Special Issue "Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pedro Mena
Website
Guest Editor
Human Nutrition Unit, Department of Veterinary Science, University of Parma, 43125 Parma, Italy
Interests: polyphenols; metabolites; colonic catabolites; plant bioactives; bioavailability; bioactivity; human intervention studies; individual variation; coffee; cocoa
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Donato Angelino
Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
Department of Food & Drugs, Università degli studi di Parma (UNIPR), Parma, Italy
Interests: in vitro and in vivo bioavailability; bioactive compounds; (poly)phenols; gut microbiota; inflammation; functional foods

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue, “Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health”, should shed light on how phytochemicals or plant bioactives are metabolized and turned into bioavailable molecules that are able to impact different biological processes related to human health. Among the different classes of plant bioactive compounds, phenolic compounds, glucosinolates and other sulfur compounds, carotenoids, alkaloids, and terpenes have shown promising health promotion features in epidemiological and human intervention studies dealing with the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Nevertheless, the elucidation of their metabolic fate and bioavailability is a tipping point to fully unravel the preventive effects of plant bioactives on cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, neurodegenerative disorders, and certain kinds of cancer. Other than correctly evaluating the bioaccessibility of the bioactive(s) from the plant matrix, there is a need of addressing how the colonic microbiota can impact on their chemical structure, as well as on the inter-individual differences in bioavailability and bioefficacy due to the diversity of microbiota composition. Moreover, future research should be focused on the understanding of dose/phytochemical intake–response relationship with pharmacokinetic studies, evaluating proper biomarkers of intake. The design of nutritionally matched control/test foodstuffs is also required to conduct well controlled intervention studies with both animals and human subjects. In vitro investigations using physiologically achievable concentrations of circulating metabolites with appropriate model test systems are also encouraged to give adequate mechanistic insights. On the other hand, foodomics technologies (metabolomics, nutrigenomics, and proteomics) should be used to assess the role of bioactive compounds from a comprehensive perspective. Finally, new communication channels and educational programs able to bring to the general public to the well-defined biological properties of plant-derived bioactive compounds should be implemented.

In conclusion, this Special Issue should review all aspects concerning the metabolism, bioavailability, and biological properties of plant bioactives and attempt to solve current critical gaps. Novel methodologies or out-of-the-box approaches could also complement current knowledge and assist in the study of plant bioactives.

Dr. Pedro Mena
Dr. Donato Angelino
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Dietary plant bioactives
  • Phenolic compounds
  • Carotenoids
  • Glucosinolates and sulfur compounds
  • Alkaloids
  • Colonic metabolism
  • Phase II metabolites
  • Gut microbiota
  • Bioavailability
  • Bioactivity
  • Human intervention trials

Published Papers (24 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Plant Food, Nutrition, and Human Health
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 2157; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12072157 - 20 Jul 2020
Abstract
Phytochemical compounds are non-nutrient secondary metabolites present in plant-based foods, e [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle
PipeNig®-FL, a Fluid Extract of Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum L.) with a High Standardized Content of Trans-β-Caryophyllene, Reduces Lipid Accumulation in 3T3-L1 Preadipocytes and Improves Glucose Uptake in C2C12 Myotubes
Nutrients 2019, 11(11), 2788; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112788 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Trans-β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a natural sesquiterpene hydrocarbon with several important pharmacological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and cardioprotective functions. These properties are mainly due to its selective interaction with the peripherally expressed cannabinoid receptor 2. In addition, BCP activates peroxisome proliferated activator [...] Read more.
Trans-β-caryophyllene (BCP) is a natural sesquiterpene hydrocarbon with several important pharmacological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and cardioprotective functions. These properties are mainly due to its selective interaction with the peripherally expressed cannabinoid receptor 2. In addition, BCP activates peroxisome proliferated activator receptors α and γ and inhibits the Toll-like receptor signaling pathway. Given the growing scientific interest in BCP, the aim of our study was to investigate the metabolic effects of a black pepper extract (PipeNig®-FL), containing a high standardized content of BCP. In particular our interest was focused on its potential activity on lipid accumulation and glucose uptake. The extract PipeNig®-FL was chemically characterized by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and gas chromatography with flame-ionization detection (GC–FID), confirming a high content (814 mg/g) of BCP. Experiments were performed on 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and on C2C12 myotubes. Lipid content following 3T3-L1 adipogenic differentiation was quantified with AdipoRed fluorescence staining. Glucose uptake and GLUT4 membrane translocation were studied in C2C12 myotubes with the fluorescent glucose analog 2-NBDG and by immunofluorescence analysis. Here we show that PipeNig®-FL reduces 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation and lipid accumulation. Moreover, acute exposure of C2C12 myotubes to PipeNig®-FL improves glucose uptake activity and GLUT4 migration. Taken together, these results reveal interesting and novel properties of BCP, suggesting potential applications in the prevention of lipid accumulation and in the improvement of glucose uptake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
5-(Hydroxyphenyl)-γ-Valerolactone-Sulfate, a Key Microbial Metabolite of Flavan-3-ols, Is Able to Reach the Brain: Evidence from Different in Silico, In Vitro and In Vivo Experimental Models
Nutrients 2019, 11(11), 2678; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112678 - 05 Nov 2019
Cited by 10
Abstract
Phenolic compounds have been recognized as promising compounds for the prevention of chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative ones. However, phenolics like flavan-3-ols (F3O) are poorly absorbed along the gastrointestinal tract and structurally rearranged by gut microbiota, yielding smaller and more polar metabolites like phenyl-γ-valerolactones, [...] Read more.
