Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Functional Foods

Functional foods can be found in grocery stores everywhere, but what are functional foods and why are they important to incorporate in one’s diet? According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, functional foods are "whole foods along with fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis at effective levels based on significant standards of evidence."  However, the term “functional” is currently not regulated by the FDA, so it is up to consumer to evaluate the claim.

Functional foods can be divided into several categories including conventional foods (grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts), modified foods (yogurt, cereals, orange juice), medical foods (special formulations of foods and beverages for certain health conditions), and foods for special dietary use (infant formula and hypoallergenic foods). 

Incorporate functional foods in your diet by eating these nutrient dense foods:
· Sardines and/or Salmon for a protein with lots of omega-3 fatty acids which can help with heart disease or joint pain. This functional food is also known to help improve brain function.
· A variety of nuts such as cashews, almonds, pecans, and walnuts. Not only are they a yummy snack, but they can help maintain blood sugar levels while also lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.
· Whole grains, such as barley, that are packed with fiber can help lower cholesterol.
· An assortment of beans - a source of protein, potassium, folate, and fiber.
· Multiple berries, including strawberries, cranberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, as they are low in calories and contain anthocyanin pigments which have been shown to have multiple health benefits.

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