Nutraceuticals: Food as Medicine

The term nutraceuticals was coined in the late 1980s by Stephen DeFelice. It is a combination of two words “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”. Nutraceuticals are food or food product that have health benefits in addition to nutritional functions.

They refer to active ingredients that are isolated from herbal products, dietary supplements, specific diets and processed foods such as cereals, soups, and beverages that other than nutrition are also used as medicine.

The idea behind nutraceuticals is to focus on prevention. Their role in human nutrition and health represent one of the most important areas of investigation, with wide-ranging implications.

Nutraceuticals continue to attract considerable interest due to their potential nutritional and therapeutic effects.

A wide range of nutraceuticals has been shown to play crucial roles in immune status and susceptibility to certain disease states. Nutraceuticals also exhibit disease-modifying activities particularly towards oxidative stress including allergies, Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, eye conditions, Parkinson’s diseases, and Obesity.

A wide variety of nutraceutical products are available today. Popular ones include omega-3 fatty acid which significantly improve mental and visual function and reduces the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases. Green tea boosts the immunity and has antioxidant activity.  Aloe vera aids wound healing and are anti-inflammatory in nature.

These products can easily be purchased from over-the-counter pharmacies. They come highly recommended because of their role in a plethora of biological processes.

We should prioritize a combination of food rich in nutraceuticals. We can fortify our food with these active ingredients. Change food habits to natural type of diet.

Diet rich in nutraceuticals along with regular exercise, stress reduction and maintenance of healthy body weight will maximise health and reduce disease risk.

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