Functional Foods

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Functional foods prevent many chronic diseases like Cardio- Vascular Diseases (CVD), Cancer, Obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese & yoghurt are among the best sources of several important vitamins like vitamin D & riboflavin and minerals specially calcium & phosphorus. Calcium, for example, prevents possible colon cancer & osteoporosis. The fermented dairy products such as yoghurt, kefir and sour milk display anticarcinogenic, hypocholesterolemic, antagonistic action against intestinal pathogens. Functional Food constituents provide treatment of diseases, as well as nutritional values. Functional foods include food additives, vitamins, mineral supplements, herbs, phytochemicals and Probiotics. Tomato, for example, contains Lycopene which is Anti-prostate cancer and Anti-oxidant. Similarly, onion contains Quercetin which reduces heart diseases; Yoghurt contains Lactobacillus sp. which is Probiotics; Spinach contains Flavonoids which is Active against age related macular degeneration, etc. It is the duty of processor to see that such constituents are not reduced during processing instead they are enhanced. The sale of such products has expanded greatly in the recent past years to meet rising public demand for such products as a consequence of increasing awareness of their beneficial effects on human health. The Government in its National Policies should include schemes to increase awareness, availability as well as incentives for processors. KEY WORDS: Functional Food, chronic diseases, anticarcinogenic, phytochemicals, probiotics INTRODUCTION

The term FUNCTIONAL FOOD is applied to food and food constituents that provide specific health or medical benefits, including the prevention and treatment of diseases, as well as nutritional values. It can be of both plant as well as animal origin. Hippocrates proclaimed nearly 2500 years ago, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Functional foods include food additives, vitamins, mineral supplements, herbs, phytochemicals and Probiotics. Various definitions of functional food given by various agencies are as follows: * ‘’Foods that by virtue of physiologically active components provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition’’ (International Life Sciences Institute).

* ‘’Any food or food ingredients that may provide a health benefit beyond the traditional nutrients it contains’’ (Institute of Medicine’s Food & Nutrition Board). * ‘’ A food, either natural or formulated, which will enhance physiological performance or prevent or treat diseases & disorders’’ (Wildman 2000).

Examples of Functional Foods

FUNCTIONAL FOODS| BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS| HEALTH BENEFITS| OTHER SOURCES| Berries| Anthocyanins, Anthocyanidins, Catechins| Neutralize free radicals;May reduce risk of cancer, heart diseases & age related diseases| Blackberry, brightly colored vegetables, red cabbage, raspberry, tea, grapes| Citrus fruits| Flavanones, Hesperidin, Silybin, Limonoids, Xanthohumol| Neutralize free radicals;May reduce risk of cancer| Citrus, Hops, Milk thistle| Fish oil | Omega-3-fatty acids, DHA,EPA,ALA,CLA| Play a role into reducing risk of CVD;Improve mental functions;Improve visual functions, anti-inflammation effect;DHA major component of brain & eye tissues;Anti-inflammatory properties;Prevent blood-clotting & lowers LDL & total cholesterol;Improve body immune system;Decreases risk of certain cancers | Cold-water fish, Breast milk(contains DHA), Canola oil, Soya bean oil, Flax seed & some nuts, Meats, Cheese| Onion (yellow & red)| Quercetin| May reduce heart diseases| Tea, Apples, Cherries & Red Wine| Tomato | Lycopene | Anti-prostate cancer;Anti-oxidant| | Wine , Grapes| Phenolic, Resveratral, Ellagicacids|...
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