Functional Foods for Health—the Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Role of Fruits, Vegetables and Culinary Herbs

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutraceuticals, Functional Foods, and Novel Foods".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2023) | Viewed by 31121

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
CBIOS—Universidade Lusófona’s Research Center for Biosciences & Health Technologies, Campo Grande 376, 1749-024 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: food toxicology; food safety; bioactive compounds; antioxidants; oxidative stress; mycotoxins; cancer; pharmacology; toxicology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Co-Guest Editor
CBIOS—Universidade Lusófona’s Research Center for Biosciences & Health Technologies, Campo Grande 376, 1749-024 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: pharmacology; food toxicology; molecular nutrition; redox biology; cancer
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The concept of “functional foods” is emerging, and converges topics like diet, food, health, and disease. Despite the existence of a plethora of definitions for functional foods, they are consistently centered on the potential of consuming certain foods and nutrients to achieve health benefits and decrease the risk of disease.

Fruits and vegetables have been widely investigated due to their health-promoting potential. Likewise, culinary herbs have also been linked to a lower risk of the development of some diseases. These foods present exciting properties, mostly related to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory actions of their components that may impact on the pathogenesis of different diseases such as cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, or cancer conditions. These beneficial effects have been related to their content in various bioactive compounds such as phytochemicals, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, or organic acids.

For this Special Issue “Functional Foods for Health: The Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Role of Fruits, Vegetables and Culinary Herbs”, we welcome papers that study functional foods and help to clarify the relationship between their consumption and beneficial health properties. We hope that this Special Issue will gather the most recent advances in the field, providing a useful tool for researchers and professionals in this area.

Dr. João Guilherme Costa
Dr. Ana Sofia Fernandes
Dr. Cíntia Ferreira-Pêgo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • functional foods
  • food composition
  • food and health
  • bioactive compounds
  • antioxidants
  • anti-inflammatory
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • culinary herbs
  • food supplements

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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3 pages, 204 KiB  
Editorial
Functional Foods for Health: The Antioxidant and Anti-Inflammatory Role of Fruits, Vegetables and Culinary Herbs
by Ana S. Fernandes, Cíntia Ferreira-Pêgo and João G. Costa
Foods 2023, 12(14), 2742; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12142742 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1067
Abstract
The concept of “functional foods” converges topics such as diet, food, health, and disease [...] Full article