Phenolic compounds have been recognized as promising compounds for the prevention of chronic diseases, including neurodegenerative ones. However, phenolics like flavan-3-ols (F3O) are poorly absorbed along the gastrointestinal tract and structurally rearranged by gut microbiota, yielding smaller and more polar metabolites like phenyl-γ-valerolactones, phenylvaleric acids and their conjugates. The present work investigated the ability of F3O-derived metabolites to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), by linking five experimental models with increasing realism. First, an in silico study examined the physical-chemical characteristics of F3O metabolites to predict those most likely to cross the BBB. Some of these metabolites were then tested at physiological concentrations to cross the luminal and abluminal membranes of brain microvascular endothelial cells, cultured in vitro. Finally, three different in vivo studies in rats injected with pure 5-(3′,4′-dihydroxyphenyl)-γ-valerolactone, and rats and pigs fed grapes or a F3O-rich cocoa extract, respectively, confirmed the presence of 5-(hydroxyphenyl)-γ-valerolactone-sulfate (3′,4′ isomer) in the brain. This work highlighted, with different experimental models, the BBB permeability of one of the main F3O-derived metabolites. It may support the neuroprotective effects of phenolic-rich foods in the frame of the “gut-brain axis”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Catechin and Procyanidin B2 Modulate the Expression of Tight Junction Proteins but Do Not Protect from Inflammation-Induced Changes in Permeability in Human Intestinal Cell Monolayers
Nutrients 2019, 11(10), 2271; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11102271 - 21 Sep 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
The possibility of counteracting inflammation-related barrier defects with dietary compounds such as (poly)phenols has raised much interest, but information is still scarce. We have investigated here if (+)-catechin (CAT) and procyanidin B2 (PB2), two main dietary polyphenols, protect the barrier [...] Read more.
The possibility of counteracting inflammation-related barrier defects with dietary compounds such as (poly)phenols has raised much interest, but information is still scarce. We have investigated here if (+)-catechin (CAT) and procyanidin B2 (PB2), two main dietary polyphenols, protect the barrier function of intestinal cells undergoing inflammatory stress. The cell model adopted consisted of co-cultured Caco-2 and HT29-MTX cells, while inflammatory conditions were mimicked through the incubation of epithelial cells with the conditioned medium of activated macrophages (MCM). The epithelial barrier function was monitored through trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER), and ROS production was assessed with dichlorofluorescein, while the expression of tight-junctional proteins and signal transduction pathways were evaluated with Western blot. The results indicated that MCM produced significant oxidative stress, the activation of NF-κB and MAPK pathways, a decrease in occludin and ZO-1 expression, and an increase in claudin-7 (CL-7) expression, while TEER was markedly lowered. Neither CAT nor PB2 prevented oxidative stress, transduction pathways activation, ZO-1 suppression, or TEER decrease. However, PB2 prevented the decrease in occludin expression and both polyphenols produced a huge increase in CL-7 abundance. It is concluded that, under the conditions adopted, CAT and PB2 do not prevent inflammation-dependent impairment of the epithelial barrier function of intestinal cell monolayers. However, the two compounds modify the expression of tight-junctional proteins and, in particular, markedly increase the expression of CL-7. These insights add to a better understanding of the potential biological activity of these major dietary flavan-3-ols at intestinal level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
A Strategy to Deliver Precise Oral Doses of the Glucosinolates or Isothiocyanates from Moringa oleifera Leaves for Use in Clinical Studies
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1547; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071547 - 09 Jul 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
The tropical tree Moringa oleifera produces high yields of protein-rich leaf biomass, is widely used as a food source, contains an abundance of phytochemicals, and thus has great potential for chronic disease prevention and perhaps, treatment. We have developed and characterized standardized ways [...] Read more.
The tropical tree Moringa oleifera produces high yields of protein-rich leaf biomass, is widely used as a food source, contains an abundance of phytochemicals, and thus has great potential for chronic disease prevention and perhaps, treatment. We have developed and characterized standardized ways of preparing aqueous “teas” from moringa leaves to deliver precisely calibrated levels of phytochemicals for use in clinical trials. These phytochemicals, especially the glucosinolate glucomoringin and the isothiocyanate moringin, produced from it following hydrolysis by the enzyme myrosinase, provide potent anti-inflammatory and cytoprotective indirect antioxidant activity. The taste of both hot and cold teas is palatable without the need for flavor masking. These teas can be easily and reproducibly prepared in underserved tropical regions of the world where moringa is cultivated. Isothiocyanate yield from a cold extraction was rapid and essentially complete after 30 min and its anti-inflammatory potential is comparable to that of equimolar purified moringin. A preparation similar to this may be safe to consume with respect to its bacterial titer even after 48 h without refrigeration. Thus, facile delivery of moringa tea to both adults and children for clinical evaluation of their effects on such conditions as autism, diabetes, and hypertension, is now possible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Bioavailability of Sulforaphane Following Ingestion of Glucoraphanin-Rich Broccoli Sprout and Seed Extracts with Active Myrosinase: A Pilot Study of the Effects of Proton Pump Inhibitor Administration
Nutrients 2019, 11(7), 1489; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11071489 - 29 Jun 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
We examined whether gastric acidity would affect the activity of myrosinase, co-delivered with glucoraphanin (GR), to convert GR to sulforaphane (SF). A broccoli seed and sprout extract (BSE) rich in GR and active myrosinase was delivered before and after participants began taking the [...] Read more.
