Bioactive Food Components Nutraceuticals and Toxicants
This chapter provides a brief overview on the major nutraceuticals and toxicants found in foods. It also provides a brief overview on the novel extraction techniques suitable for botanical materials. Bioactive food components encompass a wide range of dietary substances that exhibit various biological effects on humans, and they are classified as nutraceuticals and toxicants. Nutraceuticals are naturally derived food components that have beneficial effects on humans such as health-promoting and disease-preventing activities that are beyond basic nutritional needs. Besides flavonoids, there exist many other polyphenolic compounds in food, particularly fruits, vegetables, and spices. Isothiocyanates are thermally labile during food processing, and the major decomposition products are derivatives of thiourea. Various nutraceuticals have been shown to provide a wide range of health-promoting benefits. Some important general mechanisms of these nutraceuticals include anti-inflammation; antioxidation; induction of detoxification enzymes, apoptosis, and cell cycle arrest; improved immune function; and hormone modulation.