Research

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21 pages, 2425 KiB  
Article
Immunomodulatory and Antioxidant Effects of Spray-Dried Encapsulated Kale Sprouts after In Vitro Gastrointestinal Digestion
by Erika Ortega-Hernández, Ana Victoria Camero-Maldonado, Laura Acevedo-Pacheco, Daniel A. Jacobo-Velázquez and Marilena Antunes-Ricardo
Foods 2023, 12(11), 2149; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12112149 - 26 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1584
Abstract
The health-related compounds present in kale are vulnerable to the digestive process or storage conditions. Encapsulation has become an alternative for their protection and takes advantage of their biological activity. In this study, 7-day-old Red Russian kale sprouts grown in the presence of [...] Read more.
The health-related compounds present in kale are vulnerable to the digestive process or storage conditions. Encapsulation has become an alternative for their protection and takes advantage of their biological activity. In this study, 7-day-old Red Russian kale sprouts grown in the presence of selenium (Se) and sulfur (S) were spray-dried with maltodextrin to assess their capacity to protect kale sprout phytochemicals from degradation during the digestion process. Analyses were conducted on the encapsulation efficiency, particle morphology, and storage stability. Mouse macrophages (Raw 264.7) and human intestinal cells (Caco-2) were used to assess the effect of the intestinal-digested fraction of the encapsulated kale sprout extracts on the cellular antioxidant capacity, the production of nitric oxide (NOx), and the concentrations of different cytokines as indicators of the immunological response. The highest encapsulation efficiency was observed in capsules with a 50:50 proportion of the hydroalcoholic extract of kale and maltodextrin. Gastrointestinal digestion affected compounds’ content in encapsulated and non-encapsulated kale sprouts. Spray-dried encapsulation reduced the phytochemicals’ degradation during storage, and the kale sprouts germinated with S and Se showed less degradation of lutein (35.6%, 28.2%), glucosinolates (15.4%, 18.9%), and phenolic compounds (20.3%, 25.7%), compared to non-encapsulated ones, respectively. S-encapsulates exerted the highest cellular antioxidant activity (94.2%) and immunomodulatory activity by stimulating IL-10 production (88.9%) and COX-2 (84.1%) and NOx (92.2%) inhibition. Thus, encapsulation is an effective method to improve kale sprout phytochemicals’ stability and bioactivity during storage and metabolism. Full article
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18 pages, 1399 KiB  
Article
Antioxidant Properties of Dried Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) var. Bentong
by Iswaibah Mustafa and Nyuk Ling Chin
Foods 2023, 12(1), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12010178 - 1 Jan 2023
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 5150
Abstract
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a popular culinary herb used in the Eastern culture. The essential cultivar of the Zingiber genus is rich in antioxidants and is crucial in the fight against oxidative stress-related diseases. The antioxidant properties of dried ginger were [...] Read more.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a popular culinary herb used in the Eastern culture. The essential cultivar of the Zingiber genus is rich in antioxidants and is crucial in the fight against oxidative stress-related diseases. The antioxidant properties of dried ginger were evaluated and compared for their efficacy from different drying processes (sun-, oven-, vacuum- and freeze-drying) and using three extraction solvents: hot water, aqueous ethanol (80%, v/v) and ethanol. The drying process demonstrated a positive effect on the antioxidant activities of ginger. A significant difference (p < 0.05) was observed in the extracting ability of each solvent. Sun-dried ginger extracted with ethanol performed better than the fresh ginger extract in the form of increased yield (3.04-fold), TFC values (12.25-fold), reducing power (FRAP) (15.35-fold), total antioxidant activity (TAA) (6.82-fold) and inhibition of ABTS•+ radical cation (3.51-fold) and DPPH radical (95%). Meanwhile, freeze-dried aqueous ginger extracts demonstrated significantly higher TPC (1.66-fold), TFC (3.71-fold), FRAP (3.26-fold), TAA (2.97-fold), ABTS•+ scavenging activity (1.48-fold) and DPPH radical inhibition (77%), compared to fresh ginger extracts. In addition, it was found that ethanol was significantly superior to aqueous ethanol in phenolic content recovery, despite the lower yield. Furthermore, ethanol ginger extracts exhibited higher antioxidant activity than aqueous ethanol extracts. On the other hand, hot water was the least potent solvent for extraction. In summary, there was an excellent correlation between TPC, TFC and antioxidant activity. Sun-drying is the most desirable method for preserving and enhancing ginger quality due to its cost effectiveness and bioactive compound efficacy. Full article
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16 pages, 3882 KiB  
Article
Nutritional Profiles, Phytochemical Analysis, Antioxidant Activity and DNA Damage Protection of Makapuno Derived from Thai Aromatic Coconut
by Wannarat Phonphoem, Chomdao Sinthuvanich, Attawan Aramrak, Suteekarn Sirichiewsakul, Siwaret Arikit and Chotika Yokthongwattana
Foods 2022, 11(23), 3912; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11233912 - 4 Dec 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3417
Abstract
Makapuno is a natural mutant coconut cultivar with jelly-like endosperm. Here, we investigated the nutritional compositions, active ingredients, and antioxidant activities of Makapuno meat and water. The contents of macronutrients, sugars, vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids were reported. We found that Makapuno [...] Read more.
Makapuno is a natural mutant coconut cultivar with jelly-like endosperm. Here, we investigated the nutritional compositions, active ingredients, and antioxidant activities of Makapuno meat and water. The contents of macronutrients, sugars, vitamins, amino acids, and fatty acids were reported. We found that Makapuno meat has higher dietary fiber with lower protein and fat content compared to normal coconut meat. Medium-chain fatty acids were the major fat component of Makapuno meat and water. Phytochemical analysis revealed that while flavonoid content was lower, the total phenolic, alkaloid, and tannin contents of Makapuno meat were comparable with those of mature coconut. However, Makapuno water contained higher alkaloid content when compared to mature and young coconuts. The antioxidant activities, as examined by DPPH, FRAP, and ABTS assays, showed that Makapuno meat and water had antioxidant activities, and Makapuno water exhibited protective activity against DNA damage. Hence, this research provides the nutraceutical importance of Makapuno, which could be used in the food industry. Full article
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18 pages, 730 KiB  
Article
Phenolic Composition, Antioxidant, Anti-Enzymatic, Antimicrobial and Prebiotic Properties of Prunus spinosa L. Fruits
by Mirjana Marčetić, Stevan Samardžić, Tijana Ilić, Dragana D. Božić and Bojana Vidović
Foods 2022, 11(20), 3289; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11203289 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2570
Abstract
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa L.) fruit is bluish-black wild fruit traditionally used in nutrition and medicine. It is recently gaining attention as a functional food and an underutilized source of bioactive compounds for application in the food and pharmaceutical industry. This study aimed [...] Read more.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa L.) fruit is bluish-black wild fruit traditionally used in nutrition and medicine. It is recently gaining attention as a functional food and an underutilized source of bioactive compounds for application in the food and pharmaceutical industry. This study aimed to assess the health-promoting potential of blackthorn fruits from Serbia by examining their chemical composition and in vitro biological activities. Phytochemical analysis of the blackthorn fruit extracts was performed using LC-DAD-ESI-MS. The total phenolic (TPC), total flavonoid (TFC), total anthocyanin (TAC) content, antioxidant capacity, and enzyme inhibitory activities were determined spectrophotometrically. The antimicrobial and prebiotic properties were tested using the broth microdilution method. Twenty-seven phenolics belonging to the classes of hydroxybenzoic and hydroxycinnamic acids derivatives, flavonoids, and anthocyanins were identified, with caffeoylquinic acid as the most abundant compound. Blackthorn extracts were characterized by notable TPCs, TFCs, and TACs, and free radical scavenging and reducing ability. The enzyme inhibitory effects (IC50 = 0.43–2.16 mg/mL) were observed towards α-amylase, α-glucosidase, acetylcholinesterase, and tyrosinase. Blackthorn fruit extracts in a concentration-dependent manner (0.3–5 mg/mL) stimulated the growth of several probiotic microorganisms and their mixtures, especially the yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. Obtained results support further evaluation of the functional food potential of blackthorn fruit. Full article
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12 pages, 2940 KiB  
Article
Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Four Triterpenoids Isolated from Poriae Cutis
by Lijia Zhang, Mengzhou Yin, Xi Feng, Salam A. Ibrahim, Ying Liu and Wen Huang
Foods 2021, 10(12), 3155; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10123155 - 20 Dec 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3076
Abstract
In this study, triterpenoid compounds from Poriae Cutis were separated by high-speed countercurrent chromatography (HSCCC) and identified using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of the purified triterpenoids on [...] Read more.
In this study, triterpenoid compounds from Poriae Cutis were separated by high-speed countercurrent chromatography (HSCCC) and identified using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR). The in vitro anti-inflammatory activities of the purified triterpenoids on RAW 264.7 cells were also investigated. Triterpenoids, poricoic acid B, poricoic acid A, dehydrotrametenolic acid, and dehydroeburicoic acid were obtained; their levels of purity were 90%, 92%, 93%, and 96%, respectively. The results indicated that poricoic acid B had higher anti-inflammatory activity than those of poricoic acid A by inhibiting the generation of NO in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced RAW 264.7 cells. However, dehydrotrametenolic acid and dehydroeburicoic acid had no anti-inflammatory activity. In addition, the production of cytokines (TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6) in cells treated with poricoic acid B decreased in a dose-dependent manner in the concentration range from 10 to 40 μg/mL. The results provide evidence for the use of Poriae Cutis as a natural anti-inflammatory agent in medicines and functional foods. Full article
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Review