We examined whether gastric acidity would affect the activity of myrosinase, co-delivered with glucoraphanin (GR), to convert GR to sulforaphane (SF). A broccoli seed and sprout extract (BSE) rich in GR and active myrosinase was delivered before and after participants began taking the anti-acid omeprazole, a potent proton pump inhibitor. Gastric acidity appears to attenuate GR bioavailability, as evidenced by more SF and its metabolites being excreted after participants started taking omeprazole. Enteric coating enhanced conversion of GR to SF, perhaps by sparing myrosinase from the acidity of the stomach. There were negligible effects of age, sex, ethnicity, BMI, vegetable consumption, and bowel movement frequency and quality. Greater body mass correlated with reduced conversion efficiency. Changes in the expression of 20 genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells were evaluated as possible pharmacodynamic indicators. When grouped by their primary functions based on a priori knowledge, expression of genes associated with inflammation decreased non-significantly, and those genes associated with cytoprotection, detoxification and antioxidant functions increased significantly with bioavailability. Using principal components analysis, component loadings of the changes in gene expression confirmed these groupings in a sensitivity analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Acute Effect of a Single Dose of Tomato Sofrito on Plasmatic Inflammatory Biomarkers in Healthy Men
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 851; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040851 - 15 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Sofrito is a Mediterranean tomato-based sauce that typically also contains olive oil, onion, and garlic. The preparation of sofrito modifies the bioactive compounds (carotenoids and polyphenols) in the ingredients to more bioavailable forms, promoting cis-lycopene formation and polyphenol bioaccessibility. To evaluate the [...] Read more.
Sofrito is a Mediterranean tomato-based sauce that typically also contains olive oil, onion, and garlic. The preparation of sofrito modifies the bioactive compounds (carotenoids and polyphenols) in the ingredients to more bioavailable forms, promoting cis-lycopene formation and polyphenol bioaccessibility. To evaluate the health benefits of this cooking technique, the effect of consuming an acute dose of sofrito on the inflammatory status was studied. In a clinical trial, 22 healthy male subjects consumed a single dose of sofrito (240 g/70 kg) after three days without ingesting any tomato products and following a low-antioxidant diet the day before the intervention. Plasma carotenoids and total polyphenol excretion (TPE) were evaluated, as well as the inflammatory biomarkers C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). After the sofrito intake, a significant decrease in CRP (p = 0.010) and TNF-α (p = 0.011) was observed, but only TNF-α was inversely correlated with an increase in TPE and plasma β-carotene (not the major carotenoid, lycopene). The positive health effects of this tomato-based product may be attributed not only to lycopene, but to the bioactive compounds of all the ingredients. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Short-Term Dietary Intervention with Cooked but Not Raw Brassica Leafy Vegetables Increases Telomerase Activity in CD8+ Lymphocytes in a Randomized Human Trial
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 786; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040786 - 05 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Telomerase in T lymphocytes is dynamic and limited evidence from epidemiological studies indicates that the enzyme can be modulated in peripheral lymphocytes by dietary and lifestyle factors. The differential effect of dietary intervention on T cell subsets has not been investigated so far. [...] Read more.
Telomerase in T lymphocytes is dynamic and limited evidence from epidemiological studies indicates that the enzyme can be modulated in peripheral lymphocytes by dietary and lifestyle factors. The differential effect of dietary intervention on T cell subsets has not been investigated so far. Brassica vegetables are known for their multiple beneficial effects on human health, and here, the effect of a five-day short-term intervention with raw or cooked leaves of Brassica carinata on telomerase activity in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells from 22 healthy volunteers was investigated in a randomized single-blind, controlled crossover study. Blood samples were collected before and after intervention, and CD4+/CD8+ T lymphocytes were isolated. Telomerase activity was quantified using the TRAP-ELISA assay. Intervention with both preparations led to a marginal increase in telomerase activity of CD4+ cells compared to the baseline level. In CD8+ cells, a significant increase in telomerase activity (25%, p < 0.05) was seen after intervention with the cooked material. An increase in telomerase activity in CD8+ cells of healthy volunteers could be regarded as beneficial in terms of helping with the cell-mediated immune response. Whether a Brassica intervention has long-term effects on telomere extension in specific T cell subsets needs to be determined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Gamma-oryzanol Prevents LPS-induced Brain Inflammation and Cognitive Impairment in Adult Mice
Nutrients 2019, 11(4), 728; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11040728 - 29 Mar 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Background: Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the main food source for more than half of humankind. Rice is rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants with several biological activities; among these compounds, the presence of γ-oryzanol is noteworthy. The present study aims to explore [...] Read more.
