The global market for nutraceuticals had a value of over $380 billion in 2019. This is expected to grow in coming years.
The nutraceutical industry is, therefore, a hugely important one. However, many people still know little about nutraceuticals, if anything.
So, what are nutraceuticals? Read on as we answer this question and share more important information about nutraceutical companies and products.
What Does the Nutraceutical Industry Do?
Essentially, the nutraceutical industry finds ways to take the nourishing powers of food and use them as medicine. This is useful for many different reasons.
Many people struggle to ingest the necessary amounts of nutrients from their diet. This is especially true of people who don’t eat fresh fruit and vegetables due to dietary preferences or lack of availability.
Nutraceuticals allow users convenient access to almost every nutrient out there. No matter what you’re deficient in or feel you need more of, there should be a nutritional supplement out there just for you.
Nutraceuticals come in the form of pills, capsules, and powders, but the term is also used to describe whole food items. As we will see, there are various categories of nutraceuticals.
Important Types of Nutraceuticals You Should Know About
There are a number of different approaches when it comes to nutraceuticals, both in terms of the nutrients offered and the method of ingestion. The broad categories of nutraceuticals are those we’ve listed here.
Dietary supplements are what immediately spring to mind for many people when they think of nutraceuticals. They are medical products that contain concentrated doses of key nutrients that we traditionally would have gotten from foods.
Dietary supplements typically come in the form of pills and capsules. Common examples are multivitamins and iron supplements.
While dietary supplements can look like any other medication, it’s important to remember that they come from food in many cases. Omega-3 supplements, for example, are made of concentrated fish oils.
Much of the research involved in the production of new dietary supplements is done on food. For example, a recent study on avocados suggests that some of their constituents might be an effective treatment for obesity.
Functional food can be a confusing concept, as all food is functional in one way or another.
When we talk of functional food, what we’re referring to is a food that has health benefits beyond its basic macronutrient content. These foods will do more than simply keep hunger at bay.
Examples of functional foods include seeds, nuts, and certain fruits and vegetables as they occur naturally. However, there are also certain foods which are manufactured to have a greater amount of a given nutrient (milk with extra protein, for example). These are known as fortified foods.
Functional foods are to be distinguished from dietary supplements on the basis that they are foodstuffs rather than medication. While they won’t make up your whole diet, functional foods are to be viewed and calculated as part of your daily caloric intake.
Medicinal food is a similar concept to that of functional food. However, this term generally refers to foods with specific medical benefits as opposed to general improvement of health.
For example, foods typical of the Mediterranean diet have been shown to be effective for sufferers of diabetes. The high fat percentage in foods like olive oil and yogurt have a more favorable impact on blood sugar levels in many patients.
You should always consult a doctor before starting on a particular diet for a specific health issue.
The Advantages of Nutraceuticals
There are many reasons why it might be a good idea for you to invest in nutraceuticals. We’ve looked at a few of the most important ones here.
Treatment of Certain Conditions
There are certain health conditions for which nutrition is vital. However, the need for a certain nutrient may be so great that a regular diet simply won’t meet your needs.
Anemia, for example, is caused by a clinical shortage of iron in your body. While you can get more iron from foodstuffs like green vegetables and red meat, many people find it more effective or convenient to turn to an iron supplement.
The most important part of any beauty routine is healthcare. Nobody looks their best unless they are in good health.
There are a number of considerations here. Healthy hair, for example, requires a range of different vitamins along with healthy levels of iron, zinc, and protein. Your skin relies on healthy fats and antioxidants, as well as a number of vitamins.
Greater Immunity Against Diseases
Your immune system functions with the help of the nutrients you put into your body. Without healthy doses of vitamins and minerals, your system will be unable to provide adequate protection against illnesses.
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, this is a more important consideration than ever. To give yourself the best chance of fighting off the virus if you are unfortunate enough to contract it, you’ll need your immune system to be in good shape.
If you have poor immunity, you should consider taking a vitamin supplement. Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin E are especially important for this purpose.
Improving Your Health Naturally
Given the current COVID-19 pandemic, staying healthy is more important than ever. However, many of us struggle to get in the requisite nutrients from just our diets.
If this sounds like you, the nutraceutical industry might have the answer. Nutraceuticals are a great way of adding natural sources of health to your diet without having to eat a hugely diverse range of foodstuffs.