Functional foods have become buzzwords, but what are they?

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is no official definition for functional foods. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines functional foods as “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.”

Functional foods may include:

  • Conventional foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts.
  • Modified foods such as yogurt, cereals and orange juice.

According to Forbes functional foods are basically foods that provide a health benefit in addition to macro and micronutrients. These foods are vital in disease prevention and include fortified foods, phytonutrient-containing fruits and vegetables, fermented foods, fish and chocolate.

Eat more of these five nutrient-dense, functional foods

1. Cold-water fish – sardines and salmon

These fish are high in protein, omega-3 fatty acids and lower in mercury.

2. Nuts

A great snack, nuts help you feel full. Unsalted nuts are good sources of magnesium, which helps manage blood pressure.

3. Whole grains – oats and barley

Oatmeal and barley have similar benefits. They are high in dietary fibre, may help lower cholesterol and assist with blood sugar control.

4. Beans

Beans are a great source of dietary fibre as well as protein, potassium and folate. Canned beans are fine, but if you choose beans with salt added, rinse and drain them before use.

5. Berries

Berries in general are wonderful functional foods. They are low in calories and their anthocyanin pigments, which give them colour, may offer health benefits. Frozen unsweetened berries are fine if fresh ones aren’t available.

Source: Capricorn Review