Background: Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is the main food source for more than half of humankind. Rice is rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants with several biological activities; among these compounds, the presence of γ-oryzanol is noteworthy. The present study aims to explore the effects of γ-oryzanol on cognitive performance in a mouse model of neuroinflammation and cognitive alterations. Methods: Mice received 100 mg/kg γ-oryzanol (ORY) or vehicle once daily for 21 consecutive days and were then exposed to an inflammatory stimulus elicited by lipopolysaccharide (LPS). A novel object recognition test and mRNA expression of antioxidant and neuroinflammatory markers in the hippocampus were evaluated. Results: ORY treatment was able to improve cognitive performance during the neuroinflammatory response. Furthermore, phase II antioxidant enzymes such as heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and NADPH-dehydrogenase-quinone-1 (NQO1) were upregulated in the hippocampi of ORY and ORY+LPS mice. Lastly, γ-oryzanol showed a strong anti-inflammatory action by downregulating inflammatory genes after LPS treatment. Conclusion: These results suggest that chronic consumption of γ-oryzanol can revert the LPS-induced cognitive and memory impairments by promoting hippocampal antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecular responses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Whole Grain Wheat and Rye Intake Reflected by Adipose Tissue Alkylresorcinols and Breast Cancer: A Case-Cohort Study
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020465 - 22 Feb 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Whole grain rye (WGR) and whole grain wheat (WGW) have been suggested to protect against the development of breast cancer. In this study, we estimated long-term intake of WGR and WGW, using both a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and alkylresorcinol concentrations in adipose [...] Read more.
Whole grain rye (WGR) and whole grain wheat (WGW) have been suggested to protect against the development of breast cancer. In this study, we estimated long-term intake of WGR and WGW, using both a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) and alkylresorcinol concentrations in adipose tissue biopsies, in relation to the risk of developing invasive breast cancer in a case-cohort study (n = 414 in the case group, n = 933 in the subcohort group) on the Danish “Diet, Cancer and Health” cohort. The median follow-up time of the subcohort was 5.3 years. Total WGR and WGW intake estimated with FFQ or reflected by total alkylresorcinol concentration in adipose tissue was not significantly associated with risk of breast cancer. However, after adjustment for total WGR and WGW intake, women in the highest quartile of relative WGR intake, reflected by the alkylresorcinol C17:0/C21:0 ratio, had a higher risk of overall breast cancer and estrogen-receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer than women in the lowest quartile of relative WGR intake, while the risk of estrogen-receptor-negative (ER-) breast cancer incidence was unaffected. Similar results were obtained with the FFQ data. Based on these data, further investigation of the role of specific grain types in reducing or increasing breast cancer risk, and their overall impact on health, is warranted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Beneficial Effects of an Aged Black Garlic Extract in the Metabolic and Vascular Alterations Induced by a High Fat/Sucrose Diet in Male Rats
Nutrients 2019, 11(1), 153; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11010153 - 12 Jan 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Aged black garlic (ABG) is a functional food with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Recent studies also report its beneficial metabolic effects in a context of obesity or diabetes, although the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. The aim of this work was to analyze [...] Read more.
Aged black garlic (ABG) is a functional food with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Recent studies also report its beneficial metabolic effects in a context of obesity or diabetes, although the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. The aim of this work was to analyze the effects of an ABG extract in the vascular and metabolic alterations induced by a high-fat/sucrose diet in rats. For this purpose, male Sprague–Dawley rats were fed either a standard chow (controls; n = 12) or a high-fat/sucrose diet (HFD; n = 24) for 16 weeks. From week 8 on, half of the HFD rats were treated with a commercial ABG extract concentrated in S-allyl cysteine and melanoidins (ABG10+®; 250 mg/kg daily by gavage; 5 mL/kg). ABG10+®-treated rats showed lower mean caloric intake, body weight, triglycerides, low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c), insulin and leptin serum concentrations and higher high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c) and adiponectin serum concentrations than non-treated rats. In the hypothalamus, ABG10+® treatment induced an increase in the gene expression of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and a decrease in leptin receptor (ObR) mRNA levels. No significant changes were found in visceral adipose tissue except for an overexpression of β3-adrenergic receptor (β3-ADR) in ABG-treated rats. In subcutaneous adipose tissue, ABG10+® treatment decreased adipose weight and downregulated the gene expression of PPAR-γ, LPL, ObR and HSL. In brown adipose tissue, an overexpression of InsR, GLUT-4, UCP-1 and β3-ADR in ABG10+®-treated rats was found, whereas PPAR-γ mRNA levels were significantly decreased. Regarding vascular function, ABG10+® treatment attenuated the obesity-induced vasoconstriction in response to potassium chloride both in presence/absence of perivascular adipose tissue (PVAT). On the contrary, aorta segments from ABG-treated rats showed and improved relaxation in response to acetylcholine only when PVAT was present, with this fact possible being related to the decreased gene expression of proinflammatory cytokines in this tissue. In conclusion, ABG10+® administration partially improves the metabolic and vascular alterations induced by a high-fat/high-sucrose diet in rats through modifications in the gene expression of proteins and neuropeptides involved in inflammation, fat metabolism and food intake regulation. Further studies are required to assess the bioavailability of ABG between rats and humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimized Extraction by Response Surface Methodology Used for the Characterization and Quantification of Phenolic Compounds in Whole Red Grapes (Vitis vinifera)
Nutrients 2018, 10(12), 1931; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121931 - 05 Dec 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Scientific research has focused on the characterization of bioactive polyphenols from grape seeds and skins, and the pulp has often been overlooked. However, since the beneficial properties of grapes are associated with the consumption of whole fruit, a full extraction and posterior characterization [...] Read more.
