Nutraceuticals as natural healers: Emerging evidences
AbstractVarious components of foods have clearly established strong links with human health and it is learnt that their deficiencies provoke diseases. The epidemiological evidences and modern research in
nutrition during the last few decades have elaborated the molecular level of such interactions of specific food constituents with that of the toxicants generated in the living cells to control and prevent
many of the diseases. Edible products possessing such fantastic healing capacity due to the presence of more than 700 non nutrients functional food factor (FFFs) are effective and epochal for health
promotion, disease prevention and cure. The natural products releasing such superb active components are known as nutraceutical foods. The bioactive constituents of many foods have been identified during the goal oriented scientific studies and are used frequently in community and clinical nutrition. The protective effects of tocotrienols in flax seed oil, the curcuminoids in turmeric, carotenoids in carrots, flavonoids in fruits/vegetables, omega-3 fatty acids in sea foods, allyl-sulfides in
garlic and -glucans in mush-rooms/cereals are few common examples to be cited here. Excess saturated fat is attributed to pose adverse effects on many metabolic processes. However, certain
components of fats are now postulated for their clinical manifestations, such as the sphingolipids as inhibitors of carcinogenesis, conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) as immunomodulator, and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) for control of lipid profile. The nuts, although rich in fat are influential in cholesterol lowering in view of their suitable polyunsaturated fatty acid: saturated fatty acid ratio and excess of the presence of MUFAs. Recent emphasis on fat-replacements to introduce low caloric foods, advances in nutritional immunology, stimulating actions of phytochemicals on neuronal diseases have indicated wide spectrum of applications of functional foods both in daily life and in the
industry. Some examples of nutraceutical foods, their chemical diversity and mode of actions are part of presentation which is based on consulting several review articles published since 2005.