Nutraceutical: a first definition
A definition of nutraceutical immediately comes to mind if we think about the fusion of the two terms that make up the discipline: nutrition e pharmaceutica. "NutraceuticoIs therefore a food and not simply a supplement or a vitamin. In addition, it is a food with a preventive therapeutic value.
A definition of a nutraceutical should also make a distinction between that is that it is a nutraceutical and that which is a functional food. There is a health food and a food extract with certain therapeutic properties. Despite this, the two categories often overlap.
Nutraceuticals: food as medicine
Hippocrates, father of medicine used to say: “Let food be your medicine and your medicine be food”.
Indeed, the use of food as medicine dates back to the dawn of time. The most ancient of the peoples of India, China and Egypt have handed down to us the proofs of this intuition. One of the most popular oriental medicines in the West, Ayurvedic medicine, focuses on the benefits of food for therapeutic purposes.
Nutraceutico is a term that is only coined at the end of the Eighties. We are therefore talking about a young sector, which owes its conception to Dr. Stephen De Felice, in 1989. And this cannot be otherwise, as a definition of nutraceutical cannot be separated from a certain one tech. In fact, what is the modern market for nutraceuticals experienced its development in Japan during the XNUMXs, contrasting, albeit only in form, with traditional natural herbs.
Let us now return to the definition of nutraceuticals: we can define this as a young science that studies the extracts of plants, animals, minerals and microorganisms sharing a beneficial function on human health. In addition, we add that, today, when we speak of a "nutraceutical product", we mean a product isolated from the food from which it is extracted, often packaged as a pill or a medicine.
We suggest some examples of nutraceutical products and foods: they are lupine nutraceutical foods, bitter chocolate soy, berberine, papaya, broccoli, red grapes, red wine, berries, goat's milk, flax seeds, sage seeds, garlic ...