The Functional Food includes a series of foods characterized by healthy effects due to the presence of components (generally non-nutritious), naturally present, or sometimes added, which interact more or less selectively, with physiological functions of the organism (biomodulation), giving positive effects on health maintenance and prevention.
Main categories of functional foods are :
• Antimutagens, anticarcinogenic, detoxifiers
• Antimicrobial and antiviral
• Stimulators of GI function
• Immunomodulators and anti-inflammatories
There are also certain foods to which specific nutraceutical substances are added, making them also functional for the recovery and / or maintenance of both internal and external wellness. In this sense, in recent years, an ever greater and more varied quantity of food enriched with beneficial molecules has been placed on the market.
Examples are milk and yogurt added with Coenzyme Q10, Sterols, Omega 3 and / or Vitamins, but also drinks, fruit juices, biscuits, breakfast cereals, etc. they have become a vehicle of the aforementioned nutraceutical principles. Further examples are the Selenium potatoes, the energy bars with Amino acids and Vitamins K or of the B group, the corn flakes combined with Folic Acid and mineral salts. A varied and balanced diet therefore allows us to introduce the main Nutraceuticals that are very important, and sometimes fundamental, for the good functioning and general wellbeing of the person.
Among other things, the various nutrients and the different nutraceutical principles are combined and integrated into the various foods available in a unique and therefore chemically unrepeatable manner. In this way, supplements can be a valuable aid in certain moments of stress and psycho-physical fatigue, in contingency to excessive diets or nutritional regimes, as well as to facilitate the antioxidant processes of the body, but not with the same modalities of the molecules nutritive and nutraceuticals that have multi-directional relationships of activation, influence and increase in efficacy in foods.
They are just a couple example of Functional Food: Jasmine green tea: excellent source of EC, ECG, EGC, EGCG Inhibits the processes of tumorigenesis at every stage, Soy and soy based foods : excellent source of estrogen, in particular isoflavones, (cumestani, lignans).
They play a positive role in the prevention of symptoms of menopause, osteoporosis, cancer, heart diseases.