Editors: Luís Rodrigues da Silva, Branca Maria Silva

Natural Bioactive Compounds from Fruits and Vegetables as Health Promoters: Part 2

eBook: US $89 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $163
Printed Copy: US $119
Library License: US $356
ISBN: 978-1-68108-244-8 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-68108-243-1 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2016
DOI: 10.2174/97816810824311160101

Introduction

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.

Preface

Plants have been widely used as food and medicines, since they provide, not only essential nutrients required for human life, but also other bioactive compounds which play important roles in health promotion and disease prevention, commonly known as phytochemicals. Moreover, in the recent years, the impact of lifestyle and dietary choices for human health has increased the interest in fruits and vegetables, as well as in foods enriched with bioactive compounds and nutraceuticals. In fact, epidemiological studies have consistently shown that the Mediterranean diet, characterized by the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables, is strongly associated with reduced risk of developing a wide range of chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

Phytochemicals are secondary metabolites present in fruits and vegetables in low concentrations that have been hypothesized to reduce the risk of several pathological conditions. There are thousands of dietary phytochemicals, namely flavonoids, phenolic acids, glucosinolates, terpenes, alkaloids, between many other classes of compounds, which present different bioactivities, such as antioxidant, antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hypocholesterolemic, hypoglicemic and other clinically relevant activities. The evidence suggests that the health benefits of fruits and vegetables consumption are attributed to the additive and synergistic interactions between these phytocomponents. Therefore, nutrients and bioactive compounds present in fruits and vegetables should be preferred instead of unnatural and expensive dietary supplements.

In this ebook, we provide an overview about the different classes of phytochemicals commonly found in fruits and vegetables, highlighting their chemical structures, occurrence in fruits and vegetables, biological importance and mechanisms of action. Volume 2 is dedicated to the study of several legumes, nuts, seeds and cereals.

Luís Rodrigues da Silva & Branca Silva
CICS – UBI – Health Sciences Research Centre
University of Beira Interior
Portugal