Posted by Vishva News Reporter on July 10, 2008


From Wikipedia:

Nutraceutical, a portmanteau of nutrition and pharmaceutical, refers to extracts of foods claimed to have a medicinal effect on human health. The nutraceutical is usually contained in a medicinal format such as a capsule, tablet or powder in a prescribed dose.

More rigorously, nutraceutical implies that the extract or food is demonstrated to have a physiological benefit or provide protection against a chronic disease[1].

Functional foods are defined as being consumed as part of a usual diet but are demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions.

Examples of claims made for nutraceuticals are resveratrol from red grape products as an antioxidant, soluble dietary fiber products, such as psyllium seed husk for reducing hypercholesterolemia, broccoli (sulforaphane) as a cancer preventative, and soy or clover (isoflavonoids) to improve arterial health. Such claims are being researched and many citations are available via PubMed to ascertain their foundation of basic research.

However, among the above examples, only the effect provided by psyllium as a fiber product has been sufficiently documented in human clinical trials to receive approval by the United States Food and Drug Administration for health claim statements on product labels.

Other nutraceutical examples are flavonoids antioxidants, alpha-linolenic acid from flax seeds, beta-carotene from marigold petals, anthocyanins from berries, etc.  

With the US Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), several other compounds were added to the list of supplements originally mentioned in FDA notification. Thus, many botanical and herbal extracts such as ginseng, garlic oil, etc. have been developed as nutraceuticals.

Nutraceuticals are often used in nutrient premixes or nutrient systems in the food and pharmaceutical industries.

Very few of these products, however, have sufficient scientific evidence proving health benefits to consumers. Consequently, few have FDA approval for making health claims on product labels.

You can click on the hilited words in the above to read more on the word topics on the Wikipedia web site....

Please continue reading in the right column the vEDik commentary on this news item contributed by Champaklal Dajibhai Mistry of Edmonton...before reading the nutraceutical information on some of the common foods on the next page of this news item....which gives take on:

-  a high fibre intake does a lot of good to the body;

-  vEDik scientific information on oats and barley, Ragi Mudde, (balls made of powdered Ragi, a minor millet  which are all age old foods;


PVAF is publishing today's news item as a discussion topic in YOUR today's life in vEDik time era we live in called kli-yug....when "incomplete knowledge" is, in the first instance, used for opportunity to make money regardless of the truth of  the effect of such "incomplete knowledge" on life of humankind and all creations on planet earth and most likely beyond planet earth....

Today the humanity is bombarded constantly by current "incomplete science" and those who commercialize this current "incomplete science" for the greed of wealth through opportunism that can be had from humankind's utmost desire  for immortality and/or disease-free life with making least effort for healthy life if a nutraceutical "pill" is available from the pharmaceutical which have been giving "pills" which scientists really know how they work ....or the worst is scientists and users finding the degenerative side effects after five, ten, fifteen years in which the "pills' probably never cured the diseases but kept one alive suffering from the diseases......

And the proof of the above lies in the research knowledge contained in books such as:

- "Eat, Drink and Be Health" by Harvard Medical School as Guide to Healthy Eating by Walter C. Willet, M.D.

- "Dr. Ornish's Program for Reversing Heart Disease "  - The only system scientifically proven to Reverse Heart Disease without drugs or surgery and which includes yoga is part of the daily lifestyle to live stress-free....and/or visit the web site PREVENTATIVE MEDICINE  RESEARCH INSTITUTE by clicking on the name hilite

But if you really wish to find the truth of how YOU can live a life in the PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS then you need to understand

- who you are from your origin,
-  place and time from today to from where you are from and ,
- your purpose in life in conformance to lifestyle of your place and time,
- how you are suppose to fulfill your life purpose in the place and time you live, and
- how you relate to all other creations and most important of all how you relate to your Creator with respect to your origin and present lifestyle in the place and time you live in....

And all of the above is contained in many oral trans-generational transmissions and written texts of ancestral knowledge in all the cultures...if one could compartmentalize the current  life knowledge conflicts with "institutions of faith concepts"...and the information from ancestral knowledge and use both life knowledge sources "judiciously and truthfully" after filtering out the Truth of Life Sciences....

One of the most ancestral knowledge texts and oral knowledge extant for current humanity is called vED and is in the oldest known language called sNskRUt....which sadly hardly anybody studies and/or applies in daily living....along with similar sources from all cultures....

(As usual please participation in this topic discussion by posting your knowledge on this website by clicking on the POST A COMMENT button in the header of this news item....)

And you can get a take on the nutraceutical information on foods such as junk food comprising a jumbo hamburger, large French fries and a cola drink....and healthy foods containing grains such as wheat, oats, barley and sorghum are excellent in fiber content, as are greens like spinach or salad leaves, cassava, glutinous rice, tofu, fibrous fruits like bananas and chicory with coffee, tea by clicking on the next line......


