Benefits of Eating Functional Foods
In recent years, functional foods have gained in interest and popularity within health circles.
So, what are functional foods?
Functional foods are a variety of foods and ingredients that have benefits that extend beyond their simple nutritional value. They promote optimal health and help reduce the risk of disease.
Remember that most natural foods deliver physiological benefits including protein for muscle repair, carbohydrates for energy, and/or vitamins and minerals for cell function.
Essentially, functional foods are foods that include additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition and are designed to improve health.
Also known as nutraceuticals, nutrient dense functional foods are highly nutritious and associated with a number of powerful health benefits.
Examples of these nutrient dense functional foods are:
Cold water fish
Fish, such as salmon and sardines are packed with protein and are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
Nuts help you feel full and may promote heart health. They are also a good source of magnesium.
According to Medline Plus, “Magnesium is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body. It helps to maintain normal nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heartbeat steady, and helps bones remain strong. It also helps adjust blood glucose levels. It aids in the production of energy and protein.”
Examples of whole grains are barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet and oatmeal.
Whole grains are high in dietary fiber and may help lower cholesterol and assist with blood sugar control.
Examples are black beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), kidney beans, lima beans and pinto beans. Beans provide dietary fiber, protein and potassium folate.
Blueberries, blackberries and raspberries are low in calories. Their anthocyanin pigments, which give them color, offer anti-inflammatory and other health promoting benefits.
Functional foods are foods that are associated with several potential health benefits. They may:
- Prevent nutrient deficiencies - nutrient dense functional foods are typically high in important nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and fiber.
- They may protect against non-optimum health issues as many are especially rich in antioxidants. These molecules help neutralize harmful compounds known as free radicals, helping prevent cell damage and certain chronic conditions, including heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Camel milk ticks all the boxes for a functional food because it provides excellent nutrition. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals, such as B vitamins, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc, Potassium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Selenium and Iron.
Camel milk also offers potential health benefits as it contains high proportions of anti-bacterial and anti-viral substances, antioxidants and immune system boosters.
Functional foods can be used to boost your intake of important nutrients, fill in any gaps in your diet, and support overall health.
When planning your diet, consider eating as many functional foods as possible to help you stay healthy.