Nutraceuticals are Food Ingredients that have Medicinal Properties

With the current development of science and technology, the function of food is not just to fulfill daily energy needs, but can also function as a maintainer of health and fitness. It could even go further, namely that food must be able to prevent, cure, or eliminate the negative effects of certain diseases. This means that food must not only meet the body’s basic needs, such as being nutritious and delicious, but also be functional.

The food that we consume daily is generally intended to meet the body’s needs for energy and nutrients, both macro and micro. But along with the times, where the development of degenerative diseases is increasing, the function of food is no longer just to meet energy and nutritional needs but also as a means of maintaining health and for medicinal purposes.

Hippocrates, an Ancient Greek Philosopher known as the Father of Medicine in Ancient Times, once stated a slogan that reads:

"Let your food be your medicine,
and let your medicine be your food."

Make your food your medicine, and your medicine your food. Based on his concept, a new concept called functional food was born.


The physiological properties of functional foods are determined by the bioactive components contained in them, for example dietary fiber, inulin, FOS, antioxidants, PUFA, prebiotics, and probiotics. There are several terms for foods that have a good effect on health, namely: functional food, nutraceutical food, pharma food, designer food, vita food, phytochemical food, aceutical food, health food, natural food, and real food.

Definition of Functional Food

Functional food, also called nutraceuticals, is food that, because of its active component content, can provide health benefits beyond those provided by the nutrients contained therein. Functional foods must meet sensory, nutritional, and physiological requirements. It is believed that functional foods can prevent or reduce degenerative diseases.

According to Goldberg (1994), functional food is food derived from natural ingredients. can and should be consumed as part of the daily diet and has certain functions when ingested, helping to speed up certain processes in the body, such as: enhancing biological defense mechanisms, preventing certain diseases, healing from specific diseases, controlling physical and mental conditions, and inhibiting the aging process. The International Food Information Organization defines functional food as food that provides health benefits beyond basic substances. According to the consensus reached at the 1996 First International Conference on East-West Perspective on Functional Foods, a functional food is a food that, because of its active component content, can provide health benefits beyond those provided by the nutrients contained therein. (Astawan, 2011).


The definition of functional food according to the POM Agency is food that, either naturally or through a process, contains one or more compounds that, based on scientific studies, are considered to have certain physiological functions that are beneficial to health. And consumed like food or drink, it has sensory characteristics in the form of appearance, color, texture, and taste that can be accepted by consumers. In addition to not providing contraindications and not having side effects with the amount of use recommended for the metabolism of other nutrients,

Functional Food Types

Functional foods can be divided into two groups, namely, based on the source and method of processing.

Based on the Source.

Functional food is divided into plant-functional food and animal-functional food. Vegetable functional foods are functional foods derived from plants, for example: oats, bananas, rice bran, algae, soybeans, brown rice, tomatoes, garlic, wine, tea, and so on. Animal functional foods are functional foods derived from animals, for example: fish, collagen, milk, and their processed products.

Depending on the Method of Processing

Functional foods are divided into three groups, namely: natural functional foods, traditional functional foods, and modern functional foods. Natural functional foods are foods that are available in nature and do not undergo processing; for example, fruits and vegetables are eaten fresh. Traditional functional foods are functional foods that are processed traditionally, for example, tempeh, curd, and so on. Modern functional food is functional food that is specially prepared using special planning and technology. An example is food that can be used for pengo therapy.



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