Many people today are making a commitment to long-term health. For some, this includes the introduction of ‘functional foods’ into their diets.
Functional foods are typically foods that are improved upon by adding additional ingredients, or simply more of the same ingredient already present in the existing food. These ingredients are typically vitamins and/or health-promoting nutrients.
Some health experts strongly recommend the use of functional foods, nutraceuticals, and fruitraceuticals as a means by which their patients can improve their own overall health, but also help reduce health care costs for the entire country.
Why are Functional Foods Better?
Most foods are ‘functional,’ in that they provide nutrients that encourage cell growth and healthy organs, and support processes vital to continued healthy living. Functional foods, however, essentially take those benefits to a new level — offering added benefits that often reduce the risk of disease, and otherwise encourage a greater chance of improved health.
Features of Functional Foods & Their Health Benefits
Functional foods feature many ingredients important to overall health, including:
- Beta-carotene which is found in carrots and some fruits, and aids in cell health
- Lutein which is found in kale, spinach, corn, eggs and citrus, and aids in vision health
- Flavonoids which are found in berries, citrus, chocolate and some vegetables, and aid in brain, heart and urinary tract health, and also boost antioxidant levels that prevent sickness
- Probiotics which are found in some fruits, some grains and yogurt/dairy, and aid in gastrointestinal health
- Lycopene which is found in tomatoes and lycoberries, and aids in prostate health
What Does the Future Hold for Functional Food?
As more people become aware of the link between diet and disease, they’re understanding the importance of personal health maintenance and the benefits to mood, mobility, and other benefits such as lower healthcare costs. As technology in food and nutrition advances, functional foods are expected to become an increasingly popular and more frequent addition to the diets of people worldwide.
by Raul Lisneski
Health & Wellness Editor
Residential Life Magazine