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Today, functional foods are increasingly recognized by the wider community. Functional foods or also called nutraceuticals are foods that have the potential to provide he alth benefits beyond their basic nutritional value. Check out this article for a full explanation
Functional food is known for its benefits in optimizing body he alth and reducing the risk of disease. The concept of functional food originated in Japan in the 1980s to improve the overall he alth and quality of life of the people there.
Types of Functional Food
There are two types of functional foods, namely conventional functional foods and modified functional foods. Here is the explanation:
Conventional functional food
Conventional functional foods are whole foods that already contain a variety of important nutrients, such as fiber, he althy fats, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, in sufficient quantities.
Examples of conventional functional foods are:
- Fruits, such as kiwi, pear, apple, banana and orange
- Vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, and kale
- Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, pistachios, macadamias, and Brazil nuts
- Seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and chia seeds
- Legume, such as black beans, chickpeas and lentils
- Whole grains, such as oats, barley, buckwheat, and brown rice
- Seafood, such as salmon, sardines, anchovies, and mackerel
- Fermented foods, such as tempeh, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha
- Spices, such as turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, and chili
- Beverages, such as coffee, green tea, and black tea
Modified functional food
Modified functional foods are foods that have been processed and fortified with additional nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, fiber, or probiotics, to increase the he alth benefits of these foods.
Examples of modified functional food are:
- Milk fortified with calcium
- Yogurt fortified with vitamin D
- Packed juices fortified with vitamin C
- Almond milk, cashew nut milk, or rice milk fortified with vitamin D and calcium
- Bread and pasta fortified with iron
- Cereals and granola fortified with vitamin B12
Various Benefits of Functional Food
Functional foods are known for their incredible he alth benefits. Here are some of the benefits of functional food:
1. Prevent nutritional deficiencies
As previously mentioned, functional foods contain a variety of nutrients that are beneficial to the body. By eating functional foods, you can get the nutrients contained in them, thus avoiding nutritional deficiencies that can eventually lead to disease.
For example, by choosing bread or pasta that is fortified with iron over those made from plain flour, you can avoid iron deficiency anemia.
2. Protect yourself from disease
In addition to preventing nutritional deficiencies, functional foods can also protect you from various diseases.
For example, the antioxidant content in functional foods is able to neutralize free radicals that have the potential to damage cells in the body. This can lower your risk of developing various chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
3. Encouraging children's growth and development
Not only beneficial for adults, the nutritional content of functional foods is also good for supporting children's growth and development.
For example, the content of omega-3 fatty acids can improve the development and function of a child's brain, then the content of calcium and vitamin B12 can support the growth of children's bones and teeth.
Although it contains various nutrients that are beneficial to he alth, the consumption of functional foods must also be accompanied by a he althy lifestyle, such as drinking lots of water, exercising regularly, and getting enough rest.
If you still have questions regarding the consumption of functional foods or what types of food are good for consumption according to your he alth condition, don't hesitate to consult a doctor.