‘Functional foods can strengthen body’s immune system against diseases’

'Functional foods can strengthen body’s immune system against diseases'

The webinar on “Functional Food: Food as Medicine” was held and organized by International Association for Agricultural Sustainability (IAAS) on 24th June 2022. This webinar successfully brought together nearly 300 scholars and industry professionals from 43 countries who gathered to discuss functional food and redefined the future of food.

Dr. Chang-I Wei, Professor and Acting Chair at Department of Nutrition & Food Science, University of Maryland, and Honorary Chairman of IAAS, together with Dr. Richard Zwe-Ling Kong, Distinguished Professor and Director of Center for Academia and Industry Collaboration, Department of Food Science, National Taiwan Ocean University and President of Taiwan Society of Health Food delivered opening remarks.

Dr. Wei’s speech was expressing his optimism that the demand for food has increased in recent years due to the impact of the pandemic. He said: “In response to epidemics and changes in lifestyle, public is more concerned about functional foods and is willing to spend more on it to strengthen the body’s immune system to fight against unknown diseases.” Dr. Kong also highlighted the booming development of functional foods with oriental natural food applications, the outlook, and challenges of the health food industry in Taiwan.

The formal session was kicked off by the keynote speaker, Professor Liangli (Lucy) Yu from the Department of Nutrition & Food Science, University of Maryland. On the topic of “Nutraceuticals & Functional Foods: Opportunities and Challenges”, she suggested that “Functional Foods” is a science-based process from research and development to marketing, which requires cross-disciplinary integration of basic and applied research results from multiple disciplines and used her own research on “Jiaogulan” as an example to illustrate this.

Besides the keynote speech, other guest speakers were invited to share their research findings from multiple perspectives on the topics of “Representative Communication Pathways for Tailoring Consumer Messaging in Functional Foods”, “The chemopreventive effects of bioactive phytochemicals on human diseases related to chronic inflammation”, “Adding Value of Healthcare System Through Technology- A One-Health Perspective”, and “Antioxidant Capacity and Their Functional Components of Herbal Teas”.

The four guest speakers are Dr. Mathew Baker, Professor and Head of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications, Agriculture & Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, Dr. Min-Hsiung Pan, Professor at Institute of Food Science, Dr. Tsung-Hsi Wang, Director, Department of Planning Division, National Health Insurance Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare, Taiwan and Dr. Tai-Yuan Chen, Associate Professor at Department of Food Science, National Taiwan Ocean University.

At the conclusion of the webinar, Prof. Tzong-Ru Lee, Chairman of International Association for Agricultural Sustainability (IAAS) and Professor at Department of Marketing, National Chung Hsing University, Taiwan, concluded that the functional food market has shown amazing growth during the post-pandemic era, and the demand from the public is increasing! The aim of this webinar is to bring together scholars and experts to provide systematic ideas and the latest research trends.

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