Scientific research has focused on the characterization of bioactive polyphenols from grape seeds and skins, and the pulp has often been overlooked. However, since the beneficial properties of grapes are associated with the consumption of whole fruit, a full extraction and posterior characterization of the phenolic compounds in whole grapes is required to identify the involved bioactive compounds. Such methodologies are not currently available for the whole edible parts of red grapes. This study aimed to determine the best polyphenol extraction conditions of whole red grapes, and apply the method to characterize and quantify the polyphenol composition of three different grapes. The optimized conditions were 80 mL/g, 65% methanol (1% formic acid), 72 °C, and 100 min under agitation of 500 rpm. Also, methanol and ethanol were compared as extraction solvents, and methanol achieved statistically higher extraction rates for anthocyanins. The results of this work suggest a higher quantification of phenolic compounds when red grapes are analyzed whole, including the seeds, pulp, and skin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Sulforaphane on Glyoxalase I Expression and Activity in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells
Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1773; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111773 - 15 Nov 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Studies demonstrate that the potential health-beneficial effect of sulforaphane (SR), a compound formed in broccoli, is the result of a number of mechanisms including upregulation of phase two detoxification enzymes. Recent studies suggest that SR increases expression/activity of glyoxalase 1 (Glo1), an enzyme [...] Read more.
Studies demonstrate that the potential health-beneficial effect of sulforaphane (SR), a compound formed in broccoli, is the result of a number of mechanisms including upregulation of phase two detoxification enzymes. Recent studies suggest that SR increases expression/activity of glyoxalase 1 (Glo1), an enzyme involved in the degradation of methylglyoxal, is major precursor of advanced glycation end products. Those compounds are associated with diabetes complications and other age-related diseases. In this study, the effect of SR on the expression/activity of Glo1 in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 8 healthy volunteers was investigated. PBMCs were isolated and incubated with SR (2.5 μM-concentration achievable by consuming a broccoli portion) for 24 h and 48 h. Glo1 activity/expression, reduced glutathione (GSH), and glutathione-S-transferase gene expression were measured. Glo1 activity was not affected while after 48 h a slight but significant increase of its gene expression (1.03-fold) was observed. GSTP1 expression slightly increased after 24 h incubation (1.08-fold) while the expressions of isoform GSTT2 and GSTM2 were below the limit of detection. GSH sharply decreased, suggesting the formation of GSH-SR adducts that may have an impact SR availability. Those results suggest that a regular exposure to SR by broccoli consumption or SR supplements may enhance Glo1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Are Raw Brassica Vegetables Healthier Than Cooked Ones? A Randomized, Controlled Crossover Intervention Trial on the Health-Promoting Potential of Ethiopian Kale
Nutrients 2018, 10(11), 1622; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111622 - 02 Nov 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
The present human intervention trial investigated the health-promoting potential of B. carinata, with a focus on effects of thermal processing on bioactivity. Twenty-two healthy subjects consumed a B. carinata preparation from raw (allyl isothiocyanate-containing) or cooked (no allyl isothiocyanate) leaves for five days [...] Read more.
The present human intervention trial investigated the health-promoting potential of B. carinata, with a focus on effects of thermal processing on bioactivity. Twenty-two healthy subjects consumed a B. carinata preparation from raw (allyl isothiocyanate-containing) or cooked (no allyl isothiocyanate) leaves for five days in a randomized crossover design. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were exposed to aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), with or without metabolic activation using human S9 mix, and subsequently analyzed for DNA damage using the comet assay. Plasma was analyzed for total antioxidant capacity and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) levels. Cooked B. carinata significantly reduced DNA damage induced by AFB1 as compared to baseline levels (+S9 mix: 35%, −S9 mix: 33%, p ≤ 0.01, respectively). Raw B. carinata only reduced DNA damage by S9-activated AFB1 by 21% (p = 0.08). PGE2 plasma levels were significantly reduced in subjects after consuming raw B. carinata. No changes in plasma antioxidant capacity were detectable. A balanced diet, including raw and cooked Brassica vegetables, might be suited to fully exploit the health-promoting potential. These results also advocate the promotion of B. carinata cultivation in Eastern Africa as a measure to combat effects of unavoidable aflatoxin exposure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
African Nightshade (Solanum scabrum Mill.): Impact of Cultivation and Plant Processing on Its Health Promoting Potential as Determined in a Human Liver Cell Model
Nutrients 2018, 10(10), 1532; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101532 - 17 Oct 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Plant cultivation and processing may impact nutrient and phytochemical content of vegetables. The present study aimed at determining the influence of cultivation and processing on the health promoting capacity of African nightshade (Solanum scabrum Mill.) leaves, an indigenous vegetable, rich in nutrients [...] Read more.
