Functional foods can help promote optimal health and reduce risk of disease
Your food choices boil down to more than just calories, carbohydrates, or fats. Functional foods are foods that can have a positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. They are said to promote optimal health and help reduce the risk of disease.
A good example of a functional food is oatmeal. It contains soluble fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels. There are some, such as orange juice, that are functional foods because they have been modified or fortified with nutrients to promote wellness.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics names three main categories of functional foods. First are everyday foods that come naturally, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, fish and meat (probiotics in yogurt, antioxidants in berries). Second, there are enriched or fortified foods. Third, there are synthesized food ingredients like prebiotics. Bottom line, eat fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow to get the widest selection of nutrients.
Although functional foods promote wellness, they cannot make up for poor eating habits, so you still must choose wisely. If your weight is a big concern, then you should definitely continue to choose wisely when making food choices. If you are at a healthy weight, functional food knowledge is great to have in your back pocket.
LeanBox is loaded with functional foods! Here are some functional-food examples to get you started on mindfully promoting your health:
Organic Valley Hard Boiled-Eggs
Eggs have gotten a bad reputation because of their saturated fat contents, but they are also loaded with nutritious features that are usually missing from the typical American diet. These nutrients include zinc, biotin, carotenoids, lecithin and choline which have antimicrobial, anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-hypertensive properties. Check out Organic Valley’s Hard-Boiled Eggs.
Siggi’s and Chobani Yogurt
These yogurt products by Siggi and Chobani contain probiotics which can help “balance” the flora in the gastrointestinal tract which aids in reducing harmful bacteria. They can also modify the immune response and improve its barrier function to shorten or reduce the risk of certain infections of the intestinal tract.
Earnest Eats Oatmeal
Soluble fiber in Earnest Eats Oatmeal assists in lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels. It is also a great source of dietary fiber and abundant in folic acid, which is a B-complex vitamin important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects.
Lifestyle or LeanBox Salads
Leafy greens contain phytochemicals such as carotenoids, sulforaphanes, apigenin, and lutein/zeaxanthin, which contain anti-cancer properties, protect the heart, optimize eyesight in the elderly, and enhance immune function.
These are just a few options to get you started optimizing your nutrition with food choices at LeanBox!