Certain foods, in addition to the contribution of basic nutrients, contribute to the physical and mental well-being and to reduce the risk of contracting diseases. The traditional foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains and soy milk, contain potentially beneficial components for health, for their positive effects on health and the beneficial physiological effects.
The so-called functional foods, consumed as part of a diet and a balanced lifestyle, in fact, offer great potential in improving health and in contributing to the prevention of certain diseases. Not only that, they protect the body against stress-induced metabolic lifestyle drivers and exposure to stressful environmental factors.
According to the definition given by the International Life Science Institute in 2002, functional foods are traditional foods for healthy subjects, and not tablets, capsules or dietary supplements. The term was coined in Japan in the years ‘ 80, when health authorities recognized the need of having to improve the quality and the increase of life expectancy of an increasing number of seniors through diet. The concept was introduced to foods specifically designed to promote health and reduce the risk of disease.
Some substances, albeit devoid of nutritional value alone will contribute to improve the General wellbeing of the body. This category includes the “third generation” as inulin, Fructooligosaccharides, probiotic, flavonoids and other antioxidant agents, whose beneficial properties were discovered in relatively recent times.
In Europe, there has been a significant increase in consumer interest in the relationship between diet and health, just think of the boom in the consumption of probiotics, Prebiotics and Synbiotics, yogurt drink enriched with plant sterols (substances that would help control cholesterol) bear witness to the growing interest in functional foods.
The Mission of “The functional foods and metabolic Stress Prevention “, is to identify the ingredients and functional foods can positively modulate endogenous defence systems and use them as a natural source of bioactive molecules to prevent metabolic stress.