Now that the big eating holidays are approaching, it may help to have some knowledge on better food choices for the big meals. Knowledge of what foods can do for you other than fill your belly can be super helpful and possibly ease your conscience just a bit. If your weight is a big concern, then you should definitely continue to choose wisely when making food choices. If your health overall is your biggest concern even if you are at a healthy weight, the term functional food is great knowledge to have in your back pocket. Functional foods are foods that can have a positive effect on health beyond the basic nutrition. They are said to promote optimal health a help reduce the risk of disease. Although they promote wellness, they cannot make up for poor eating habits so you still must choose wisely. A good example of a functional food is oatmeal. It contains soluble fiber which can help lower cholesterol levels. There are some that are functional foods because they have been modified or fortified with nutrients to promote wellness, like orange juice. According to health organizations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, these are foods that don’t just provide calories and basic nutrition but actually improve your health. They can be natural whole foods or enhanced/fortified ones. To be considered functional there must be research backing up their benefits when eaten as part of a good diet. The academy 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). Then there are enriched or fortified foods and synthesized food ingredients like prebiotics. Bottom line, eat fruits and vegetables in every color of the rainbow to get the widest selection of nutrients.
There is great news I am going to give you along with this new knowledge: LeanBox is loaded with functional foods! Here is some functional food examples to get you started on this new venture of promoting your health during these food-filled months.
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 are zinc, biotin, carotenoids, lecithin and choline which have antimicrobial, anti-cancer, antioxidant and anti-hypertensive properties.
Siggi’s and Chobani Yogurt: These yogurt products 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 assists in lowering total and LDL cholesterol levels. It is also a great dietary fiber 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, heart protection, optimizing eyesight in the elderly, and enhancing immune function.
These are just a few options to get you started optimizing your nutrition with food choices at the LeanBox!