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Functional Food…What does it mean?


 

Gluten Free Muffin

When I heard the term Functional Food I always wondered what it meant. Functional is a very broad term and foods always have a function, but are all the foods functional?

Functional Foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. They promote optimal health and help reduce the risk of disease. They may be similar in appearance to conventional food, and are consumed as part of a regular diet.  But do they work in that way?

Strictly speaking, all food is functional, as it provides energy and nutrients necessary for survival. But the term “functional food,” as it is used today, conveys health benefits that extend far beyond only survival. Food and nutrition science has moved from identifying and correcting nutritional deficiencies to designing diets that promote optimal health and reduce the risk of some diseases.

According to a paper by the National Institute of Health, “Functional foods enhance bioregulation such as stresses, appetite and absorption; biodefence, such as immunity and suppression of allergies; prevent diseases, including diarrhea, constipation, cancer, cholesterolemia and diabetes; and suppress aging through immunostimulation as well as suppression of mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, oxidation processes, intestinal putrefaction, and cholesterolemia”.

An easy example of a functional food is oatmeal because it contains soluble fiber that may help lower cholesterol levels.  Sometimes some foods are modified to have health benefits, for example drinking milk that's been fortified with calcium and vitamin D for bone health.

Keeping all these things in mind, many of INBITE’s products have a good source of protein and dietary fiber; our Rolled Oatmeal cookies, sweet potatoes Coccoles, Breads and Granola help promote health for the immune system and help maintain energy levels. 

I’m in constant research of ingredients and developing formulas that deliver a tasty alternative and provide nutrients that the body needs.   If you want to try functional foods, do your own research of what your body or specific diet needs and choose consciously.

Ana R.

References:

Biosci Microbiota Food Health. 2014;33(3):117-28. doi: 10.12938/bmfh.33.117. Epub 2014 May 16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25032085