Functional Foods–Foods That Are Good for Your Body

March 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Featured, Functional Foods

Functional foods, or medicinal foods, are described as those foods which provide the body with more than just the basic nutrition. These foods contain active ingredients that are said to aid the body in fighting diseases and helping to keep the body healthy.

Functional foods offer a wide range of benefits to different parts of the body. Here are some examples:

• Foods for optimal brain function will contain B-vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids.
• Foods to help kidney function will contain calcium.
• Foods that support liver function are rich in sulfur.
• Foods to improve thyroid function are rich in iodine, A and B-vitamins

Besides highly processed functional foods, which tend to be expensive, there are non-processed and lightly processed foods that naturally contain the beneficial components which your body needs. These foods can be found in any normal diet. These common functional foods are:

• Oats – oats contain a high amount of soluble fiber which helps in lowering the LDL level of the body, lessening the risk of heart disease
• Fatty fish – these contain great amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are beneficial to the heart, lowering the risk of stroke and heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are also helpful in improving brain function.
• Soy products – they contain proteins that can lower the risk of coronary heart disease. They are also known to lower the cholesterol level of the body.
• Yogurt – Yogurt contains probiotics (live cultures) and prebiotics (aid to the live cultures) which greatly help in gastrointestinal function and improve the body’s immunity against diseases.
• Wheat – has a high amount of insoluble fiber which helps the body in maintaining a clean gastrointestinal tract. Wheat can result in a reduction in the risk of colon cancer.
• Fruits and vegetables – contain a wide variety of substances and chemicals that aid in proper digestion and better function of specific organs in the body.

The choice among these various functional foods depends largely on what type of benefits you want to bring to your body. This is where the benefit of a well-balanced and varied diet comes into play. It affords you the advantage of having a wider range of food that you might overlook if you solely focus on one type of food only.

Functional foods are easy to include in any diet. Over-all, functional foods are really accessible; you only need adequate knowledge and conscious effort to make it work for you.