Wild Plants, Mushrooms and Nuts
Wild Plants, Mushrooms and Nuts
Introduction : The Increasing Demand for Functional Foods
Natália Martins 1, Patricia Morales 2 , Lillian Barros 1 , and Isabel C. F. R. Ferreira 1
1 Mountain Research Centre (CIMO), School of Agriculture, Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal
2 Department of Nutrition and Bromatology II, Faculty of Pharmacy, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain
1.1 Food Patterns: A Cross-sectional Approach and Brief Overview
Primitive societies often lack resources but have always emphasized the role of nutrition in maintaining good health and wellbeing (Balch 2006; Murray & Pizzorno 2005, 2012). So, the idea of a balanced and wholefood-enriched diet to ensure homeostasis and improve life expectancy is not new.
Concomitantly with the intensification of the globalization process and advances in the food industry, a pronounced increase in public health problems has been observed. Health-related economic and social costs have risen to represent a significant percentage of worldwide expenditure (American Dietetic Association 2009; Arvanitoyannis & Houwelingen-Koukaliaroglou 2005). Public health problems affect all sectors of society - elderly, adults, children, and adolescents. Therefore, the deployment of prevention strategies seems to be essential, not only to avoid the progression of this worldwide problem but also to try and restore the balanced food patterns and proper lifestyle of individuals.
Infectious diseases were the most frequent causes of morbidity and mortality among the first civilizations, mainly attributed to poor hygiene conditions, and efforts were made to reduce the incidence of outbreaks of infection and epidemics. Nowadays, research is carried out to find even more effective and specific chemical drugs, allegedly able to treat modern disorders, although most of them can be eradicated just through lifestyle modifications. Metabolic disorders and related problems are some of the most important current contributors to human morbidity and mortality. Overweight and obesity, considered the epidemic of the 21st century, increasingly affects all age groups, with children being the most vulnerable (Arvanitoyannis & Houwelingen-Koukaliaroglou 2005; Bagchi 2006).
Hippocrates said that "whatever be the father of a disease, the mother is always a bad diet" (Longe 2005; Murray & Pizzorno 2005, 2012). Linked with the increasing incidence of metabolic disorders has been a demand for new food products. Addictive behavior, feelings of pleasure, and palatability are the main determinants of food choices in modern civilization (Balch 2006; Jauho & Niva 2013; Murray & Pizzorno 2005). Thus, it is not surprising that rates of chronic disorders, most of them food pattern related, have reached epidemic levels, and are likely to increase in the coming years.
1.2 Nutrition and Health: Facts and Tendencies
1.2.1 Evidence-based Medicine: Past to Present
There are numerous reports and historical manuscripts proving data about the applications of botanicals and plant food preparations, for both nutritional and medicinal uses (Khan & Abourashed 2010; Longe 2005; Murray & Pizzorno 2012; Vanaclocha & Cañigueral 2003). Traditional medicine dates back to the dawn of human civilization; primitive societies used botanical preparations and even plant food derivatives for medicinal, culinary, preservative, and aromatizing purposes (Ferreira et al . 2009; Junio et al . 2011; Rubió et al . 2013; Sahib et al . 2013; Spelman et al . 2006; Sung et al . 2011; Viuda-Martos et al . 2010; Zheng & Wang 2001). Numerous attributes were conferred on ethnopharmacological preparations, which have been increasingly validated through epidemiological, preclinical, and even clinical studies (A