Author(s): Daniel Granato, Gabriel F Branco, Filomena Nazzaro, Adriano G Cruz, Jos AF Faria
ABSTRACT: Recently, the focus of scientific investigations has moved from the primary role of food as the source of energy and body-forming substances to the more subtle action of biologically active food components on human health. There has been an explosion of consumer interest in the active role of food in the well-being and life prolongation, as well as in the prevention of initiation, promotion, and development of nontransmissible chronic diseases. As a result, a new term—functional food—was proposed. Among these foods, probiotics may exert positive effects on the composition of gut microbiota and overall health, and the market is increasing annually. An increased demand for nondairy probiotic products comes from vegetarianism, milk cholesterol content, and lactose intolerance. Therefore, the development of these products is a key research priority for food design and a challenge for both industry and science sectors. This article presents an overview of functional food development, emphasizing nondairy foods that contain probiotic bacteria strains.