Nowadays, some foods have more ambitious goals than simply meeting nutritional requirements by avoiding excesses and deficiencies. In terms of health nutrition it is worthwhile examining selected nutrients that can have added value in the prevention of some diseases, in slowing down degenerative processes like ageing, or simply in improving the animal’s wellbeing.
The terms “Nutraceutic” and “Health Nutrition” are sometimes used in connection with nutrients that are not essential but that can improve quality of life.
This highly heterogeneous family, which is being enlarged all the time as our knowledge of nutrition increases, comprises substances as varied as antioxidants to fight free radicals, substances to protect the joints, vegetable extracts to strengthen the skin protection, bacteria to balance in the intestinal flora, etc.
The list is very long, but we have selected a few key examples.
These other nutrients can have shortterm or long-term effects. Short-term goals are improving the functioning of the body or reducing undesirable phenomena, such as painful joints, skin irritations or digestive disorders. In the longer term, the goal is to minimise the incidence of external attacks and curb the effects of the ageing process on selected organs.
These nutrients work on the animal’s body and mind – the cognitive capacities. The provision of antioxidants from an early age for example helps fight against the development of cataracts in the ageing dog and the appearance of some behavioural problems connected to the loss of these adaptation capacities. Many studies in humans have proven the effectiveness of antioxidants in the prevention of some neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.