Although the medical breakthroughs in the early part of the 21st century have made significant progress in the treatment of many chronic diseases, disease prevention or even delay is of critical importance. Healthy People 2010 & 2020 and USDA dietary guidelines for Americans strongly recommend increased consumption of fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants and bioactive phytochemicals to prevent or attenuate diet-related chronic diseases and to improve health. Today, a major driver of food choice among consumers is health promotion, which has resulted in ever-expanding research on bioactive food components and nutriceuticals. As each person's diet is a key contributor to health and disease risk, agriculture has been a core sector of economic viability and food production systems with the increasing recognition of the interface between nutrition and agriculture.
Epidemiological and clinical studies have repeatedly demonstrated many health benefits of food-based bioactive components by modifying the risk of disease, suggesting that bioactive molecules in our diet can be effective in preventing or delaying the disease process. Therefore, it is important to identify and characterize the novel bioactive molecules from food-grade plants and crops that may contain the principal components for enhancing human health and preventing diseases because of their biological effects through cellular signaling and gene regulation.