Nutraceutical foods

Nutraceutical foods

What does "nutraceutical" mean

Nutraceutico is a term that is only coined at the end of the Eighties. We are therefore talking about a recent area that owes its conception to Dr. Stephen De Felice, In 1989.

It could not be otherwise, as one definition of nutraceutical cannot ignore a certain one tech. In fact, what is the modern market of nutraceuticals experienced its development in Japan during the Eighties, contrasting, albeit only in form, the trade of traditional natural herbs.


La nutraceutical studies the extracts of plants, animals, minerals and microorganisms sharing a beneficial function on human health. We mean with nutraceutico a product isolated from the food it is extracted from, often packaged as a pill or medicine. But there are gods nutraceutical foods?


Functional and nutraceutical foods

Before talking about nutraceutical foods, let's define the so-called "functional foods". Let's say first of all that the terminology in this field is wasted.

The Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences defines functional foods (functional foods) “Those foods that, in addition to their basic nutritional values, contain regulatory substances on some vital functions able to bring physiological benefits to those who consume them ".

A functional food must have specific characteristics requirements. Basically, it must be available, conventional, for daily use, included in a habitual diet. In addition to this, it must obviously have a level of natural “beneficial” component which is usually absent or minimal in other foods. Finally, this component must have a scientifically verifiable positive effect.

Among the foods with functional characteristics, from which nutraceuticals are then obtained, there are first of all the famous probiotics, live bacteria present in yogurt or in similar products, capable of balancing the intestinal microflora.

But we also have the prebiotics, including the fructo-oligosaccharides, responsible for influencing the activity of bacterial species of the intestinal flora already present in our body.

Among the foods related to nutraceuticals, in addition to yogurt, there is above all the fruit and vegetables, rich in antioxidants.

La lutein, useful for sight, we find it in spinach, cabbage, broccoli and eggs.

La curcumin in curry and the yellow pigment of saffron. In legumes we have isoflavones.

Il brewer's yeast it contains amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins.

In the bark of the maritime pine we find the pycnogenol, useful for the prevention of cardiovascular pathologies and dermal diseases.

In grape skin and wine, among the famous polyphenols, the resveratrol.

In tea, theanine and theine. Like polyphenols, carotenoids, folic acid, vitamins, mineral salts, melatonin, carnitine and Omega3.

In conclusion, a nutraceutical food is a food substance with proven beneficial characteristics and protective of both physical and psychological health of the individual.

It is substances or foods containing the aforementioned concentrated substances, having preventive, rebalancing, therapeutic and protective characteristics at the psycho-physiological level


Read also
> Probiotic foods among functional foods: what they are
> The Pycnogenol for tanning
> Nutritional values ​​and nutraceutical foods


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