Plant cultivation and processing may impact nutrient and phytochemical content of vegetables. The present study aimed at determining the influence of cultivation and processing on the health promoting capacity of African nightshade (Solanum scabrum Mill.) leaves, an indigenous vegetable, rich in nutrients and phytochemicals. Anti-genotoxicity against the human liver carcinogen aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) as determined by the comet assay and radical oxygen species (ROS) scavenging capacity of ethanolic and aqueous extracts were investigated in human derived liver (HepG2) cells. ROS scavenging activity was assessed using electron paramagnetic spin resonance and quantification of ARE/Nrf2 mediated gene expression. The cultivation was done under different environmental conditions. The processing included fermentation and cooking; postharvest ultraviolet irradiation (UV-C) treatment was also investigated. Overall, S. scabrum extracts showed strong health promoting potential, the highest potential was observed with the fermented extract, which showed a 60% reduction of AFB1 induced DNA damage and a 38% reduction in FeSO4 induced oxidative stress. The content of total polyphenols, carotenoids and chlorophylls was indeed affected by cultivation and processing. Based on the present in vitro findings consumption of S. scabrum leaves could be further encouraged, preferentially after cooking or fermentation of the plant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Effect of Moringa oleifera Leaf Powder on Postprandial Blood Glucose Response: In Vivo Study on Saharawi People Living in Refugee Camps
Nutrients 2018, 10(10), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10101494 - 12 Oct 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
The hypoglycemic effect in humans of Moringa oleifera (MO) leaf powder has, to date, been poorly investigated. We assessed the chemical composition of MO leaf powder produced at Saharawi refugee camps, its in vitro ability to inhibit α-amylase activity, and its sensory acceptability [...] Read more.
The hypoglycemic effect in humans of Moringa oleifera (MO) leaf powder has, to date, been poorly investigated. We assessed the chemical composition of MO leaf powder produced at Saharawi refugee camps, its in vitro ability to inhibit α-amylase activity, and its sensory acceptability in food. We then evaluated its effect on postprandial glucose response by randomly administering, on 2 different days, a traditional meal supplemented with 20 g of MO leaf powder (MOR20), or not (control meal, CNT), to 17 Saharawi diabetics and 10 healthy subjects. Capillary glycaemia was measured immediately before the meal and then at 30 min intervals for 3 h. In the diabetic subjects the postprandial glucose response peaked earlier with MOR20 compared to CNT and with lower increments at 90, 120, and 150 min. The mean glycemic meal response with MOR20 was lower than with CNT. The healthy subjects showed no differences. Thus, MO leaf powder could be a hypoglycemic herbal drug. However, given the poor taste acceptability of the 20 g MO meal, lower doses should be evaluated. Moreover, the hypoglycemic effects of MO leaf powder should also be demonstrated by trials evaluating its long-term effects on glycaemia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Nontoxic Glucomoringin-Isothiocyanate (GMG-ITC) Rich Soluble Extract Induces Apoptosis and Inhibits Proliferation of Human Prostate Adenocarcinoma Cells (PC-3)
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1174; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091174 - 27 Aug 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
The incidence of prostate cancer malignancy along with other cancer types is increasing worldwide, resulting in high mortality rate due to lack of effective medications. Moringa oleifera has been used for the treatment of communicable and non-communicable ailments across tropical countries, yet, little [...] Read more.
The incidence of prostate cancer malignancy along with other cancer types is increasing worldwide, resulting in high mortality rate due to lack of effective medications. Moringa oleifera has been used for the treatment of communicable and non-communicable ailments across tropical countries, yet, little has been documented regarding its effect on prostate cancer. We evaluated the acute toxicity and apoptosis inducing effect of glucomoringin-isothiocyanate rich soluble extracts (GMG-ITC-RSE) from M. oleifera in vivo and in vitro, respectively. Glucomoringin was isolated, identified, and characterized using fundamental analytical chemistry tools where Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, murine fibroblast (3T3), and human prostate adenocarcinoma cells (PC-3) were used for acute toxicity and bioassays experiments. GMG-ITC-RSE did not instigate adverse toxic reactions to the animals even at high doses (2000 mg/kg body weight) and affected none of the vital organs in the rats. The extract exhibited high levels of safety in 3T3 cells, where more than 90% of the cells appeared viable when treated with the extract in a time-dependent manner even at high dose (250 µg/mL). GMG-ITC-RSE significantly triggered morphological aberrations distinctive to apoptosis observed under microscope. These findings obviously revealed the putative safety of GMG-ITC-RSE in vivo and in vitro, in addition to its anti-proliferative effect on PC-3 cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessArticle
Induction of Apoptosis and Cytotoxicity by Isothiocyanate Sulforaphene in Human Hepatocarcinoma HepG2 Cells
Nutrients 2018, 10(6), 718; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10060718 - 04 Jun 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
Glucoraphenin, a glucosinolate present in large quantities in radish is hydrolysed by myrosinase to form the isothiocyanate sulforaphene, which is believed to be responsible for its chemopreventive activity; however, the underlying mechanisms of action have not been investigated, particularly in human cell lines. [...] Read more.
