𝗦𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝘄𝗲𝗯𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗿 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲:
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The concept of “Functional Foods” originated in Japan in the 1980s, when government agencies began approving foods with proven benefits to improving the health of the general population.
Functional foods have a positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition; they promote optimal health and help to reduce the risk of disease.
Health and wellness are increasingly driving the growth of the global food and beverage industry. Worldwide sales of naturally healthy foods reached $253 billion in 2017; functional foods totaled $247 billion. Some examples of functional foods include foods supplemented with vitamins, minerals, probiotics, or fiber. Nutrient-rich ingredients such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains are also often considered functional foods. A familiar example of functional food is oat because it contains a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, improve heart health, and lower cholesterol levels. Some types of food are modified and contain supplements or other additional ingredients designed to have health benefits. For example, fruits and vegetables are great sources of antioxidants, which are beneficial compounds that help to protect against several diseases and ailments; one example is the consumption of orange juice supplemented with calcium for improvement of bone health.
Through the above examples, we have seen that there are several different functional foods. The key to true functional nutrition is to look for ingredients and foods that offer real benefits beyond satisfying cravings or easing hunger. In the future, it is likely that everything we eat throughout the day will serve a tangible function, rather than just eating to satisfy our appetite.
If you want to try functional foods, choose them well informed on base knowledge, and keep in mind that while functional foods can help promote wellness, they cannot compensate for poor eating habits.
In this second webinar of our 4th “You are what you eat” cycle, we talked about food and vitamins facts, which ones you can incorporate into your diet to boost your health; what the importance of functional foods is, and how it can influence your health; and highlight the latest technological advances and challenges yet to be overcome in this area of research.