Bioactive Compounds

Last Updated: April 6, 2017

Definition - What does Bioactive Compounds mean?

A bioactive compound is any compound present in the foods of humans, animals, or plants that has an effect on the organism consuming it. Caffeine for example, would be a bioactive compound of coffee.

Other types of bioactive compounds are: flavonoids, carotenoids, carnitine, choline, coenzyme Q, creatine, dithiolthiones, phytosterols, polysaccharides, phytoestrogens, glucosinolates, polyphenols, anthocyanins, prebiotics, and taurine.

In horticulture, a lot of growers are interested in finding ways of increasing the levels of bioactive compounds that their crops contain, as certain bioactive compounds contribute to a crop's color, aroma, and flavor.

MaximumYield explains Bioactive Compounds

Bioactive compounds in foods are those that are not required to sustain life, but still have an effect on the organism. Alcohol would be a bioactive compound, as it is not required to sustain life, but does have an effect on the body.

Bioactive compounds can cause numerous effects; they can stimulate, cause anxiety, or intoxicate. There are even some bioactive compounds that are known to increase the side effects of certain medicines.

Some natural food providers assert that many of these bioactive compounds are healthy for the body. Bioactive compounds may naturally occur, such as the fatty acids in milk, or are produced in a certain environment, such as the controlled fermentation of vegetable matter to produce alcohol.

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