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Bioactive Compounds: Historical Perspectives, Opportunities, and Challenges

Patil, Bhimanagouda S., Jayaprakasha, G.K., Murthy, K.N. Chidambara, Vikram, Amit
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2009 v.57 no.18 pp. 8142-8160
bioactive properties, fruits (food), vegetables, functional foods, disease prevention, bioavailability, diet-related diseases, flavonoids, carotenoids, curcumin, ascorbic acid, limonoids
Mom’s conventional wisdom of eating fruits and vegetables to lead a healthy life has evolved with scientific, fact-finding research during the past four decades due to advances in science of “Foods for Health”. Epidemiological and prospective studies have demonstrated the vital role of fruits, vegetables, and nuts in reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In recent years, several meta-analyses strongly suggested that by adding one serving of fruits and vegetables to daily diet, the risk of cardiovascular diseases will be decreased up to 7%. The multidisciplinary and partnership efforts of agriculture and medical scientists across the globe stimulated interest in establishing certain interdisciplinary centers and institutes focusing on “Foods for Health”. While the consumption of various healthy foods continues, several questions about toxicity, bioavailability, and food−drug interactions of bioactive compounds are yet to be fully understood on the basis of scientific evidence. Recent research on elucidation of the molecular mechanisms to understand the “proof of the concept” will provide the perfect answer when consumers are ready for a “consumer-to-farm” rather than the current “farm-to-consumer” approach. The multidisciplinary research and educational efforts will address the role of healthy foods to improve eye, brain, and heart health while reducing the risk of cancer. Through this connection, this review is an attempt to provide insight and historical perspectives on some of the bioactive compounds from the day of discovery to their current status. The bioactive compounds discussed in this review are flavonoids, carotenoids, curcumin, ascorbic acid, and citrus limonoids.