Why is everyone talking about functional foods?
For those invested in nutrition-based health, functional foods are the latest topic of interest. If you’re new to the concept, functional foods are foods and beverages that provide health benefits beyond basic nutritional values. These foods often come with high levels of vitamins, minerals, fibre, probiotics, antioxidants, nootropics or proteins. The basic idea is that you can gain greater health benefits from your diet by consciously incorporating functional foods.
What are functional foods?
So, what makes functional foods superior to other types of food? Functional foods can be responsible for a range of valuable health benefits. By being rich in antioxidants, fibre or omega 3, functional foods have the capacity to fight common diseases like heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Additionally, the right combination of functional foods enriched with nutrients, vitamins and minerals can prevent nutrient deficiencies and fight against conditions such as anaemia and rickets. Other impressive benefits of functional foods include the promotion of healthy growth and development, the promotion of gut health with probiotics and fibre, and having neuro-enhancing properties.
Conventional vs. Fortified
Functional foods come in two categories: conventional and fortified. Conventional functional foods are natural. They come bearing beneficial properties without the need for any additional ingredients. Fortified functional foods are foods or beverages that are artificially enriched with properties that give them health benefits.
Conventional functional foods unsurprisingly include a huge range of fruits and vegetables such as berries, apples, bananas, broccoli, spinach and cauliflower. Additionally, certain nuts, seeds, legumes, wholegrains, seafood and fermented food can also be counted as functional foods. Additional conventional functional foods include herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, and beverages such as coffee, green tea and black tea.
On the other hand, popular examples of fortified functional foods include fortified juices, fortified milk and milk alternatives, other fortified dairy products and fortified breads, pastas and cereals. Fortified foods that have been modified to have enhanced health benefits can be a key way to help those with nutrient deficient diseases. Additionally, it can be a relatively simple yet effective method of fighting nutrient deficiency that is caused by poverty or environmental circumstances.
Trending Fortified Functional Foods
An up and coming area of focus for functional foods are nootropics. These are supplements that can improve cognitive function and boost memory. While looking after the body is generally the focus of nutrition and diet, it is important to remember the effect that diet can have on the brain. By incorporating nootropic foods into your diet, you’ll be providing the fuel for enhanced cognitive abilities. If you’re interested in finding out more about the benefits, we suggest checking out KOIOS for their full line of nootropic beverages and powdered supplements.
Incorporating functional foods into your diet can be greatly beneficial for overall health and working towards a healthy lifestyle. However, users should keep in mind that functional foods are there to supplement a healthy diet and regular exercise and won’t make up for an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle.