Special Issue "Functional Foods and Human Health II"

A special issue of Applied Sciences (ISSN 2076-3417). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Science and Technology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 May 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

At present, it is becoming very important for people to maintain health and wellness, primarily by strengthening the immune system. This can be achieved by lifestyle changes, including a diet based on foods with a beneficial effect on health. Functional foods are food products that offer health benefits that extend beyond their nutritional value. They may protect against disease, prevent nutrient deficiencies, and promote proper growth and development. Moreover, these benefits should not only be declared, but proven in clinical trials. Although there is no official definition of a functional food, the market of so-called products currently shows the highest growth rate. The concept of functional food originated in Japan in the 1980s when government agencies started approving foods with proven benefits in an effort to better the health of the general population. Functional foods, also known as nutraceuticals, may by enriched with valuable nutrients or other bio-active substances, or the natural products may contain high levels of these (referred to as “super foods”).

Science and technology go hand in hand in the development of new types of functional foods. The most urgent goal seems to be the work on confirming the impact of bio-active substances that are or may become food ingredients, and which alone or in synergistic action with the whole matrix (i.e., the food product) will be able to strengthen the human immune system to fight pathogens and cancer and beneficially influence metabolism. This is important for every individual, as well as for public health. It requires a great deal of work and presents an opportunity for interesting and necessary research for scientists in the fields of biology, food technology, medicine, dietetics, and animal husbandry and agronomy. We expect that many interesting works will be created in this respect, the results of which will be disseminated and published in this special issue.

Prof. Dr. Wojciech Kolanowski
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • functional food
  • nutraceuticals
  • health
  • bio-active substances
  • antioxidants
  • immune system
  • superfood

