In view of the fact that Europe is becoming more and more aware of what ingredients can be found in food and how what we eat affects our health – the subject of functional food is becoming more and more popular.
Introduction -Europers are highly aware of the importance of food and its relationship to health.This translates into more and more importance and concern for components, nutritional values and food composition.Due to the prolonged average life expectancy in Europe, with the participation of those who want to stay healthier for longer, a huge consumer demand has been created.There are two new trends among consumers.
On the one hand, there is a great demand for functional food, offering real health benefits, and on the other hand there is equally strong demand for fresh, more natural and local products.Convenience and quality are equal arguments when choosing food.With the increase in demand for traditional, naturally healthy food, an increase in the production of functional foods rich in vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants, such as selenium, has been noted.
Food companies invest in functional food because strong social trends are heading towards healthy food offering additional benefits, such as improving health, wellness and quality of life.Food companies not only adapted their strategies and their communication to health awareness, to consumer preferences, but also introduced changes in the process of developing innovative solutions.
What is functional food?
The growing amount of scientific evidence supports the hypothesis that some food products and food ingredients can have a beneficial effect on the storage of essential nutrients.These food products are intended for consumption as a component of a normal diet, but they allow health support or reduce the risk of disease.Food products can be considered functional if along with their basic nutritional properties they have a beneficial effect on one or more functions of the body.They must improve the general and physical condition and / or reduce the risk of disease progression.The intake and form of functional foods should be like the foods normally consumed.Therefore, it can not be taken in the form of tablets or capsules and does not require increased consumption to take advantage of the functional properties it offers.
Functional food has become the cornerstone of food innovation over the last few years.The key to success is the relationship between the perceived health benefit and the expert brand to gain trust and ensure the transparency of the new product.
Why is selenium so important?
Despite the fact that selenium is an important trace element, our scientific knowledge regarding the role of selenium, to tell the truth, has increased noticeably only in the last 10 years.Selenium is an important component of many important selenoproteins and enzymes.The antioxidant properties of these selenoproteins help protect cells from damage by free radicals.Free radicals are natural by-products of matabolism that can contribute to the development of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.Selenium is crucial for the normal functioning of the immune system, and moreover, significant amounts have been found in the tissues of the organs responsible for our immune system, such as the liver, spleen and lymph nodes.In addition, some cells that are responsible for the immune system depend on selenium.
The deficiency is accompanied by the loss of immunological capacity and is associated with the appearance, malice or advancement of some viral infections.Selenium is essential for normal thyroid function and for thyroid protection.These properties were demonstrated in a study conducted in Norway, which showed a positive association between thyroid cancer and low diagnosed serum selenium.Consumption of selenium, even if there are no deficiencies in our body, may not be sufficient for protection against adverse health and illnesses.Therefore, it is recommended to consume larger than recommended doses as protective measures against cancer and diseases (Rayman, 2008).At the same time, there is an urgent need for large-scale research to provide evidence of these beneficial results, which is to serve as a foundation for more reliable estimates related to selenium consumption.
Selenium plays a significant role in fertility.It is important for sperm motility and maturation, and research has shown that pregnant women with higher selenium status have a significantly lower risk of pre-eclampsia or miscarriage.Some people are less able to produce protective selenoproteins and higher intake of selenium in the diet can help them supplement them.In the future, it will be possible to determine who has greater or less predisposition to this type of affliction by performing a simple genetic test.Until then, it is important to absorb a minimum dose of 55 μg per day.