Functional Foods as Source of Bioactive Principles: Some Marked Examples

  • Adriana Campos
  • Elisa Brasili
  • Camile Cecconi Cechinel-Zanchett
  • Valdir Cechinel FilhoEmail author


Functional foods are those that have a beneficial effect on health beyond the basic function of nutrition, helping to promote better health conditions and to reduce the risk of various diseases. This concept was created in Japan in the 1980s and is widely used around the world. The regulation of these products is made by different authorities and has not been defined yet in many countries. The field of food production has increased and changed considerably in the last decades, since the consumers believe that foods, besides satisfy hunger and to provide necessary nutrients for humans, also contribute directly to improve their health conditions. The present chapter will focus with marked examples the main categories of functional foods and respective therapeutic potential (cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, hypolipidemic, antioxidant, anticancer, anti-inflammatory properties, etc.) as well as the active principles responsible for the medicinal properties (flavonoids, alkaloids, terpenes, etc.), including curcuma, garlic, olive oil, grape, broccoli, and probiotic, among others.


Functional foods Nutrients Health conditions Therapeutic potential Active principles 



Aged black garlic




Aged garlic extracts


Autophosphorylation-activated protein kinase




Adenosine triphosphate








Ca2+ -dependent protein kinase




CAMP-response element-binding protein


Cardiovascular disease


Diallyl disulfide


Docosahexaenoic acid




Docosapentaenoic acid




Diallyl sulfide


Diallyl trisulfide


Diabetes mellitus






Epigallocatechin gallate


Epidermal growth factor receptor


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Extra virgin olive oil


Food and Drug Administration


Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act


Generally recognized as safe


Glutathione reductase


Glutathione peroxidase


Glutathione- S -transferase


Reduced glutathione


High-density lipoprotein


Heme-oxygenase 1


Impaired fasting glucose




Insulin-like growth factor


Inhibitory factor I-kappa B kinase


Inducible nitric oxide synthase


IL-1 receptor-associated kinase


Janus kinases (JAK) through inhibition of


Low-density lipoprotein


Lipoprotein A


Mitogen-activated protein


Mitogen-activated protein kinases


Monocyte chemoattractant protein


Minimum inhibitory concentration


Metastatic process in human breast cancer cells


Matrix metalloproteinases


Nuclear factor-kappa B


Nuclear factor-jB


Nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2


NAD(P)H:quinone oxido-reductase 1


Phosphorylase kinase


Polyunsaturated fatty acids


Reactive oxygen species






Short-chain fatty acids


Silent information regulator


Superoxide dismutase




Type2 diabetes mellitus


Tumor necrosis factor


United States of America


United States


US Department of Agriculture


US Department of Health and Human Services


Very-low-density lipoprotein


γ-glutamyl-cysteine ligase


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adriana Campos
    • 1
  • Elisa Brasili
    • 2
  • Camile Cecconi Cechinel-Zanchett
    • 3
  • Valdir Cechinel Filho
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Nutrição, Faculdade de Saúde PúblicaUniversidade de São Paulo-USPSão PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Department of Environmental BiologySapienza University of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Farmacêuticas and Núcleo de Investigações Químico-Farmacêuticas (NIQFAR)Universidade do Vale do Itajaí – UNIVALIItajaíBrazil

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