Author(s): Dhan Prakash, Charu Gupta, Girish Sharma
Phytochemicals of nutraceuticals importance are bioactive constituents that sustain or promote health and occur at the intersection of food and pharmaceutical industries. Such substances may range from isolated nutrients, dietary supplements and specific diets to genetically engineered designer foods, herbal products, processed foods and beverages. Phytochemicals are broadly described as phytoestrogens, terpenoids, carotenoids, limonoids, phytosterols, glucosinolates, polyphenols, flavonoids, isoflavonoids and anthocyanidins. They have tremendous impact on the health care system and may provide medical health benefits including the prevention and/ or treatment of diseases and physiological disorders. Majority of foods, such as whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables and herbs contain phytochemicals of nutraceutical importance. These phytochemicals, either alone and/or in combination, have tremendous therapeutic potential in curing various ailments. The respective health benefits are based on science and ethics, for health claims, functional foods and presence of certain phytochemicals. They play specific pharmacological effects in human health as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, antioxidants, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, chemopreventive, hepato-protective, hypolipidemic, neuroprotective, hypotensive, antiaging, diabetes, osteoporosis, DNA damage, cancer and heart diseases, induce apoptosis, diuretic, CNS stimulant, analgesic, protects from UVB-induced carcinogenesis, immuno-modulator and carminative.