What are functional foods? What are the benefits of functional foods?
A nutrient-enriched food, which provides nutritious content to the body and, in return, gives protection. Functional foods also known as ”nutraceuticals”.
They promote growth and development, protect from diseases, and prevent nutritional deficiency.
Functional food is the nutritious food ingredient, provides health benefits.
Some examples like vitamins, minerals, fibre or probiotics, proteins.
Others like nutrient-rich food like vegetables, fruits, seed, grains, and legumes are nutraceutical food, also known as a functional food.
Similarly, fruits, vegetables, seeds, or legumes provide fibres, antioxidants, and free radicals, which prevents diseases like cardiovascular diseases.
Examples of functional foods:
Divided into two categories;Conventional food and modified food.
Conventional food: A whole-food product known as conventional food, rich in minerals, vitamins.
Meanwhile, It is the modified shape of fortified food, a combination of probiotics, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats.
- Seed- flax seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds.
- vegetables- carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, cauliflower
- fruits- apples, berries, pomegranate, kiwi, peaches
- legumes- lentils, black beans, red beans
- grains- oats, barley, couscous
- seafood- salmon, sardines, mackerel, cod
- beverages- coffee, black tea, green tea
modified food: An additional food formed by the combination of different healthy food ingredients.
- fortified juices
- fortified dairy products, milk, and yogurt
- fortified grains
- fortified eggs
3 major benefits of functional food
Fortification provides nutritional benefits to the gut, promotes development, ensures good health, prevents diseases, and enhances gut longevity prominence.
- Oats’s highest source of beta-glucan reduces inflammation, increases LDL, and enhances immune function.
- In Jordan, iron-fortified whole wheat was introduced, which nearly cut the rate of iron deficiency and anemia.
- Consumption of dietary fibre diet lowers the lipid, increases Insulin level, and lower CVDs.
1. provide a shield against diseases:
Antioxidants, fibre, and omega-3 fatty acids give protection of diseases like diabetes, heart stroke, obesity, and other chronic diseases,
- The important nutrients which act as a shield against harmful bacteria.
It reduces inflammation, stroke, and heart diseases and boosts brain function.
- Fibres which improves blood sugar control and built shield against digestive disorders like stomach ulcer and acid reflux.
2. Promote proper growth and development
- Nutrient deficiency leads to retarded growth.
- Folic acid deficiency increases the risk of neural tube defects, affecting the central nervous system.
- Nutritional components promote development like zinc, iron, selenium, calcium.
- For example, orange provides calcium; we can use it as a supplement also.
3.Fill-up nutrient deficiency:
Functional foods filled up with healthy, nutritious components that always enrich our bodies with calcium, iron, zinc, selenium, and flavonoids.
In short, balance your plate with nutraceuticals, processed food provides short time pleasure, but functional food will help you long.