Functional Foods: what you need to know. 

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What is a Functional Food?  

Functional foods are foods that go beyond just basic nutrition.  They are believed to have a positive impact on your health.  Functional foods are believed to not only optimize your health, but they are credited with the ability to reduce the risk of disease.  Think super Superfoods...but that seems so old-fashioned now.  Rather than super, functional. You say tomato. I say ..... you get it.  

The belief that foods might have medicinal health benefits is certainly not new. One only has to remember that the father of medicine Hippocrates stated: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” a mere 2500 years ago.  However, with the advent of modern drug as medicine hit the skids.  Now, with the advent of chronic health as medicine is making a comeback.  

Look, you all know me.  I like common sense and balance.  So I don’t understand why the miracle of modern medicine and it’s many scientific break throughs in the prevention and treatment of disease need to be in opposition to the notion that food can optimize health and reduce disease risk (and ease symptoms).  Rather than a choice between the two....let’s utilize both to our best health advantage.  

Anyhoo.....this is less like my usual blog post and more of a go-to reference list.  By no means comprehensive (um that would be really long!), but I hope to hit the basics.  And, because this is Fuel your fortified or enriched products.  Only foods that have naturally occurring bioactive ingredients. (I am certain I need a disclaimer here:  I am by no means promoting curative qualities to food. That is beyond my knowledge base and pay grade! With any health concerns, seek professional medical attention). 

The List


How to best incorporate Functional Food? 

Many of these foods are common, every day real foods that you prepare and consume daily.  For those that you are less familiar with (and even those you are), I suggest google searching recipes.  For example, search:  recipes that use turmeric (no doubt golden milk will pop up...doesn’t that sound interesting).  A quick search will not only supply multiple recipes for each functional food, but will hopefully broaden your cooking repertoire.  

Two other quick options:

  1. We have posted many recipes (tested by me and my extremely picky family) on our blog that include functional foods (hummus, poached salmon, quinoa tabbouleh, etc). Here is the link to all of our recipes:
  2. We have compiled a Functional Food Recipe round-up (you know the trendy stuff everyone is talking about.). See below this post for the links to the recipes!

Don’t like lists? 

Hopefully, you have begun to notice a common theme.  Look, I’m gonna go out on a limb here (wink, wink) ... I know Functional foods are a trendy topic, but the common theme: this list (or any list you research) is comprised of real food (things that grow and aren’t manufactured).  Real food (fuel) is not only nutrient dense and nourishing, but their bioactive ingredients MIGHT optimize your health, and PERHAPS  guard against disease.  So. Again. Common sense. For your best health, the bulk of your intake should be real food (or functional, or super, or—when my kids are raising their kids I wonder what the new name will be for food that nourishes us and promotes health? Any guesses? Lord pray it ain’t nutraceuticals) whether it made a list or not.