A well-balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables and the proper combination of macronutrients is essential for maintaining optimal health. Even though we do not always acquire enough of these crucial minerals, Inadequate nutritional intake can result in stress, which can lead to additional health problems.
Nutritional research is continually evolving, thanks to discoveries and cutting-edge technologies. Nutraceuticals are an example of a breakthrough that bridges the gap across nutrition and medicine.
What Are Nutraceuticals and How Do They Work?
Natural health products developed from food sources that provide nutritional and therapeutic benefits are known as nutraceuticals. There are several other names for nutraceuticals, including the following:
- Food that has a functional purpose
- Food for medical purposes
- Designer Food
- Nutritional Food
In addition to having physiological benefits, they also aid in treating and preventing diseases due to the concentration of bioactive components in them that are sourced from natural sources.
In its most basic definition, A nutraceutical is a chemical that has a physiological benefit or that protects against chronic disease. Nutraceuticals are defined differently in different countries, depending on how each nation is classified and regulated. At the time, there was no universally agreed definition of what constitutes a nutraceutical product.
Nutraceuticals can promote health, slow the aging process, prevent chronic diseases, lengthen life expectancy, and support the structure and function of the body, among other things.
Also, they are employed in the prevention and management of mental health concerns and illnesses, among other things.
History of Nutraceuticals
Stephen DeFelice, the founder and chairman of the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine in Cranford, New Jersey, created the phrase “nutraceutical” in 1989. The term “nutraceutical” means “food or portions of a food that can provide medical benefits, such as the treatment or prevention of disease.”
The concept of using food for both nutritional and medical purposes has been engrained in many ancient societies for thousands of years. It is estimated that the idea of nutraceuticals dates back over 3,000 years! When Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, identified the link between food and health, it began to gain traction in the medical community.
The people of India and China have traditionally consumed a variety of natural foods regarded as therapeutic. Countries such as Germany, France, and England were among the first to recognize that a person’s food is more essential than physical activity and inherited characteristics in the general pursuit of good health.
Today, nutraceuticals have progressed from their traditional roots to scientific fields. The efficacy and safety of food projects are supported by scientific evidence, new research, and emerging technology, among other things.
How Nutraceuticals Help
A nutritious diet adds to your overall health by supplying your body with the nutrition it requires to repair, grow, and perform properly. When your diet does not provide enough of these vital vitamins and nutrients, nutraceuticals can be used as a supplement to help you meet your nutritional needs.
All chemical events that occur in the body during the process of converting food into energy, which is subsequently utilized to synthesize substances required by all of the body’s cells, are referred to as the metabolism. The metabolism process ensures that all cells and organs remain in a live condition.
The metabolism pathways are dependent on the nutrients that are broken down during the process. Our body, including all of its organs and systems, will function optimally if all nutrients are present in sufficient quantities. This implies that your body can heal or repair itself effectively and fast.
However, if you don’t get enough nutrients, your body may take longer to mend itself, and you may even experience dangerous consequences as a result. When this occurs, nutraceuticals can supplement the nutrients that your body needs for optimal metabolic reaction and appropriate functioning of your organs.
Types of Neutraceuticals
Nutraceuticals are categorized in several ways, including their function, food source, and bioactive constituents.
Dietary supplements are consumables that include concentrated bioactive ingredients from a food source that have been processed into a dosage form that is acceptable for human consumption. These supplements may contain one or more of the following ingredients: amino acids, vitamins, herbs or other phytochemicals, minerals, essential metabolites, and certain enzymes.
Dietary supplements are available in various forms, including pills, capsules, powders, liquids, gummies, energy bars, and any other appropriate condition.
Nutraceuticals, which fall under the category of dietary supplements, enrich the food and enhance health and disease prevention by promoting antioxidant activity.
Functional food is any food ingredient with a health benefit and provides essential nourishment, such as antioxidants.
Among the foods included in this category are whole foods and fortified, enriched, or enhanced foods, all of which have the potential to benefit health when taken daily as part of a well-balanced diet. Functional food has the appearance of food and is available in various forms, including pasta, cereal, and more.
Benefits of Nutraceuticals
Nutraceuticals have risen in popularity in recent years, particularly in the United States. Various disorders are being treated as an alternative or additional treatment in conjunction with medications to help avoid and treat different conditions.
These foods have piqued the curiosity of many people due to their possible nutritive benefits, safety, affordability, and a wide range of therapeutic effects. They are frequently regarded as an interesting alternative treatment to conventional therapies.
Nutraceuticals can play a significant part in the body’s many biological processes, which can aid in the prevention of various diseases and the improvement of overall health and well–being.