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What Are Nutraceuticals?

 

Let me guess, you’ve never even heard of them, let alone accepted them as life and health enhancing!

Well if it’s any consolation, the term was new to me too, until my curiosity was piqued enough to go look the term up. It seems that the word ‘Nutraceuticals’ (a mash up of the words ‘nutrition’ and ‘pharmaceutical’) was coined in 1989 by a guy named Stephen L. DeFelice, the founder and chairman of FIM, the Foundation for Innovation in Medicine. In addition to the name, (and for clarity) they also offered a description of what a nutraceutical was: ‘a nutraceutical is any substance that may be considered food or part of a food that provides medical or health benefits, including the prevention of disease‘.

So not just food, but healthy or health promoting food!

So some nutraceuticals and their effects are not new at all and more to the point, they’re well known, even though you may not be aware of it.

For example…

  • Vitamin C… prevents Scurvy
  • Folic Acid… greatly reduces the risk of Spina Bifida during pregnancy
  • Lutein… prevents age related Macular Degeneration
  • Calcium & Vitamin D… prevent Osteoporosis
  • Omega 3 fatty acids… prevent heart disease

All of the above are classed as Nutraceuticals because if they are naturally present in foods. They provide medical or health benefits in addition to the nutritional value of the foods in which they are present.

So far, so good, and as research continues, many more vitamins, minerals and elements will be identified as nutraceuticals for their medicinal and healthy effects.

Natural or Vitamin & Mineral Enriched?

Whilst it may be the case that the term nutraceuticals has only been around since 1989, let’s not forget that the natural foods that the term describes have been around forever, so it’s logical to conclude that there are foods that are naturally high in certain vitamins, minerals and compounds that are just as effective as the vitamin enriched/enhanced foods and food supplements that are so beloved by health guru’s today.

Here are some naturally occurring vitamin and minerals that provide medical or health benefits in addition to the nutritional value of the foods in which they are present…

Folic Acid

Broccoli, Asparagus, Spinach, Romaine Lettuce, Oranges, Grapefruit, Bananas, Papaya, Strawberries, lentils, Pinto beans, Kidney Beans, Split Peas, Green Beans, Green Peas, Avocado, Brussels Sprouts…

Vitamin C

Oranges, Bell Peppers, Guava, Dark Leafy Greens, Kiwi Fruit, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Red Cabbage, Strawberries, Lemons, Clementine’s, Grapefruit, Tomatoes, Mange Tout, Papaya…

Lutein

Eggs, Maize (corn), Orange Bell Peppers, kiwi Fruit, Grapes, Spinach, Orange Juice, Zucchini (Courgette or vegetable marrow), Squash, Dark Green Leafy Vegetables…

Calcium

Milk, Yoghurt, Cheese, Broccoli, Kale, Kidney Beans, Chick Peas, Green Beans, Baked Beans, Nuts, Fish, Figs, Dark Leafy Greens, Canned Fish…

Vitamin D

Cod Liver Oil, Oily Fish, Oysters, Eggs, Mushrooms, Eggs (Yolks), Cheese, Beef Liver, Milk, Pork…

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Salmon, Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Shrimps, Tofu, Soybeans, Sardines, Walnuts, Flax Seeds…

Of course, this is just a small collection of natural nutraceuticals, but the number of natural foods that contain medical or health benefitting vitamins and minerals is vast and their numbers are being added to by the day.

The flip side of course, is that whilst there are a vast number of foods that are natural nutraceuticals, there is now a huge market that is now defined as ‘Dietary Supplements’ which are typically sold in pill form. The potential for dietary supplements seems to be huge, with an estimated global market of US$250 billion by 2018.

Unfortunately, the dietary supplement market is largely unregulated, as some countries class them as foods and some class them as drugs. So, as with any product that that purports to provide health benefits, there can be significant product quality issues, especially when many products are sourced or produced internationally, where trading standards and product quality vary greatly and are almost impossible to police.

Still Nutraceuticals, But Still Natural…

Here at the Ultimate Face Place, we’re always looking for an angle on anything natural.

We like natural because it’s good and pure.

Sure, there are all kinds of concoctions whose effectiveness we’re happy to accept, but wherever possible, we’ll go out of our way to find a natural alternative. So with that in mind, we were pretty open minded when we were presented with three nutraceutical recipes that promised us a fast track to Glowing Skin! These recipes it has to be said all erred towards the ‘dietary supplements’ or dietary pills approach, which doesn’t make them bad by any means, but id did prompt us to uncover their naturally occurring equivalents!

So what are these three Glowing Skin Nutraceuticals?

Sulphur

Methyl-sulfonyl-methane to be exact, or MSM between friends! MSM is readily abundant in every tissue in our body but it’s effects diminish with age. By eating fresh, raw plant-based foods or consuming cow’s milk, you should be able to meet this amount daily. Failing that, MSM is available as a dietary supplement.

Nicotinamide

A form of vitamin B3, Nicotinamide or Niacinamide – the non flushing side effect vitamin B3 which has the incredible ability to reverse many common aspects of skin ageing. Available as a dietary supplement or an externally applied cream, Nicotinamide is also naturally present in the following foods: Fish (Cooked Yellow fin Tuna), Chicken & Turkey (Cooked Chicken Breast), Pork (Cooked Lean Chop), Liver (Cooked Lamb Liver), Peanuts (Oil Roasted), Beef (Cooked Lean Rib), Mushrooms (Grilled Portobello), Green Peas (Fresh), Sunflower Seeds, Avocado.

Silica

Silica is well known for it’s rejuvenative properties to your hair and nails, but it is also a powerhouse group of minerals composed of silicon and oxygen which does wonders for your skin as well. Silica is available as a dietary supplement but it is also naturally present in the following foods: Cucumbers, Onions, Whole-wheat, Unrefined Grains, Alfalfa, Celery, Peppers, Carrots, Potatoes, Beetroot, Leafy Vegetables, Bananas, High bran cereal, Raisins (seedless), Green beans (cooked), Carrots (raw, peeled), Bread (wholemeal, wholegrain, white), Mineral water, White rice, Cornflakes

So… Nutraceuticals. There’s no doubt they’re a good thing, not least because they’re already abundant in plenty of natural food sources anyway (Natures medicine cabinet!), but now that their benefits have been identified and are appearing in health food supplements, expect to hear an awful lot more of them in future.

For our part, knowledge is everything and the more we know of the beautifying health benefits of natural foods and therapies, the better choices we’ll make about our health.

As ever, the route to beauty and good health offers many choices. Please choose wisely.


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