Ah, Functional Foods. Have you been wondering what it means, what class of food these belong too? Well, here is all you need to know about functional foods and their benefits.
From various tests and research, functional foods, which are also called nutraceuticals are foods that provide health benefits to the body more than just the essential nutrients. In other words, these are foods that actually do more for the body. These foods help to reduce the risk of diseases and boost optimal health. They range from cereals and bars enriched with folic acid to your average tomato or cup of green tea, while nutraceuticals are more commonly sold in pill form.
Phytochemicals are compounds that are produced by plants (“phyto” means “plant”). They are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, and other plants. Some of these phytochemicals are believed to protect cells from damage that could lead to cancer. Foods containing phytochemical are also termed functional. Antioxidants are man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage. Antioxidants are found in many foods, including fruits and vegetables. They are also available as dietary supplements. Foods containing antioxidant are also termed functional.
Examples of these foods are; Yogurts, Sugar, Margarines, Omega-3 fatty acids enriched eggs, Soy- Functional Components, Whole oats, oatmeal, Lowfat granola, Whole-oat bread, Other whole-oat products, Grape Juice or Red Wine, Leafy Greens, Salmon, Tuna, Striped Bass, Halibut, Sardines, Trout, Flounder, Walnuts, Almonds, Pecans, Pistachios, Peanuts, Cashews, Hazelnuts, Chestnuts, Brazil nuts and more. Bear in mind that for these foods to bear its cause, your have to balance your meals. Eating functional foods alone can be detrimental and extremely harmful to your health.
Above all, never forget to take a good amount of water daily.
Written by Efe Ohworakpo
Image credit – WatchFit