The term” nutraceutical”, coined in 1989 by Dr. Stephen De Felice combining “nutrition” and “pharmaceutical“, is the discipline that studies the food components or active ingredients present in food that have a positive impact on health and well being, including the prevention and treatment of disease.
The nutraceutical, therefore, investigates all components or ingredients of food such as fruit, vegetables, legumes, cereals and fish, which have positive effects on health and the prevention and treatment of disease.
Nutraceutical means recognize, through a renewed relationship between biology, chemistry and medicine, the close relationship that exists between our eating habits and our health.
Most nutraceuticals have vegetable origin, eg. viscous fiber, β-glucan, soy protein, polyphenols (such as anthocyanins, flavonols, stilbenes, coumarins, isoflavones, etc..). Much less numerous are the nutraceuticals of animal origin, although some of them, known as omega-3 fatty acids, are among the most common nutraceuticals. Even the “probiotics” are to be considered nutraceuticals.
Biological assets are numerous and well documented in the literature.
Nutraceuticals and functional food are now a concrete reality and medical science with high growth potential, with benefits in terms of health and well-being: Many epidemiological studies have indeed shown that the intake of these substances via the diet has a significant impact on health, because there is a close relationship between dietary habits and the risk of developing diseases.