Nutraceuticals-functional food

The Hindu-India's National Online Newspaper: July 27, 2000: Prof. D. Balasubramanian

AS WE learn more about the health aspects of the food we eat, we discover new ways of preparing and using plant material for food, and also rediscover the value of some of the old practices. This has led to the coining of new terms.

Nutraceuticals is one such word, which means "functional food". The term appears to be a take-off from the word pharmaceutical, which means pertaining to drugs; thus a nutraceutical is a substance that has a role or function related to nutrition or promotion of health by feeding.

A nutraceutical is the opposite of "junk food". The latter is the stuff that is marketed in a seductive and high-pressure manner by hamburger joints and snack stores.

The classic example of junk food would be a jumbo hamburger, large French fries and a cola drink. It is "junk" because it is high in calories, in fat and in red meat; it is extremely acidic because of the cola, and nutritionally not even a B grade. An occasional trip to the hamburger joint is acceptable, but as a daily routine it adds nothing but flab to the body (a seemingly guilt-ridden concession in the above menu is made when the customer asks for "diet cola" in place of the regular drink!)

With our increasing understanding of the nutritive value of various food items, and the basic biochemical roles that they play, we are getting to appreciate the values of the menu that various societies have adopted around the world.

Nutritionists in the West now believe that the diet that offers the best value to bodily health is the Mediterranean cuisine - namely fish, whole wheat bread, olive oil, tomato and greens in the salad, garlic and onion, red wine and fruits.

East Asian food would seem to score an A grade as well, with its  grains such as wheat, oats, barley and sorghum are excellent in fibre content, as are greens like spinach or salad leaves, cassava, glutinous rice, tofu (soya bean curd), fibrous fruits like bananas and chicory with coffee, tea (which has about the same health-promoting value as red wine).

We have come to understand that a high fibre intake does a lot of good to the body. It helps in

-   lowering cholesterol levels in the blood; this leads to less plaque formation,

-  prevents the blocking of blood vessels, and hence reduces the risk of hypertension and stroke,

-  helps in enhancing weight control,

-   in a better glycemic control (useful for diabetics).

-  help in reducing the risk of certain forms of cancer, improving gastro-intestinal function and so on.

 When I consulted Dr. Ramesh Bhat of the National Institute of Nutrition at Hyderabad on the issue of functional foods, he pointed out the interesting fact that chicory too is a nutraceutical since it is a good source of soluble fibre.

Some of the nutraceutical information on chicory, soyabean, tofu, barley, oats is


A notable aspect of the South Indian food habit is that the coffee drunk there is invariably mixed with chicory.

This is a perennial plant with bright blue flowers, cultivated as a salad plant. Its root is roasted and ground as an additive in coffee.

Interestingly, the coffee - chicory mixture (usually 60:40) is more prevalent in South India, where it is almost a ritual to go to the coffee seed shop, have fresh coffee seeds roasted and ground in your presence, the requisite amount of chicory powder added, the mixture brought home and filtered using boiling water, and drank with freshly boiled milk.

Some instant coffee manufacturers add chicory in their product so as to cater to the taste of the fast-life, no-time South Indian.

Food historians of India would surely know when coffee came to India, and how chicory got added to it. The fact it is more popular in the South and not in North India may perhaps be explained as due to the French influence in Pondicherry, and Peninsular India. Among the Europeans it is the French who use chicory in their coffee. (Professor H. Y. Mohan Ram, the distinguished botanist and scholar from Delhi, tells me that while chicory is a Mediterranean herb, it occurs on the wild in Kashmir; he has found it growing lush on the roadside, on the way from the airport to the city of Srinagar).

Chicory is rich in the fibrous polysaccharide inulin (not insulin, make sure to remove the s), the term coming from a genus of plants. While cellulose is made of glucose molecules chained together as a polymer (hence the name polyglucoside meaning many glucoses strung together), inulin is (a polymer of the fruit sugar fructose, a polyfructoside). Unlike cellulose, which does not easily dissolve in water, inulin is a soluble dietary fibre.

Since it is resistant to digestion by the commonly occurring enzymes, it serves its fibrous function well. Not easily absorbed in the small intestines, it reaches the large intestines or colon essentially intact, where it is fermented by the resident bacteria.

It is for this reason that a molecule like inulin is called a pre- biotic, namely non-digestible food material that selectively stimulates the growth of health - promoting bacteria like lactobacilli and bifidobacteria, which digest it and feed themselves and the host.

These symbiotic microbes colonize our large bowels at the expense of harmful ones such as coliform. A pre-biotic is a "fertilizer", as it were, for the symbiotic bacteria that thrive in our bodies.

