Functional ingredients are ingredients in foods that help you reduce your risk of chronic disease.
Since the link between your eating habits and your health is very important it’s a good idea to know what to look for in foods that’s going to give you the best nutritional value.
These foods are known as “functional ingredients” because they’re jam-packed in compounds that have been linked to reducing your risk of dozens of diseases and illnesses.
NOTE: There’s controversy surrounding “functional ingredients”. Many people believe it will distract you from eating healthy meals and others wave the pointing finger at manufacturers for making health claims, which in most cases are not backed up or supported with research.
But in the end, the general public seems to show a strong interest in functional ingredients.
Top 7 Food Ingredients
Below is quick list of the top 7 food ingredients that will do more than just make your body healthy.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids: Linked to the treatment and prevention of many diseases including, heart disease, stroke, lupus, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and breast, colon and prostate cancer.
You can find omega 3 fatty acids in fatty fish, fish oils, flax seed and in some egg products.
Soy Protein: Research shows that soy protein can play a role in the reduction of your blood cholesterol levels.
The research is still ongoing for their anti-cancer properties and how it can guard against osteoporosis (especially important for women). You can get soy protein from soybeans, soy nuts, tofu, and soy beverages.
Probiotics and Prebiotics: Probiotics are the active bacteria that can help restore your intestinal function and improve your immune response. You can find the probiotics in yogurt, and other fermented foods.
Lutein: This is a type of antioxidant that has been linked to the preventions of vision loss in older people. It’s supplied in foods like eggs, corn, spinach, kiwi, oranges, broccoli, and chard.
Psyllium: For the most part, North Americans have seen an increase in this in their cereals and in other products as well. Its main benefit is its cholesterol lowering fiber.
Oats: Oats have been a popular food to study because of their ability to lower cholesterol levels. They also contain beta-glucan, which is a cholesterol reducing fiber.
Stanols and Sterols: Another cholesterol lowering ingredient. These are being extracted from wood oils and are being added to margarines.
And there are your top 7 functional ingredients. How many of those do you eat on a daily basis?