What Are Functional Foods?
Functional Foods are defined as foods with health-giving benefits that aid in the prevention of chronic diseases of the modern age.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture- Agricultural Research Service (USDA –ARS), functional foods are "designed to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions, and may be similar in appearance to conventional food and consumed as part of a regular diet"
These are some examples of functional foods that you can easily include in your diet;
- Ginger: The consumption of ginger is thought to improve the absorption of nutrients from food, reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease, reduce nausea and inflation, prevent ulcers, reduce the risk of fungal and bacterial infections., delay the growth of cancer cells, reduce the risk of diabetes (and in some cases reverse it) as well as improve respiratory health.
- Turmeric: Known as liquid gold, turmeric is thought to be the strongest natural form of anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant as well as aiding in the management and treatment of chronic diseases such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes and gastrointestinal disease (such as Chrons). It is also proven to be a stronger pain reliever than paracetamol and helpful in managing high cholesterol.
- Pro-biotic foods: Foods containing live micro-organisms (mostly bacteria) such as yoghurt or saurkraut. Pro-biotics help to increase bacteria counts in the digestive tract. Sufficient amounts of bacteria in the large bowel can begin to influence the composition of the intestinal flora and have positive impacts on gut healing and general health.
- Cumin: Increases cognitive function, aids in digestion, helps to remove toxins from the body, helps to relieve anxiety and stress, prevents colon cancer, helps to treat a weakening memory, prevents diabetes, fights viral infections, boosts the immune systems, prevents premature aging, can improve lactation for mothers and prevent piles from constipation and infection.
- Chilli: Chillies help fight inflammation, are a natural pain reliever, benefit cardiovascular health, clear congestion, aid in weight loss and help to prevent the spread of prostate cancer.
- Flax: Flax is high in fiber but low in carbs which helps to improve nutrient absorption in the stomach and small intestine, aids in fat loss, detoxification and the reduction of sugar cravings, improves the health of skin and hair, helps to lower cholesterol, improves digestive health, can help the symptoms of menopause and is high in OMEGA 3 fatty acids.