Potential Health Benefits of Plant Food-Derived Bioactive Components: An Overview

Foods. 2021 Apr 12;10(4):839. doi: 10.3390/foods10040839.


Plant foods are consumed worldwide due to their immense energy density and nutritive value. Their consumption has been following an increasing trend due to several metabolic disorders linked to non-vegetarian diets. In addition to their nutritive value, plant foods contain several bioactive constituents that have been shown to possess health-promoting properties. Plant-derived bioactive compounds, such as biologically active proteins, polyphenols, phytosterols, biogenic amines, carotenoids, etc., have been reported to be beneficial for human health, for instance in cases of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes, as well as for people with gut, immune function, and neurodegenerative disorders. Previous studies have reported that bioactive components possess antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties, in addition to improving intestinal barrier functioning etc., which contribute to their ability to mitigate the pathological impact of various human diseases. This review describes the bioactive components derived from fruit, vegetables, cereals, and other plant sources with health promoting attributes, and the mechanisms responsible for the bioactive properties of some of these plant components. This review mainly compiles the potential of food derived bioactive compounds, providing information for researchers that may be valuable for devising future strategies such as choosing promising bioactive ingredients to make functional foods for various non-communicable disorders.

Keywords: anti-inflammatory; antioxidants; bioactive components; chronic diseases; gut health; human health; plant foods; polyphenols.

Publication types

  • Review