Revista Egitania Sciencia - Volume 16 | ARTICLE


Author: Carla Sousa Silva (, Ana Rita Passos (, Ana Filipa Pereira (, Ana Ferreira Vinha ( e Ana Cláudia Nunes (

Publication: Revista Egitania Sciencia - Volume 16

Habits and customs in modern society have been changing in the recent decades, eating patterns included. Consequently, costumers are more demanding and attentive to the beneficial effects that each food brings. In response to this situation, the food industry has strengthened its research policy, thereby emerging a new type of food, called functional food. This can characterized as common foods that integrate our diet, being however able to promote specific health benefits. Probiotics and prebiotics, sulfur and nitrogen compounds, natural pigments and vitamins, phenolics, polyunsaturated fatty acids and dietary fiber are some of the bioactive compounds found in functional foods. This work aimed to make an extensive literature review supporting the importance of functional foods, regarding the different classes of bioactive compounds which are responsible for their beneficial health effects.
The research for this work was performed using the search engines PubMed, Science Direct, Google Scholar and Scielo. The keywords used were, mostly, functional food, functional ingredients, bioactive components, prebiotics, and consumption. The literature review was based on review articles and several published experimental studies related to the topic of this work, in papers written in English, Spanish and Portuguese. Since this review intended to cover the development of functional foods, since the appearance of the concept of “Functional Food” in Japan in the 80s, this research was limited from 1995 to the present day.

Keywords: functional foods, bioactive compounds; classification, consumer habits; human health

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