Bioactive Compounds: The Key to Functional Foods

Danik Martirosyan, Emma Miller

Abstract


Background: Bioactive compounds are the constituents of foods, especially functional foods, that provide beneficial health properties. For example, these benefits include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and various additional preventative properties, which illustrates how bioactive compounds are the real-life example of Hippocrates’ notion “let thy food be thy medicine” [1]. Originally, many definitions of functional foods neglected to acknowledge the importance of bioactive compounds [2]. Bioactive compounds are the constituents that enhance functional foods and therefore are necessary to incorporate under the umbrella of functional foods. Functional foods are able to provide health benefits though bioactive compounds, as these compounds target mechanisms that manage, prevent, and/or treat disease [2]. The Functional Food Center asserts that bioactive compounds are quintessential of functional foods and essential for optimal health, thereby leading to the inclusion of bioactive compounds in the most recent definition of functional foods [1].

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