The general objective of thisresearch line is to advancein the knowledge of the health effects of foods and food ingredients and the mechanisms involved in the prevention and/or risk reduction of highly-prevalent diseases, especially age-relatedpathologies (i.e.cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, cancer, age-relatedmacular degeneration, alterations of mineral metabolism, eating disorders and food allergies).
Therefore, this is a multidisciplinary line characterized by its capacity to approachnutritional studies from a broad angle, from in vitro studies in test tubes and cell cultures to preclinical and clinical trials in experimental animals and humans.
The major food constituents of interest are:
- Bioactive compounds (polyphenols, carotenoids, phytosterols and other phytochemicals)
- Non-digestible carbohydrates (dietary fibre and oligosaccharides among other prebiotics)
- Complexes of food constituents formed in fresh and processed foods (polysaccharide-polyphenol, protein-polyphenol, fibre-melanoidin, etc.)
The aspects studied include bioavailability,metabolism and bioactivity of nutrients and bioactive compounds, and assessment ofbiomarkers of exposure, function, and risk and progress of various pathologies, bothearly-on setting and age-related diseases. Studies supporting the validation of nutritional and health-promoting properties of new food ingredients and functional foods are also carried out to provide scientific evidences insupport ofpotential nutritional claims.
This research line also intends to improve animal performance and to enhance the nutritional qualityof meat and meat products through livestock feeding strategies. Incorporation into the animal feedof natural antioxidants obtained from agricultural by-products is directed to contribute to economicsavings in the livestock breeding industry through a reduced investment on vitamins, providing alternativetreatments to avoid forbidden growth-promoting antibiotics, and contributing to add value to agronomic wastes reducing environmental threats.
Research Line 3 is divided in two sublines: