Why eat functional foods?

Natures nutritional hero’s

The diet we choose to consume can have a profound affect on body function. It’s amazing that every time we open our mouths to eat we are determining our state of health.

The effect that good or bad food can have on us even in small quantities paves the way for a focus on functional foods… With just a few minor dietary changes our bodies can begin to bounce back.

Public awareness of the link between diet and health has accelerated growth in the functional food industry. Health authorities are increasingly acknowledging the importance of functional elements in food such as calcium, antioxidants and plant sterols, in improving health and preventing disease.

What are functional foods?

Functional foods are defined as any food or food component that may provide demonstrated physiological benefits or reduce the risk of chronic diseases, above and beyond basic nutritional functions.

There are now 2 clear categories for this. One being that a food is fortified to be functional- this is the addition of an ingredient, natural or synthetic to make the food functional; second being naturally functional- where in the food is already naturally functional, such as in the case of blueberries or chia seeds.

Are super foods functional foods?

Yes, to be rated as a superfood it must have an exceptional nutritional profile with functional benefits; this fits with the definition of functional foods. Such as in the fruit category berries stand well above the rest of the fruit family.

Some foods that are touted as superfoods are:

  • Acai
  • Blueberries
  • Cacao
  • Golden berries
  • Goji berries
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Sacha Inchi seeds
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, spinach, avocado

 

How can we use them for health?

It’s not always necessary to seek out specific foods for specific ailments.  A better approach is a healthy diet that incorporates a number of functional superfoods, fresh fruit and vegetables in order to maintain a healthy weight, fight disease, improve organ function and live longer in general.

Rounding out a diet plan with numerous superfoods will deliver the most benefit. One thing all superfoods have in common is that they are a real and unprocessed source of nutrition.  You won’t find fortified potato chips and energy snickers in a superfoods category.

 

Recipe

Super boost cereal topper

You will need 1 large jar

Ingredients

1 cup goji berries

½ cup dried blueberries

½ cup dried sour cherries

½ cup golden berries

½ cup chia seeds

½ cup coconut chips

2 tbsp cinnamon

3 tbsp flaxseeds

3 tbsp sunflower seeds

Method

Toss all ingredients into a large jar and sprinkle a small handful into your yoghurt, porridge or cereal.

 

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