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
The Effects of Polyphenol-Rich Black Elderberry on Oxidative Stress and Hepatic Cholesterol Metabolism
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(21), 10018; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app112110018 - 26 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 301
Abstract
Black elderberry (Sambucus Nigar) with high polyphenol content has been reported to have a hypolipidemic effect, but its underlying mechanisms have not been well characterized. In the present study, we investigated the effects of polyphenol-rich black elderberry (BEE) on oxidative stress [...] Read more.
Black elderberry (Sambucus Nigar) with high polyphenol content has been reported to have a hypolipidemic effect, but its underlying mechanisms have not been well characterized. In the present study, we investigated the effects of polyphenol-rich black elderberry (BEE) on oxidative stress and hepatic lipid metabolism. The total antioxidant activity of BEE was evaluated. The expression of genes for lipid metabolism was measured in 50 or 100 μg/mL of BEE-treated HepG2 cells. The mRNA and protein levels of genes for cholesterol metabolisms, i.e., sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase, and low-density lipoprotein receptor, were decreased by BEE. There was marked induction of genes for high-density lipoprotein metabolism, i.e., scavenger receptor class B type 1and ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter A1 in BEE-treated cells. The expression of canalicular efflux transporter for hepatic cholesterol and bile acids, such as ABCG5/G8 and ABCB11, was significantly increased by BEE treatment. There was no alteration of the lipogenic genes, whereas BEE significantly decreased the expression of genes for fatty acid oxidation. BEE significantly altered the expression of histone deacetylase and sirtuins. These data suggest that the hypocholesterolemic effects of BEE may be attributed to the alteration of genes for hepatic cholesterol synthesis and flux. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Foods and Human Health II)
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Article
An Epidemiological Study Report on the Antioxidant and Phenolic Content of Selected Mediterranean Functional Foods, Their Consumption Association with the Body Mass Index, and Consumers Purchasing Behavior in a Sample of Healthy Greek Adults
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(17), 7818; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11177818 - 25 Aug 2021
Viewed by 399
Abstract
Functional food consumption is shown to have a positive effect on anthropometric parameters and human health promotion. In addition, consumers seem to be more interested in food choices, that may have a positive effect on their health. The current study aimed to identify [...] Read more.
Functional food consumption is shown to have a positive effect on anthropometric parameters and human health promotion. In addition, consumers seem to be more interested in food choices, that may have a positive effect on their health. The current study aimed to identify the antioxidant and phenolic content of naturally functional foods from the Mediterranean diet and to investigate consumer behavior towards their consumption in terms of their weight control, as well as their purchasing behavior and knowledge of functional foods. For this purpose, blueberries, cranberries, pomegranate, grapefruit, red peppers, almonds and mountain tea were analyzed for their phenolic content and antioxidant capacity, using the Folin-Ciocalteau and Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power assays, respectively. Furthermore, nine hundred forty-nine healthy Greek adults participated in an epidemiological study, by completing a validated food frequency questionnaire, for the consumption of the above investigated functional foods. Five hundred and fifty participants also completed an online questionnaire investigating factors that consumers evaluate when purchasing functional foods. Study results showed that the analyzed functional foods were high in antioxidants and phenolic compounds, especially the mountain tea. The increased consumption of cranberries, pomegranate, grapefruit, red peppers and mountain tea was significantly correlated with a decreased Body Mass Index, suggesting a possible positive role, in weight control. Participants seemed to be aware of the beneficial role of these specific investigated Mediterranean functional foods to human health. They evaluated the price, taste and nutritional value, as critical factors to buy these food products. A combination of factors seems to lead them to purchase and consume these functional foods. Future epidemiological and clinical studies should be conducted in order to further evaluate consumer preferences and bioactivity mechanisms related to Mediterranean functional food consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Foods and Human Health II)
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Article
The Effect of Yellow Tea Leaves Camellia sinensis on the Quality of Stored Chocolate Confectionery
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(9), 4123; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11094123 - 30 Apr 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 580
Abstract
Chocolate and tea leaves are considered the most valuable sources of highly bioactive polyphenols due to their potential anti-cancer properties and beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems. The objective of the present study was the development of a sensory profiling modality [...] Read more.
Chocolate and tea leaves are considered the most valuable sources of highly bioactive polyphenols due to their potential anti-cancer properties and beneficial effects on the cardiovascular and nervous systems. The objective of the present study was the development of a sensory profiling modality that is correlated with the taste of the chocolate enriched with yellow tea phytochemicals. The additive concentration was optimized in white chocolate and the designed product was evaluated using the sensory profiling method. It was shown that the yellow tea extract in chocolate had a significant effect on the taste and color of the product. Addition of 2.0% yellow tea powdered extract increased the value of color acceptance and caused an intensification of the aromas, particularly the leafy taste, compared to the control samples. The next step of the study was to determine the influence of tea addition in white, milk and dark chocolate subjected to 6 months of storage. The designed chocolates were tested for their activity as antioxidants (DPPH, ABTS and ORAC assay) and cholinesterase inhibitors (AChE, BChE assay). It was confirmed that the yellow tea addition affected the activity of prepared chocolates with respect to radical scavenging activity and was highest for dark chocolate with yellow tea where the values were as follows: 4373 mg Tx/100 g (DPPH), 386 mg Tx/100 g (ABTS) and 4363 µM Tx/100 g (ORAC). An increase in the anti-radical activity of chocolate with yellow tea was found after 3 months of storage, but the subsequent 3 months of storage resulted in its reduction. AChE values ranged from 0.118 to 0.730 [µM eserine/g dw] and from 0.095 to 0.480 [µM eserine/g dw] for BChE assay. Total capacity to inhibit AChE and BChE differed depending on the type of chocolate and was negatively influenced by the half-year storage. Summarizing tested values for individual samples were higher, with increasing content of cocoa liquor and yellow tea extract in the product. The results of the research show that the use of yellow tea in confectionery is promising and may appoint a new direction in functional foods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Foods and Human Health II)
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Article
Postharvest UV-B and Photoperiod with Blue + Red LEDs as Strategies to Stimulate Carotenogenesis in Bell Peppers
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(9), 3736; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/app11093736 - 21 Apr 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 710
Abstract
Background: Our objective was to evaluate carotenoid accumulation in bell peppers during shelf life under different light conditions. Methods: Fruit stored for 6 d at 7 °C received a 9 kJ m−2 UV-B treatment, while non-UV-treated were used as control (CTRL). Subsequently, [...] Read more.
Background: Our objective was to evaluate carotenoid accumulation in bell peppers during shelf life under different light conditions. Methods: Fruit stored for 6 d at 7 °C received a 9 kJ m−2 UV-B treatment, while non-UV-treated were used as control (CTRL). Subsequently, all peppers were disposed for a retail sale period of 4 d at 20 °C with a photoperiod of 14 h under fluorescent light (FL) + 10 h under darkness (D), FL, or blue + red LEDs (BR LED). Results: Total antioxidant capacity (TAC) was increased by the UV-B treatment and the photoperiods supplemented with FL and BR LED, which was directly related to the carotenoid content. In fact, CTRL peppers (225 mg β-carotene kg−1) under FL+BR LED showed an increase of ~33% of 13-cis-β-carotene, ~24% of all-trans-β-carotene, and ~27.5% of 9-cis-β-carotene compared to FL + D and FL + FL. Capsaicinoids showed an increase by ~22%, ~38%, and ~27% in the content of capsanthin, capsanthin laurate, and capsanthin esters, respectively, after the UV-B treatment, which was even enhanced after the LED-supplemented photoperiod by ~18% compared to FL+D. Conclusions: Illumination with BR LEDs + UV-B during the retail sale period nights is recommended to increase the bioactive content of bell peppers via carotenoid accumulation to 270 mg β-carotene kg−1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional Foods and Human Health II)
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