Glucoraphenin, a glucosinolate present in large quantities in radish is hydrolysed by myrosinase to form the isothiocyanate sulforaphene, which is believed to be responsible for its chemopreventive activity; however, the underlying mechanisms of action have not been investigated, particularly in human cell lines. The aim of the study is to assess the cytotoxicity of sulforaphene in HepG2 cells and evaluate its potential to enhance apoptosis. The cytotoxicity of sulforaphene in HepG2 cells was carried out ensuing an initial screening with two other cell lines, MFC-7 and HT-29, where sulforaphene displayed highest toxicity in HepG2 cells following incubation at 24, 48 and 72 h. In contrast, the intact glucosinolate showed no cytotoxicity. Morphological studies indicated that sulforaphene stimulated apoptosis as exemplified by cell shrinkage, blebbing, chromatin condensation, and nuclear fragmentation. The Annexin V assay revealed significant increases in apoptosis and the same treatment increased the activity of caspases -3/7 and -9, whereas a decline in caspase-8 was observed. Impairment of cell proliferation was indicated by cell cycle arrest at the Sub G0/G1 phase as compared to the other phases. It may be concluded that sulforaphene, but not its parent glucosinolate, glucoraphenin, causes cytotoxicity and stimulates apoptosis in HepG2 cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Impact of Foods and Dietary Supplements Containing Hydroxycinnamic Acids on Cardiometabolic Biomarkers: A Systematic Review to Explore Inter-Individual Variability
Nutrients 2019, 11(8), 1805; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11081805 - 05 Aug 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Plant-based diets rich in bioactive compounds such as polyphenols have been shown to positively modulate the risk of cardiometabolic (CM) diseases. The inter-individual variability in the response to these bioactives may affect the findings. This systematic review aimed to summarize findings from existing [...] Read more.
Plant-based diets rich in bioactive compounds such as polyphenols have been shown to positively modulate the risk of cardiometabolic (CM) diseases. The inter-individual variability in the response to these bioactives may affect the findings. This systematic review aimed to summarize findings from existing randomized clinical trials (RCTs) evaluating the effect of hydroxycinnamic acids (HCAs) on markers of CM health in humans. Literature searches were performed in PubMed and the Web of Science. RCTs on acute and chronic supplementation of HCA-rich foods/extracts on CM biomarkers were included. Forty-four RCTs (21 acute and 23 chronic) met inclusion criteria. Comparisons were made between RCTs, including assessments based on population health status. Of the 44 RCTs, only seven performed analyses on a factor exploring inter-individual response to HCA consumption. Results demonstrated that health status is a potentially important effect modifier as RCTs with higher baseline cholesterol, blood pressure and glycaemia demonstrated greater overall effectiveness, which was also found in studies where specific subgroup analyses were performed. Thus, the effect of HCAs on CM risk factors may be greater in individuals at higher CM risk, although future studies in these populations are needed, including those on other potential determinants of inter-individual variability. PROSPERO, registration number CRD42016050790. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Systematic Review on Polyphenol Intake and Health Outcomes: Is there Sufficient Evidence to Define a Health-Promoting Polyphenol-Rich Dietary Pattern?
Nutrients 2019, 11(6), 1355; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061355 - 16 Jun 2019
Cited by 22
Abstract
Growing evidence support association between polyphenol intake and reduced risk for chronic diseases, even if there is a broad debate about the effective amount of polyphenols able to exert such protective effect. The present systematic review provides an overview of the last 10-year [...] Read more.
Growing evidence support association between polyphenol intake and reduced risk for chronic diseases, even if there is a broad debate about the effective amount of polyphenols able to exert such protective effect. The present systematic review provides an overview of the last 10-year literature on the evaluation of polyphenol intake and its association with specific disease markers and/or endpoints. An estimation of the mean total polyphenol intake has been performed despite the large heterogeneity of data reviewed. In addition, the contribution of dietary sources was considered, suggesting tea, coffee, red wine, fruit and vegetables as the main products providing polyphenols. Total flavonoids and specific subclasses, but not total polyphenols, have been apparently associated with a low risk of diabetes, cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. However, large variability in terms of methods for the evaluation and quantification of polyphenol intake, markers and endpoints considered, makes it still difficult to establish an evidence-based reference intake for the whole class and subclass of compounds. Nevertheless, the critical mass of data available seem to strongly suggest the protective effect of a polyphenol-rich dietary pattern even if further well targeted and methodologically sound research should be encouraged in order to define specific recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Sorting out the Value of Cruciferous Sprouts as Sources of Bioactive Compounds for Nutrition and Health
Nutrients 2019, 11(2), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11020429 - 19 Feb 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Edible sprouts with germinating seeds of a few days of age are naturally rich in nutrients and other bioactive compounds. Among them, the cruciferous (Brassicaceae) sprouts stand out due to their high contents of glucosinolates (GLSs) and phenolic compounds. In order to obtain [...] Read more.
