It is a term coined in the late 1980s and derives from the fusion of two nouns: “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical”. So, this term we can refer not only to food but also to food supplements and herbal products that are very useful to supplement the common diet. This wide range of products that promote longevity is united by having beneficial nutritional properties. Depending on the definitions that each health organization attributes to them.

They can be defined as products that promote longevity by delaying aging thanks to their content of antioxidants that counteract free radicals. Then this antioxidant action is a precious ally of health because it guarantees a good state of health for many organs and systems. As far as supplements asay first of all that they are defined as “food products. In particular thet are intended to supplement the common diet and are a concentrated source of nutrients. Such as vitamins and minerals or others having a nutritional or physiological effect. 

NUTRACEUTICAL PRODUCTS                                              

 Particularly represented in this” family “of nutraceutical products are vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, fibers, extracts of vegetable origin. They are products that promote longrvity. Then their purpose is to allow the consumer to introduce foods rich in useful molecules. The form with which these substances are taken is varied. In fact there are the products of pharmaceutical companies that can be powders to dissolve in water, pills, capsules etc. Other times it is an addition of re substances to a product food. Such as, for example, vitamin D added to milk or various mineral salts or vitamins added to fruit juices.

Industrial production drugs are widespread but food products with “nutraceutical properties” are increasingly popular. So some of which are now in fashion such as goji berries, raw green coffee, fermented red rice, etc. Most states make them fall into the category of food supplements or as a real medicine depending on the amount of active ingredient contained. Then nutraceuticals in pills have the problem that there is no precise regulation on how these products should be manufactured. So not all industrial nutraceuticals are reliable and truly effective. If , we you want to eat really safe and effective products, you should turn to well-selected natural products. Then preferring mainly products of a vegetable nature, fresh, BIO and no GMO.                               



Considering food as a medicine was typical since the great civilizations of the past. In fact Hippocrates who is considered the father of western medicine said: “Make food be your medicine”. This doctor – philosopher of ancient Greece also claimed that “If we were able to provide everyone with the right amount of nutrition and exercise, neither more nor less would we have found the way to health”. Even Egyptians, Babylonians and Sumerians they claimed similar things, that is, they understood the effectiveness of proper nutrition in curing and preventing many diseases. Ayurveda is traditional Indian medicine which is about 5000 years old and mentions the effectiveness of food as a medicine in its oldest writings. Nutraceuticals are derived from plants or microbial cell cultures.


To give some examples I can mention the extra virgin olive oil which contains vitamin E and polyphenols with antioxidant action. Or citrus fruits which are rich in vitamin C which improves the metabolism, the production collagen, the activity of the nervous and immune systems. Furthermore reduces tiredness and fatigue. Then is also a fundamental cofactor in the process of absorption of iron, oats and barley. So reduce cholesterol and blood sugar (blood glucose level), grapes, oats, ginger. Tomatoes and almonds promote the production of melatonin by reconciling sleep. Moreover blue fish contains precious fats that reduce cholesterol and improve brain functions, vision and heart activity. Furthermore foods rich in plant sterols, olives and broccoli reduce cholesterol.

Do not forget the eggs and soy that accelerate fat metabolism and improve liver activity. We also do not neglect a regular consumption of nuts which are rich in vitamin E. In fact it is a very valuable antioxidant and which improves the elasticity of the blood vessels.         


 Nutraceutical foods must become part of the category of “functional foods. That is, they must be easily available in order to be constantly present on our tables and to supplement the common diet. Furthermore, they must contain “beneficial” components in quantities and qualities superior to those of other foods. Among the best known examples I can cite the probiotics contained in yogurt which are useful in balancing the intestinal flora. I do not forget prebiotics such as fructoligosaccharides capable of influencing the activity of numerous components of the intestinal flora.


Also very important is the lutein found in spinach, broccoli, cabbage and eggs which is useful for the eyesight. The curcumin present in curry and saffron has a very high antioxidant effect useful for fighting free radicals. Brewer’s yeast is rich in important nutrients and is useful for maintaining a good balance of intestinal flora. Even one or two glasses of red wine are advisable within a correct diet thanks to their resveratrol content. In fact it belongs to the category of polyphenols and derives from the grape skin. However they are products that promote longevity.  

                                                                                                                              The properties of a “nutraceutical” food are those that meet the definition given by the famous “British Journal of nutrition”. Then it is “A food can be considered functional if its beneficial influence on one or morefictions of the body is sufficiently demonstrated. In addition to adequate nutritional effects, so as to be noted as well-being and health or to reduce the risk of disease.

The beneficial effects could consist in maintaining that in promoting a state of well-being or health. Also in reducing risk of a pathological process or disease. ” According to the nutraceutical philosophy it is appropriate to know the combinations that can facilitate a good assimilation in the nutrients present in foods. So is very usefull to supplement the common diet.       


   The follower of nutraceuticals should also be good at “studying himself” and understanding his needs. Of course in order to be able to “choose foods according to his individual needs”. In order to choose the best foods according to the ailments you want remedy. The nutrients of which the nutraceutical diet is rich have the function of real drugs that treat many diseases. Especially by acting at a preventive level, improving the functionality of the organism. By acting on the good proportion of nutrients that must also be assimilated in adequate quantities. In this way the nutraceutical diet helps to lose weight but also lengthens. Furthermore gives us a harmonious development of organs and tissues with, consequently, a more harmonious, toned and vital body. 

                                                                                                                                 Nutraceuticals are not only concerned with foods considered individually but also with their combination. Then in order to make nutrition a kind of symphony in which everything is something harmonious. The definition of nutraceutical food is linked to the minimum amount of nutrients (active ingredient) contained in order to obtain a beneficial effect (nutraceutical effect). This quantity is established by the European Community regulations number 432 of 2012.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    doc. Massimiliano MangafĂ      

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