What are Nutraceuticals?
Nutraceutical is a general term to describe any product derived from food sources that have extra health benefits and the fundamental nutritional value found in foods. Nutraceutical combines two words- nutrient and farmaceuticals, composed of the nutritious food component and a medical drug.
A nutraceutical can be considered as non-specific biological therapies that promote general well-being, control symptoms, and prevent malignant diseases in the human body. The thought process behind nutraceuticals is to let the food be your medicine.
Nutraceuticals are considered as a dietary supplement which contains one or more of the nutritional ingredients such as mineral, a vitamin, an amino acid or a medical herb. Human beings use it to supplement their diet with additional nutrients.
Herbal nutraceuticals are useful for treating disorders related to oxidative stress, including allergy, Alzheimer's, cardiovascular, cancer, diabetes, and eye, immune, inflammatory and Parkinson's diseases, and obesity.
How are Nutraceuticals beneficial to the human body?
Nutraceuticals are useful to improve health, delay the aging process, increase life expectancy, prevent chronic diseases, and support the structure and function of the body. They are considered to have antioxidant benefits, and their use can help prevent life-threatening conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, infections, and renal and gastrointestinal disorders.
These days, nutraceuticals are receiving considerable interest due to their nutritional benefits, safety, and therapeutic effects. Some popular nutraceuticals include ginseng, green tea, omega-3, lutein, folic acid, and cod liver oil, as the majority of them possess multiple therapeutic properties.
What are the categories of Nutraceuticals?
The nutraceuticals are characterized based on their natural sources, pharmacological conditions, and chemical constitution of the products. They are often grouped in the following categories: dietary supplements, functional, pharmaceuticals, and medicinal food.
A dietary supplement is foods that derive their nutrients from food sources and are available in concentrated forms of liquid, capsule, powder, or pill form.
Functional foods are those which include whole foods fortified, enriched, or enhanced with dietary components. These foods may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and provide health benefits in addition to the traditional nutrients it already contains.
Medical foods are those which have to be consumed or administered internally under the supervision of a doctor. It is intended to supplement the specific diet of a disease or condition to provide the nutritional requirements.
Farmaceuticals are produced from modified crops or animals. The word farmaceutical is a combination of farms and pharmaceuticals. It is based on the concept that crops are more cost-effective than conventional ingredients.
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