Editors: Luís Rodrigues da Silva, Branca Maria Silva

Natural Bioactive Compounds from Fruits and Vegetables as Health Promoters: Part 1

eBook: US $89 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $163
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $356
ISBN: 978-1-68108-240-0 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-239-4 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2016
DOI: 10.2174/97816810823941160101


Plants have been widely used to treat diseases, owing to the presence of bioactive compounds (phytochemicals) which play important roles in health promotion and disease prevention. In recent years, advances in chemical extraction techniques, lifestyle and dietary choices for human health have increased the interest in the consumption and study of fruits, vegetables, and foods enriched with bioactive compounds and nutraceuticals. Thousands of dietary phytochemicals, such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, glucosinolates, terpenes and alkaloids, have been identified and categorized further according to a diverse array of biochemical properties. Many of these phytochemicals have been hypothesized to reduce the risk of several pathological conditions which include life threatening diseases such as heart disease and cancer, to name a few.

Natural Bioactive Compounds from Fruits and Vegetables as Health Promoters is a 2 book set which presents a summary of different classes of phytochemicals commonly found in common edible food sources. Each chapter details the general chemical structures of compounds, naturally present in specific fruits, vegetables and grains, their biological importance and mechanisms of action.

The book set is an essential handbook for anyone interested in the natural product chemistry of these common crops.

Part 1 of this set covers details about different fruits (banana, citrus fruits, pears, etc.). Part 2 covers legumes, nuts, seeds and cereals.


For centuries, humans have considered food only as an “energy” source for survival. Clarification of nutritional relevant components, as protein, fat, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins, was determinant to understand metabolic needs, and to adjust consumption patterns. However, this oversimplified definition of food resulted in processed foods composed by mixtures of ingredients rich in these components, while diet is increasingly claimed as being responsible for the most common diseases of modern society: cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and cancer.

When we look upon food from this simplified perspective, it is as if we are regarding food without its “soul”. Indeed, although being difficult to demonstrate causality between food and health, there is now appreciable epidemiologic evidence for the protective role of diets rich in fruits and vegetables, being the Mediterranean diet an interesting example. These foods have thousands of components without nutritional essentiality that have been neglected. The interest in these components has increased tremendously in the last two decades, seeking to identify the dietary bioactive components (i.e., those that have a measurable impact on human health), their amounts, and availability. Simultaneously, it is also becoming clear that each one of these components has different effects and potencies when ingested alone or when taking its part in the complex network of molecules present in whole foods. These are amazing days for food scientists because we are closer to understand these bioactive compounds, while the consumer is following closely scientific advances, being increasingly interested in the health properties of foods.

The editors took an enormous and successful effort to assemble a huge variety of knowledge on different natural bioactive components in foods, bringing together experts working in different fields of food composition and health. This first issue was written to provide readers a comprehensive review of bioactive constituents in fruits from different parts of the world. This assembled knowledge allows the reader to attribute a “health-value” to these foods in a more clear way, understand the care needed to preserve their bioactivity, while also adding value to fruits residues (peels, pulp, seeds, and stones) that are frequently neglected by industry. Therefore, this book is designed for food scientists, nutritionists, pharmaceuticals, physicians, food industrials, as well as for health-conscious consumers. More similar comprehensive reviews on other natural food products will be certainly welcomed by readers.

José Alberto Pereira
Mountain Research Centre (CIMO)
School of Agriculture
Polytechnic Institute of Bragança
Susana Casal
REQUIMTE / Bromatology Service
Faculty of Pharmacy
University of Porto