Are foods also medicine? Products intended to cure diseases are medicinal products and not foods. But on the other hand, a healthy diet consisting of foods with functional properties can help promote well-being and even reduce the risk of developing certain diseases. WHO stresses the importance of a healthy diet in preventing non-communicable diseases. However, a diet can only be healthy if the combination of individual foods is good. Moreover, a healthy diet is not just about limiting certain components of concern such as saturated or trans fatty acids or simply delivering nutrient intake, it is also about including those elements that may provide an extra benefit.
This concise monograph provides an outline about the science and role of functional foods. First of all it describes what is meant by the term functional food, then looks at how functional foods are assessed and how they can play a role in a healthy diet. Additionally it summarises the technological aspects as well as the communication to consumers. Finally the monograph looks at the future perspective of foods beyond basic nutrition and the role of “omics” in exploring the benefits.
The reader will learn that physiological functionality of foods may have a bright future and can make a difference to help people eat better and healthier.
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