Edible sprouts with germinating seeds of a few days of age are naturally rich in nutrients and other bioactive compounds. Among them, the cruciferous (Brassicaceae) sprouts stand out due to their high contents of glucosinolates (GLSs) and phenolic compounds. In order to obtain sprouts enriched in these phytochemicals, elicitation is being increasing used as a sustainable practice. Besides, the evidence regarding the bioavailability and the biological activity of these compounds after their dietary intake has also attracted growing interest in recent years, supporting the intake of the natural food instead of enriched ingredients or extracts. Also, there is a growing interest regarding their uses, consumption, and applications for health and wellbeing, in different industrial sectors. In this context, the present review aims to compile and update the available knowledge on the fundamental aspects of production, enrichment in composition, and the benefits upon consumption of diverse edible cruciferous sprouts, which are sources of phenolic compounds and glucosinolates, as well as the evidence on their biological actions in diverse pathophysiological situations and the molecular pathways involved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Green Tea Consumption and Risk of Breast Cancer and Recurrence—A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Observational Studies
Nutrients 2018, 10(12), 1886; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10121886 - 03 Dec 2018
Cited by 15
Abstract
Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women and several factors are involved in its onset. Green tea (GT) has been shown to have potential beneficial effects on different types of cancer. The aim of this review was to evaluate the [...] Read more.
Breast cancer (BC) is the most common cancer in women and several factors are involved in its onset. Green tea (GT) has been shown to have potential beneficial effects on different types of cancer. The aim of this review was to evaluate the association between GT regular consumption and risk of BC in women. The risk of BC recurrence and risk of BC in relation to menopausal status were also evaluated. A literature search of PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science was conducted. Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines were followed to perform the systematic review and meta-analysis. Full texts were downloaded for 40 studies; however, only 13 records were included in the meta-analysis. Eight were cohort studies and five were case-control studies. The pooled sample consisted of 163,810 people. An inverse statistically significant relationship between GT and BC risk, with an Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.85 ((95% CI = 0.80–0.92), p = 0.000)), was found. Egger’s linear regression test did not show a potential publication bias (intercept 0.33, t = 0.40, p = 0.695), which was also confirmed by the symmetry of the funnel plot. Moreover, no high statistical heterogeneity (Chi2 = 31.55, df = 13, I2 = 58.79%, p = 0.003) was found. The results of this meta-analysis showed a potential protective effect of GT consumption on BC, especially for BC recurrence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Protective Effect of Glucosinolates Hydrolytic Products in Neurodegenerative Diseases (NDDs)
Nutrients 2018, 10(5), 580; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10050580 - 08 May 2018
Cited by 13
Abstract
Crucifer vegetables, Brassicaceae and other species of the order Brassicales, e.g., Moringaceae that are commonly consumed as spice and food, have been reported to have potential benefits for the treatment and prevention of several health disorders. Though epidemiologically inconclusive, investigations have shown that [...] Read more.
Crucifer vegetables, Brassicaceae and other species of the order Brassicales, e.g., Moringaceae that are commonly consumed as spice and food, have been reported to have potential benefits for the treatment and prevention of several health disorders. Though epidemiologically inconclusive, investigations have shown that consumption of those vegetables may result in reducing and preventing the risks associated with neurodegenerative disease development and may also exert other biological protections in humans. The neuroprotective effects of these vegetables have been ascribed to their secondary metabolites, glucosinolates (GLs), and their related hydrolytic products, isothiocyanates (ITCs) that are largely investigated for their various medicinal effects. Extensive pre-clinical studies have revealed more than a few molecular mechanisms of action elucidating multiple biological effects of GLs hydrolytic products. This review summarizes the most significant and up-to-date in vitro and in vivo neuroprotective actions of sulforaphane (SFN), moringin (MG), phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), 6-(methylsulfinyl) hexyl isothiocyanate (6-MSITC) and erucin (ER) in neurodegenerative diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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Open AccessReview
Nutraceutical or Pharmacological Potential of Moringa oleifera Lam.
Nutrients 2018, 10(3), 343; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10030343 - 12 Mar 2018
Cited by 42
Abstract
Moringa oleifera Lam. (M. oleifera), which belongs to the Moringaceae family, is a perennial deciduous tropical tree, and native to the south of the Himalayan Mountains in northern India. M. oleifera is rich in proteins, vitamin A, minerals, essential amino acids, [...] Read more.
Moringa oleifera Lam. (M. oleifera), which belongs to the Moringaceae family, is a perennial deciduous tropical tree, and native to the south of the Himalayan Mountains in northern India. M. oleifera is rich in proteins, vitamin A, minerals, essential amino acids, antioxidants, and flavonoids, as well as isothiocyanates. The extracts from M. oleifera exhibit multiple nutraceutical or pharmacological functions including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, hepatoprotective, neuroprotective, hypoglycemic, and blood lipid-reducing functions. The beneficial functions of M. oleifera are strongly associated with its phytochemicals such as flavonoids or isothiocyanates with bioactivity. In this review, we summarize the research progress related to the bioactivity and pharmacological mechanisms of M. oleifera in the prevention and treatment of a series of chronic diseases—including inflammatory diseases, neuro-dysfunctional diseases, diabetes, and cancers—which will provide a reference for its potential application in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases or health promotion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Food, Nutrition and Human Health)
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