Blueberries are a popular summer treat! You can eat them freshly picked or incorporate them into processed foods including fruit pulp, yogurt, candy, ice cream, jams, liqueurs and juices. Anthocyanin is giving the blueberry’s characteristic blue color and at the same time it contributes to numerous health benefits with its powerful antioxidant effect.
They have become one of nature’s all-star superfoods that provide a nutritional punch. There is increasing evidence positively associating anthocyanins with the control of hypertension (Nicoletti et al., 2015).
Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) is the most prevalent component extracted from Matcha tea. Scholey et al. (2012) investigated the effect of 300mg EGCG and showed it can help to increase calmness and reduce stress. This demonstrated that consumption of EGCG promote a more relaxed and attentive state, and has therefore been widely purported for its relaxing and refreshing properties.
Matcha is also a good source of catechins. According to study (Willemst al., 2018), participants consumed three drinks (each drink made with 1g Matcha) the day before and one drink two hours before the 30-min brisk walk were able to enhance exercise-induced fat oxidation.
The tiny little chia is a nutritious ancient seed. It provides sustainable energy and endurance along with a dense source of nutrients such as soluble and insoluble fibre, plant omegas, protein and plentiful of essential minerals, including magnesium, calcium, potassium and phosphorus. According to the USDA (2016), the dietary fiber content in chia seed is higher than flax seed and quinoa seed. This little seed packs heart-healthy fibers which promote inflammation-quelling omega-3 fatty acids by reducing the concentrations of inflammatory signalling substances that are released during your body’s inflammatory response (Zivkovic et al., 2011). It also contains some of the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids (Boone, 2014).
Probiotics are live cultures and health friendly bacteria that positively support the community of microorganisms in our gut as well as improving body immunity. There are hundreds of different types of bacteria species that are naturally and predominantly present in our intestinal microbiota. Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium are the most common probiotic bacteria added in food products.
There are plenty of probiotic products from dairy-based sources such as fermented milk and yoghurt. Probiotic products from non-dairy based sources are recently gaining attention due to the ongoing trend of vegetarianism as well as the need to meet the demands of those who are lactose intolerant (Lye et al., 2016).
Another functional ingredient to support gut health is with probiotics’
friend – prebiotics. They provide the nutrients to probiotics to support their growth
and thrive. Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that selectively
stimulate the growth and multiplication of good bacteria
in our gastro-intestinal tract (Rosica & Levinus, 2016).
The market for prebiotics is growing tremendously as there is increasing demand for products with functional benefits. The rising health-conscious consumers also become the main drivers for the market of prebiotics such as inulin and oligofructose (FOS).
Turmeric is another upcoming health halo functional ingredient. Curcumin, the yellow pigment active ingredient that is present in turmeric has been associated with multiple potential health benefits (Hewlings & Kalman, 2017).
Asian countries have been using turmeric as a traditional medical herb for its natural properties of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects (He et al., 2015) as well as aiding in metabolic syndrome (Panahi et al., 2016). Besides that, oral curcumin supplementation with 2.5g twice daily is likely to reduce pain associated with muscle soreness and may enhance recovery of muscle performance (Nicol et al., 2015).
Collagen is a protein, abundantly present in our body
especially in our skin, joints and bones. By consuming it, it can “enhance our
beauty from within” by helping to improve skin firmness and constantly renewing
skin cells. It has been widely used as a bioactive ingredient in nutri-cosmetic
products, beauty-positioned food and beverages.
Numerous studies have shown that the collagen fibers are depleting with the passing of time, losing thickness and strength, which is correlated with skin aging (Maria et al., 2017). A study revealed that 2.5g or 5.0g of collagen consumed orally once daily for 8 weeks, significantly improved skin elasticity levels in elderly women indicating that collagen has a positive effect on skin aging (Proksch et al., 2014).
Plant protein has made its own way to the mainstream in market. The increasing demand for healthy foods and the trend on reducing meat consumption for either health reasons or to protect the environment, have paved a way for the growth of plant protein ingredients. They are derived from sources such as almond, soy, wheat and peas and could potentially be an interesting competition for the animal proteins. Plant proteins earn a good review on their ease of digestibility and high nutritional value (Mordor Intelligence, 2018).
An adequate dietary protein intake is crucial for growth and repairing body cells as well as the normal functioning of muscles. Plant proteins can be used in a wide array of applications, ranging from dairy alternatives, bakery, confectionery, meat alternatives and sport nutrition products to pharmaceutical applications.
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Mordor Intelligence. (2018). Global Plant Protein Market- By Product Type, Application and Geography-Market Shares, Forecasts And Trends (2019 – 2024). Industry Report. Retrieved from https://www.mordorintelligence.com/industry-reports/plant-protein-market
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Proksch, E., Segger, D., Degwert, J., Schunck, M., Zague, V. & Oesser, S. (2014). Oral Supplementation Of Specific Collagen Peptides Has Beneficial Effects On Human Skin Physiology: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Skin Pharmacol Physiol., 27(1), 47-55. https://doi.org/10.1159/000351376
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