Functional foods are foods that bring benefits beyond nutritional ones. Some of us drink a cup of coffee to help us wake up each morning. Some eat prunes daily to help assist others and sip a cup of chamomile tea to help them sleep in the evening. Food and drinks provide a purpose in these examples, beyond providing calories and nutrients.
All the foods are functional to some degree. While there is no legal definition of functional food, they are defined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and as ‘complete foods along with fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial impact on health.
Some find the word ‘healthy food’ to be a marketing scheme, while others claim that such foods make them feel healthier and help prevent diseases. The Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) controls food producers when it comes to making safety statements that can be made on product labels. That’s why you’ll see arguments that say, “when used as part of a diet that’s low in saturated fats and low in cholesterol, it can help minimize cholesterol.”
Try one of those foods that work:
You probably have heard of the fatty omega-3 acids found in salmon, tuna, trout, sardines, and mackerel. Health experts suggest two servings a week to significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.
Nuts are a fantastic source of fiber and monounsaturated fats, which can promote safe heart conditions. For a balanced afternoon snack, try one ounce of your favorite nuts, mixed with a few raisins.
Leafy greens contain folate for your heart and lutein and zeaxanthin antioxidants that protect the eye against damaging sunlight. These nutrients are abundant in greens of kale, spinach, and turnip.
Berries contain phytochemicals known as pigments of anthocyanin, which give them color. In laboratories and animal studies, anthocyanins have been found to have anticancer effects. If you’re choosing strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries, these colorful fruits are not only appealing to the mouth; they can also enhance safety.
An example of fortified functional food is the orange juice with added calcium. Calcium is naturally not found in orange juice, and the addition of it promotes strong bones.
Functional foods can help you live a healthier life as part of a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle, including exercise and good mental health.