Bioactive and nutritional components
Food and nutrition can be both risk and protective factors in the health of human beings.
Bioactive compounds are molecules found in small quantities such as secondary metabolites in plants, animals and other organisms, as it is the case of bacteria, algae, yeasts and fungi. They are capable of modulating diverse metabolic processes and causing positive effects on human health. In the case of food, bioactive compounds are non-nutritional constituents mainly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and they provide health benefits beyond the intrinsic value of the food product as such. Bioactive compounds are being intensively studied with the aim of assessing their impact on health, as they produce beneficial physiological, behavioral and immunological effects, for instance, offsetting the pro-inflammatory state and the oxidative stress induced by the metabolism and unhealthy lifestyles. To date, numerous bioactive compounds have been discovered, varying broadly in terms of their structure, function, bioavailability and biological properties.
The results of multiple epidemiological studies indicate that diets with a high consumption of food that is rich in bioactive compounds, including vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals such as carotenoids, terpenes, terpenoids, alkaloids and phenols, including flavonoids and phenolic acids, can decrease the risk of a significant number of chronic diseases linked to the functional deterioration associated with aging, such as cancer, obesity, cardiometabolic diseases, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes, among other.