Special Issue "Functional Food and Health: A Paradigm Shift in Agriculture"
A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2012)
Prof. Dr. Muraleedharan G. Nair
Senior Associate to the Dean College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Professor, Department of Horticulture Michigan State University Plant and Soil Sciences Bldg. 1066 Bogue St., Room 420 East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
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Phone: 517 355 5191 x1406
Fax: +1 517 353 0890
Interests: bioactive natural products; Cancer; obesity; type-2 diabetes; inflammation; antioxidant; botanical drugs; phytomedicine; nutraceutical; functional food; herbal medicine; spices
The world population reached 7 billion recently and food is still a rare commodity for about 20% of the citizens live below global hunger index (GHI). Global food production is at all time high but problems surrounding pre- and post-harvest, storage and distribution mute such achievements. However, it is paradoxical where world is striving to provide food security to all, the 80% who consume food more than they need suffer from poor health and debilitating diseases. Food, as we all know, is an integral part of staying alive, but it also plays a significant role in keeping one healthy with a better quality of life. For example, world population of all age groups suffers from obesity and type-2 diabetes. Adult diabetes, type-2 diabetes, is one of the leading killers in the developed, developing and under-developed countries alike. The most significant reason for the rise in diabetes is increased consumption of food with sedentary life style leading to obesity. In almost all cases, obesity leads to type-2 diabetes.
The consumption of phytochemicals including flavones, isoflavones, tannins, anthocyanins, betacyanins, chlorophyll, carotenoids, terpenoids, phytosterols, long-chain fatty acids and shorter-length polysaccharides as dietary ingredients have positive impact on the overall wellbeing and quality of life. This has been demonstrated by researchers around the world by primarily using a series of in vitro bioassays. Food and health are synonymous these days to many even in countries with less food security. This is because of the belief that daily consumption of functional food, food containing beneficial bioactive natural products, delivers an effective dose of such non-nutritional components with potential to ameliorate debilitating diseases including cancer, metabolic syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease. Fruits, vegetables, berries and other generally regarded as safe (GRAS) plants play an important role in filling this space occupied by functional foods.
Consumption of agricultural products with adequate amounts of bioactives will aid in the fight against obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, inflammatory diseases and Alzheimer’s disease. Food security policy being enacted by governments should consider agricultural products that provide not only conventional nutrition but also functional food constituents in order to improve health and quality of life of their citizens.
Prof. Dr. Muraleedharan G. Nair
- functional food
- food security
- bioactive natural products
- agricultural commodities
- novel food processing