Top 10 Functional Foods
balanced diet is the ideal way to ensure adequate
minerals, but the majority of consumers simply do
not eat a variety of foods—especially fruits and vegetables. Besides they don't
want to take pills for nutrient delivery. As a result there has been a rise in
functional foods that have tried to bridge some specific dietary gaps.
Functional Foods is a term used to describe
or their ingredients, that may provide a health benefit beyond basic
nutrition. These foods may include whole foods (fruits & vegetables) as
well as fortified orange juice with calcium, enriched or enhanced foods &
dietary supplements that have a beneficial effect on health.
Examples of foods for which research has shown health
& oat products contain psyllium and help in lowering cholesterol levels thereby
reducing heart disease risk.
lowers cholesterol levels and reduces heart disease risk.
fish contain omega-3 fatty acids that may prevent against stroke and heart
juice reduces risk of urinary tract infections.
sauce and cooked tomato products contain lycopene that may protect against
wine contains resveratrol and polyphenols that protect against heart disease.
and green tea have a cancer-preventive effect.
contains probiotics that have beneficial effects on gastrointestinal function
and wheat, bananas, Jerusalem artichoke ("sunchokes"), garlic and a variety of
fruits and vegetables contain oligosaccharide which helps prevent constipation,
protects liver function, reduces blood pressure and serum cholesterol, and may
have an anticancer effect. They may also play a role in preventing osteoporosis.
Broccoli and broccoli sprouts contain Sulphoraphane which stimulates the body to
produce its own protectivephase II enzyme, neutralizes free radicals.
foods as part of a low-fat diet (eg, cheese, snack foods, meats, fish, dairy)
are Low in total fat or saturated fat and help to Reduce risk of cancer &
coronary heart disease.
There's no doubt that functional foods' role in reducing the
risk of diseases is promising, but a lot of research is still needed to prove
efficacy. Traditional foods should be the basis for future functional foods,
with a focus on enhancing their natural components through fortification. Future
examples may include adding omega-3-fatty acids to cheese and to eggs (currently
omega eggs are being piloted in Midwest), and B-vitamins and conjugated linoleic
acid (CLA) to milk.
ADA has presented a summary of select functional foods and the scientific
evidence supporting their health benefit(s). Click here to know more.