Functional foods are foods which provide the body with more benefits than the basic nutritional benefits we may be aware of.
For example, you may have heard of the excellent benefits of red wine (such great news!) Red wine and grape juice provide resveratrol, which reduces platelet aggregation. What does this mean exactly? Platelets clump together and form blood clots when you have a wound. Unfortunately, often times your body will form blood clots unexpectedly when you are, in fact, free from any wounds. Resveratrol reduces these blood cells from clumping together, thus reducing your risk of forming a blood clot.
Next, certain foods contain omega 3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish including salmon, mackerel, and cod, and certain nuts such as walnuts. These omega 3s reduce triglyceride levels, thus lowering your “bad” cholesterol levels.
Foods such as tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruits contain lycopene. Lycopene has been shown to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Therefore, men should incorporate these fruits into their diet on a daily basis.
Fermented dairy products such as kefir, sour milk, and sour cream contain probiotics, which can support gastrointestinal health.
Lastly, fortified margarines contain plant sterols and stanol esters. What does this mean exactly? These substances occur naturally in certain foods, and they have powerful cholesterol-lowering properties. Therefore, you should incorporate these foods into your diet to lower your LDL cholesterol, also known as your “bad” cholesterol.
Want to be more familiar with the many benefits that foods can provide to your body? Want to be more mindful about the foods you are consuming, so that you can live the longest, most healthy life possible? Contact me about scheduling your Initial Nutrition Appointment. Summer specials ending this week!