Define the term functional foods, Biology

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Define the term Functional Foods?

The term 'functional food' was born in Japan. Functional foods are actually products formulated with naturally occurring chemicals or a combination of these. They are found in many fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs and spices to provide a health benefit, lower the risk of certain diseases or affect a particular body process. To be precise, these are the food substances, beyond basic nutrients that are designed to lower the risk or delay the onset of certain diseases. The Japanese were the first to observe that food could have a role beyond nutrient supply. Thus, a functional food must be a food and not a drug. Beneficial effects should be obtained by consuming normal amounts that is within the parameters of a 'normal' diet. In Japan, several functional foods are available in the market. It was the first country to legislate these products. Europe and the American countries incorporated later the concept of an added value of food. There is no consensus between Europe and the USA regarding a concrete definition.

Therefore, we have several different terms such as: nutraceutical, designer food, vita foods, pharma food medicinal foods, prescriptive foods, therapeutic foods, super foods, foodiceuticals and medifoods. Nutraceutical is the preferred term in USA. European experts decided to adopt the term 'functional food' with a consensus definition.


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