Nutraceuticals represent an exciting opportunity in the improvement of health. The word nutraceutical is actually the combination of two words –– “nutrient” and “pharmaceutical.” A nutrient is a nourishing component found in food and a pharmaceutical is a medical drug. Nutraceuticals are naturally-occurring compounds as opposed to manufactured pharmaceuticals
In short, a nutraceutical must be derived from a food source and it must offer additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Nutraceuticals can be used as a preventative or as a treatment.
Nutraceuticals can control symptoms, may reduce the risk of chronic disease, may aid in the treatment of disease and promote general wellbeing.
Many nutraceuticals are widely recognized for joint and spine problems, such as chondroitin sulfate, fish oils, glucosamine sulfate and an herb known as Boswellia.
A nutraceutical product may offer a single nutrient or multiple ingredients together. They may also come in the form of herbal products or be genetically engineered as designer food. Processed foods with added nutrients can also contain nutraceuticals. Basically, nutraceuticals may provide the body with added nutrition. If your diet isn’t supplying your system with all the nutrients and vitamins it needs, then nutraceutical lend a helping hand.
Nutraceticals are particularly important when managing an injury or illness or if you are experiencing extra strain or stress, as these situations can increase the number of nutrients the body requires to function properly from a metabolical point-of-view.
Metabolism is a process that breaks down the nutrients in our food to produce energy. Nutrients like proteins, carbohydrates and fats provide energy, while nutrients like vitamins, electrolytes, minerals and water help our bodies maintain healthy metabolisms. Having enough nutrients allows the organs and systems in our bodies to function properly and may aid in healing wounds or injuries thoroughly and quickly. Not having the right amount of nutrients can mean our bodies will take longer to heal or may even worsen.
Without a doubt, a healthy diet is one of the best ways to ensure we maintain good health. But in reality today’s diet of processed foods and high stress usually means your diet isn’t providing enough nutrients for your body. And that’s when nutraceuticals take centre stage.
There are many types of nutraceuticals:
- Carotenoids, such as lycopene
- Dietary enzymes, such as papain and bromelain
- Hydrolyzed proteins
- Mineral supplements
- Phytonutrients, such as resveratrol
- Prebiotic and probiotic supplements
- Dietary fiber supplements
- Vitamin supplements
Nutraceuticals can also come in the form of herbal products, such as:
- Licorice root