Micronutrients: The Key to Good Health

Interrelationships of Phytochemicals, Micronutrients, Gut Microbiome and Health

Author(s): Shashi A. Chiplonkar

Pp: 239-276 (38)

Doi: 10.2174/9789815040258122010009

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Abstract

Many plants and herbs have been known for healing a variety of health disorders since the ancient practice of medicine. Recent advances in laboratory methods have now identified the chemical compounds in plants (phytochemicals) that are responsible for the health-promoting effects. There are thousands of phytochemicals known so far which have no nutritional value but can help in many biological processes in the human body. The phytochemicals mainly include flavonoids, carotenoids, phenolic acids and lignans. They play a role in many body functions and are equally important as micronutrients in maintenance of health and wellbeing. The synergistic actions of phytochemicals and micronutrients as antioxidative and anti-inflammatory agents may contribute towards disease prevention and betterment of health. Food sources of phytochemicals, their role in various metabolic functions, and health effects are described in this chapter. Gut microbiome, which comprises of intestinal microbial population, performs important functions like digestion of food, regulation of immune system and shares an interactive relationship with dietary nutrients and non-nutrients. Phytochemicals that can influence the gut microbiome have recently been studied as adjuvants for the treatment of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and inflammatory diseases. The effect of different phytochemicals on gut microbiota and their beneficial health effects are elucidated. New developments related to potential of probiotics as prophylaxis or their therapeutic use in treating the COVID-19 infection is briefly mentioned.


Keywords: Antioxidants, Bacteroidia, Bifodobacteria, Carotenoids, Colour pigments, Diabetes, Dietary fibre, Dietary sources, Enzymes, Flavonoids, Gut microbiome, Health effects, Lactobacilli, Lycopene, Micronutrients, Obesity, Phytochemicals, Polyphenols, Prebiotics, Probiotics.

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