Health and wellness

The purpose of functional nutrition is to strengthen and defend the health and physical well-being of human beings through food. Already thousands of years ago in Europe and Asia medical scholars had discovered how nutrition could have beneficial therapeutic effects. Greek and Roman doctors were convinced that a balanced diet could cure various diseases and ensure good health. Traditional Chinese medicine involved balancing the five flavors (bitter, sweet, sour, salty, spicy) for both curative and preventive purposes. In India, Ayurvedic medicine classified foods on the basis of their effects on the balance between body, mind and soul.

Ancient cultures left us precious teachings on how to take care of our health through the careful use of natural ingredients. Europrodotti has collected this rich heritage of indications to offer consumers quality products with preventive and therapeutic capabilities.

FOSHU products: Foods for Specific Health Use

After a long period of oblivion the teachings of our ancestors on the therapeutic virtues of foods were rediscovered at the beginning of the 1980s. In that period in Japan the expression functional food was used for the first time as part of a program that made it possible to reduce healthcare costs by improving the health conditions of the population, in particular of the old people. Scientific research led in 1991 to the discovery of beneficial foods classified with the term FOSHU (Foods of Specific Health Use).

FOSHU are considered foods from every point of view, including aesthetic ones. In fact they do not come in the form of pills or liquids in vials but are served as a normal dish. Their regular consumption within a planned diet has a positive effect on health thanks to the presence of bioactive constituents. The peculiarity is that the beneficial action is not exerted by a single component but by the product as a whole. In short, the effectiveness of these foods is linked to the principle that "unity is strength"!

From FOSHU products to functional foods

Japanese FOSHU products are the only functional foods in the world regulated by specific legislation. But even if in no particular order and in the absence of real legislation, other countries have also introduced foods onto the market that not only nourish but contribute to complete physical, mental and even social well-being, what is called wellbeing.

In general functional foods are divided into two categories:

  • natural products, which already originally contain biologically active or functional components. Some examples include fruit and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, and fish, which is rich in omega-3s. The latter is a fatty acid essential for the health of the cardiovascular system, the nervous system and sight;
  • treated products, foods which in themselves do not have bioactive components but which, thanks to a special treatment, are enriched or improved by acquiring a functional property.

The treated products can acquire a functional property by eliminating components that have negative effects on health or by enhancing the action of positive elements originally present to a limited extent. Alternatively they can be subjected to a fortification process, which consists of adding biologically active ingredients. The latter include:

  • antioxidant substances;
  • fatty acids;
  • phytosterols;
  • minerals;
  • vitamins.

The precious physical and mental benefits of functional ingredients

A well-planned diet based on foods prepared with functional ingredients can have important positive effects on our health. Below we show a list of the main beneficial properties of functional food.

  1. Antioxidant properties
    Green leafy vegetables, herbs and spices are rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals, responsible for cellular aging, and oxidative stress in the body, thus reducing the risk of inflammation and chronic diseases.
  2. Promotion of digestion
    Functional ingredients such as probiotic yogurt, fermented foods, herbs such as sage and coriander, and spices such as cumin stimulate enzyme production and contain beneficial bacteria that promote healthy intestinal flora and better digestion.
  3. Health protection
    Foods containing soluble fiber, such as legumes, oats, rye and barley, and herbs such as garlic, ginger and onion are precious allies in reducing cholesterol, regulating blood sugar levels and improving intestinal health, thus contributing to the prevention of heart disease, diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders.
  4. Weight control
    Functional ingredients high in fiber, protein and healthy fats can contribute to increased satiety by helping to control appetite and body weight. Among the spices that help maintain shape we can mention turmeric, which represents a natural fat burner, and chilli pepper. In fact capsaicin, the active ingredient in chili pepper responsible for its characteristic spicy taste, promotes a sense of satiety and appetite control.
  5. Improved mental performance
    Functional ingredients rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants, such as fish, walnuts and slime seeds improve cognitive function, memory and protect the brain from aging.
  6. Solution of specific health problems
    Heart problems can be addressed with functional fish-based foods thanks to their omega-3 content. Turmeric and ginger have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.
  7. Replacement of harmful ingredients
    Functional ingredients can be used to replace or reduce the use of harmful or unhealthy ingredients such as added sugars and saturated fats. Aromatic herbs such as basil, parsley, oregano, sage, bay leaf, thyme and rosemary can be used in diets that involve the reduction or replacement of salt.

Functional ingredients have made one of the most beautiful dreams of human beings come true: that of healing oneself by eating. Europrodotti selects and uses spices and aromatic herbs that flavor our recipes and contribute to the defense and strengthening of our health.

From nature to the table
Behind the scenes of natural flavors