases and certain cancers several researchs proved that 10 gm of flaxeed per day reduces the risk of breast cancer.
 
4) Tomatoes
Tomato has received attention because of Lycopene the primary carotenoid found in this fruit. Lycopene is a strong antioxidant reduces risk of various types of cancer specially prostate cancer.
 
5) Garlic
Its most widely mentioned for its medicinal properties. Garlic has antibiotic, anti-hypertensive, cholesterol lowering properties.
 

 Functional foods from animal sources
Fish
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential class of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) derived primarily from fish oil. It reduces cholesterol and triglycerides.
 
Dairy Products
Dairy products are very well known for their calcium content which can prevent osteoporosis (A condition in which bones become weak and brittle) and possibly colon cancer. In addition to calcium research has been focussed on other dairy components particularly on fermented dairy products known as probiotics.
 
Probiotics: Live microbial feed supplement which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance. More evidences support the reduction in risk of colon cancer by probiotics.
 
Beef (cattle meat)
 It contains conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) which is anticarcinogenic.
 
and other cruciferous vegetables
Frequent consumption will reduce risk of cancer. It contains phytochemicals (biologically active compounds found in plants) and isothiocyanates (Many natural isothiocyanates from plants are produced by enzymatic conversion of metabolites called glucosinolates. These natural isothiocyanates, such as allyl isothiocyanate, are also known as mustard oils.)

Citrus fruits
citrus fruits are protective against variety of human cancer component responsible is limonoid.
 
Cranberry juice
The juice of it contains proanthocyanidins (Proanthocyanidins are a class of polyphenols found in a variety of plants. Chemically, they are oligomeric flavonoids) that inhibit the adherence of E.coli to uroepithelial cells (cells present in urinary track) and prevent urinary track infections.
 
Tea
This is second only to water as most widely consumed beverage in the world. A great deal of attention has been directed to polyphenolic constituents of tea, particularly green tea. Polyphenol comprises upto 30% of total dry weight of fresh tea leaves Catechins are predominant polyphenols which reduce risk of cancer.
 
Wine and grapes
Due to high phenolic content wine reduces risk of CVD (cardiovascular diseases), grape juice is effective in inhibiting the oxidation of LDL (Low density lipoproteins) reduces.

(The authors are assistant professors at Dept.of Food Process Technology, Sau. K S K 'Kaku' college of Food Technology, Nagar Road Beed, and Dept. of Food Chemistry and Nutrients, Aditya College of Food Technology, Nalwandi Naka, Beed)


Nutraceutical refers to the naive or processed natural compounds exhibiting health bene?ts, therapeutic value, and marketed as nutrition supplements. Nutraceuticals can be derived from any living organisms—ranging from microbes, plants, to animals.

Shashikiran Hingade Assistant Professor, Dept. Of Food chemistry and Nutrients  Aditya  college of Food Technology, Nalwandi Naka Beed- 431122 Mail id :- dev.hingadde09@gmail.com
Sharda Patekar Assistant Professor, Dept.Of Food Process Technology
Sau. KSK 'Kaku' college of Food Technology, Nagar road Beed- 431122
Mail id :-shardapatekar50@gmail.com

 
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