Dr. Ramesh Bhat points out that being of bland neutral flavour, inulin is added to food mainly for its nutritional properties. It has all the advantages of a fibre that we pointed out above and, being soluble, mixes and blends well.

It is thus used as a macronutrient substitute, mainly to replace fat and sugars, largely in cakes and confectionery, ice cream and yogurt, milk drinks and in pet foods.

The caloric content of inulin is a mere one-calorie per gram, just about one-ninth of that of fat.

Inulin is reported to have a variety of health benefits such as reducing the risk of obesity, heart diseases, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, intestinal infection, osteoporosis and colon cancer.

The safety of inulin has been evaluated and accepted by several European countries and the Food and Drug Administration of the US. Inulin or chicory saccharide is thus a good example of a functional food or nutraceutical.

Soya bean and Tofu

Tofu is soya bean curd, long favoured by the Chinese, and a special food of their emperors.

Today the value of tofu, or indeed that of soya bean itself, as a nutraceutical has been realized. From supermarkets to health food stores, diet-conscious Americans are buying soy beans (both spellings soy and soya are acceptable), not just as tofu but also as soy milk, soya burgers, infant formula and so on - and the

FDA has given its seal of approval. It has fast caught on in the Indian market as well, thanks to the large scale introduction of soya cultivation in India since the 1950s (through the lab to land programmes of the agricultural universities, particularly Pantnagar), and the popularization of soya bean cakes and ready-to-cook granules (Nutri-Nuggets as they are called) in the market.

It is not only low in cholesterol and saturated fat, but contains compounds called isoflavones (with hard to pronounce names like genistein and daidzein) that may help prevent everything from cancer to osteoporosis.

The USFDA reviewed as many as 41 clinical studies before it concluded that "based on the totality of publicly available scientific evidence, there is significant agreement to support the relationship between consumption of soy protein included in diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and a lowering in the risk of coronary heart disease".

Of 25 grams of soy protein that is recommended in our daily diet, 45 mg are is oflavones. These are compounds that act as antioxidants (quite like red wine and teas do), and as protective agents against cancer and heart diseases.

Dr. Barry Palevitz, who writes about the nutraceutical aspects of soya beans in The Scientist wonders whether the low incidence of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases in China and Japan might be due to their traditional soy - rich diets; Rates of these diseases rise in the children of Asian immigrants who adopt a Western diet, so the connection is not genetic.

Oats and barley

Then there are the good old grains known to man since millenia, namely oats and barley. These have now been recognized to be nutraceuticals as well.

Of the two, oat is less popular since there has been a misconception that it is not easily digestible.

Far from true, since oat porridge, Quaker Oats and Champion Oats are eaten largely as breakfast meals.

Known in Hindi, Gujarati and Marathi as Jav and in Telugu as Yavalu , oat is an excellent nutraceutical. It is free from gluten and has a high fibre content.

Indeed, there is now an increasingly popular food item in the US called Oatrim. This is made by the enzymatic digestion of oat flour or oat bran to produce soluble fibre, quite like inulin.

Oatrim replaces fat in foods, has a natural taste and adds a fatty texture to foods - so that food containing Oatrim looks and tastes like traditional higher fat foods. A very useful application of the material is that it can be converted into a shortening-like gel (vanaspati type) by heating and cooling 25% Oatrim dispersion in water. Just as inulin, this gel too has but 1 calorie/gram compared with the 9 per gram of fat. The gel is heat-stable and can be used as shortening in baking, pasteurizing and cooking in place of fat.

Oat fibre has at least three health benefits.It can eliminate or substitute for fat. It reduces cholesterol in the body, and it can be used for reducing body weight- slimming food. The biological effects are essentially the same as those of chicory and soya.

Barley has been known and used since the Vedic times. It is called Yava in Sanskrit, Jau in Hindi, Gujarathi and Marathi, Barli arisi in Tamil and Barley biyyam in Telugu. It has been used as a gruel and as the preferred diet for convalescing patients.

Sattu, the preparation from barley gruel, is used in North India as a cooling drink. Tribals in Madhya Pradesh have been mixing wheat, barley Bengal gram, and small amounts of kesari dal and eating them as birra orbirri .

As the levels of kesari dal go up, the danger of lathyrism can set in. (I was not aware of this intriguing mixture and its use, and thank Ramesh Bhat for this information).

Finally, of all the PMs that we have had, the one who has a well- publicized preference for nutraceuticals is Mr. H. D. Deve Gowda. His favourite is Ragi Mudde, balls made of powdered Ragi ( a minor millet, called eleusine corcana), which are eaten with sambar or any gravy. The biological benefits of Ragi are pretty much the same as those of oats and barley.

Prof. D. Balasubramanian
L.V.Prasad Eye Institute
Hyderabad - 500 034


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