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18 pages, 1640 KiB  
Review
Salicornia bigelovii, S. brachiata and S. herbacea: Their Nutritional Characteristics and an Evaluation of Their Potential as Salt Substitutes
by Hani A. Alfheeaid, Dele Raheem, Faiyaz Ahmed, Fahad S. Alhodieb, Zayed D. Alsharari, Jwaher Haji Alhaji, Mona N. BinMowyna, Ariana Saraiva and António Raposo
Foods 2022, 11(21), 3402; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11213402 - 28 Oct 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 4914
Abstract
Excessive sodium (salt) intake in our diet is a main contributor to hypertension and a major risk factor for cardiovascular illnesses. As a result, research has made great efforts to develop salt alternatives, and Salicornia spp. offers a very high potential in the [...] Read more.
Excessive sodium (salt) intake in our diet is a main contributor to hypertension and a major risk factor for cardiovascular illnesses. As a result, research has made great efforts to develop salt alternatives, and Salicornia spp. offers a very high potential in the food industry for its promising functional characteristics. This review focuses on the nutritional profile, health effects and commercial potential of three specific species of the Salicornia genus: S. bigelovii, S. brachiata and S. herbacea. It also addresses the methods that are used to produce them as salt substitutes. Owing to the antinutritional and anti-inflammatory effects of its bioactive compounds, Salicornia spp. can serve as an organic biological preservative in foods with better consumer appeal when compared with chemical preservatives that are common in the food industry. Overall, the commercial use of these underutilized species will help to improve food security. Full article
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22 pages, 1251 KiB  
Review
Polyphenols and Their Metabolites in Renal Diseases: An Overview
by Íris Guerreiro, Cíntia Ferreira-Pêgo, Diogo Carregosa, Cláudia N. Santos, Regina Menezes, Ana S. Fernandes and João G. Costa
Foods 2022, 11(7), 1060; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11071060 - 6 Apr 2022
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 6727
Abstract
Kidney diseases constitute a worldwide public health problem, contributing to morbidity and mortality. The present study aimed to provide an overview of the published data regarding the potential beneficial effects of polyphenols on major kidney diseases, namely acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, [...] Read more.
Kidney diseases constitute a worldwide public health problem, contributing to morbidity and mortality. The present study aimed to provide an overview of the published data regarding the potential beneficial effects of polyphenols on major kidney diseases, namely acute kidney injury, chronic kidney disease, diabetic nephropathy, renal cancer, and drug-induced nephrotoxicity. This study consists of a bibliographical review including in vitro and in vivo studies dealing with the effects of individual compounds. An analysis of the polyphenol metabolome in human urine was also conducted to estimate those compounds that are most likely to be responsible for the kidney protective effects of polyphenols. The biological effects of polyphenols can be highly attributed to the modulation of specific signaling cascades including those involved in oxidative stress responses, anti-inflammation processes, and apoptosis. There is increasing evidence that polyphenols afford great potential in renal disease protection. However, this evidence (especially when in vitro studies are involved) should be considered with caution before its clinical translation, particularly due to the unfavorable pharmacokinetics and extensive metabolization that polyphenols undergo in the human body. Future research should consider polyphenols and their metabolites that indeed reach kidney tissues. Full article
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