Balanced diet containing all necessary ingredients for proper growth and functioning of various systems in the human body is very essential for overall wellbeing of all the human beings. The emphasis needs to be provided on consumption of food that would provide various essential vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, good cholesterol, fats, minerals and other essential nutrients in the exact proportion or dosage that is actually required to provide energy for the daily bodily movements and to remain safe from any potential health disorders developing natural immunity within the body.
Bioactive compound effects living organism, cells or tissues. These compounds are distinguished from essential nutrients in the field of nutrition. Bioactive compounds influence the overall health; however they are different from nutrients that are important from sustainability of a body. Human body can function without these compounds.
Bioactive compounds are found naturally in plants and even in some animal products and these can also be derived synthetically. Some important bioactive compounds are:
- Carotenoids and polyphenols found in fruits and vegetables.
- Phytosterols found in oils.
- Fatty acids found in milk and fish etc.
Functional food is the food with additives for potential health benefits for growth or even for recovery from some health problems. These would have potential positive effects on health beyond normal food containing basic nutrition. Functional food is meant for promoting optimal health and protection from certain diseases.
Oatmeal can be a good example of functional food as it helps in controlling cholesterol levels causing high blood pressure and even heart disease due to blockage in veins by excessive accumulation of cholesterol. Some functional foods are synthetically modified for specific health benefits. Usually orange juice would be a good source of vitamin A and C that promotes better eyesight and health of gums. Natural orange juice can be fortified with calcium for the additional health benefit of giving strength to bones. Thus the orange juice with added calcium can be a functional food providing additional health benefit.
Consumers need to be wise while choosing functional foods. Functional foods may promote wellness however they cannot be an alternative for poor eating habits. Functional foods would be just an addition to daily diet for obtaining some more health benefits.
Food and Drugs Administration always regulates the claims made by the manufacturers of functional foods and bioactive compounds about their exact nutrient content and their claimed effects on particular disease, overall health and functioning of human body.