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Nutraceutacles: the new-age food therapy

Concentrated nutrients extracted from regular foods could manage lifestyle diseases

brunch Updated: Oct 07, 2017 21:36 IST
Shikha Sharma
Shikha Sharma
Hindustan Times
The term ‘nutraceutical’ is used to describe any food, or part of a food supplement, that offers a medical or health benefit beyond simple nutrition(Getty Images)

Nutraceuticals are the new buzzword in nutrition today thanks to a heightened interest in the management of lifestyle diseases by nutrition, the aspiration to be fit and youthful even in old age, and lack of time for relaxed eating.

What are nutraceuticals?

The term ‘nutraceutical’ is used to describe any food, or part of a food supplement, that offers a medical or health benefit beyond simple nutrition. They range from proteins, vitamins, minerals and pure compounds used in capsules and tablets, to foods that contain fortified bioactive ingredients.

Compaison of foods and nutraceuticals
  • Foods
  • Simple foods provide calories and energy
  • Regular food helps maintain daily bodily functions
  • Nutrient absorption from simple food is low
  • Simple foods cannot treat disease and illness, but may prevent it
  • Nutraceuticals
  • Nutraceuticals provide a health benefit beyond simple nutrition.
  • Nutraceuticals have a medical, therapeutic or health benefit, including the prevention and treatment of disease.
  • Nutrient absorption is much higher.
  • Nutraceuticals carry specific disease treatment or prevention claims previously allowed only for drugs.

Some foods and their nutraceuticals

Soy: Can be eaten in the form of tofu, soybeans, soy milk, etc., but is often avoided because of its taste.

Nutraceutical: Soy isoflavones are positioned for menopausal health and bone health.

Alfalfa seeds/sprouts: Alfalfa sprouts contain concentrated amount of Vitamins K and C, and calcium.

Nutraceutical: Its leaf concentrates (LLC) have a high protein and lipid content, and high vitamin content, especially for beta-carotene.

Apple: Contains vitamins, minerals and roughage.

Nutraceutical: Apple cider vinegar, made by fermenting apple liquor with acetic acid-forming bacteria

(acetobacter), helps acid reflux, lowers blood pressure, improve diabetes and supports weight loss.

From HT Brunch, October 8, 2017

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First Published: Oct 07, 2017 21:36 IST