Phytochemicals and functional foods. Current situation and prospect for developing countries
Palavras-chave:Functional foods. Phytochemicals. Fruits and vegetables. Health promotion. Healthy eating. Degenerative diseases.
ResumoThis review updates and attempts to present the complex panorama of bioactive phytochemicals and functional foods. For such purpose and given the breadth of the field, it was necessary to survey a large volume of scientific literature. The different types of studies used to provide evidence for efficacy are described. The different groups of health-promoting substances (carotenoids, phenolic compounds, phytosterols and phytostanols, tocotrienols, organosulfur compounds, nondigestible carbohydrates) are presented with a discussion of the dietary sources and the chemical and biological properties that explain their modes of action. Functional foods of plant origin (broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, oat, flaxseed, tomato, soybean, citrus, berries, tea, grapes and wine, garlic) are discussed in terms of their health effects, the phytochemicals responsible and the body of evidence supporting such effects. The review emphasizes the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables for the general state of health of the population and points out some technical and scientific opportunities that can be explored in developing countries.
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