Thursday, April 16, 2009

Optimize Your Health with Functional Foods

What Are Functional Foods?
Functional foods are foods and food components that provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Functional foods do more than just provide nutrients - they may play a role in reducing your risk of disease or in improving your health.

These foods include health-promoting ingredients or natural components found in conventional foods, fortified, enriched or enhanced foods.

What’s the best way to incorporate functional foods into my diet?
The most effective way to reap the benefits of functional foods is to eat a balanced diet based on the five food groups. Then, include specific foods with beneficial components to meet your individual needs.

1. Get into the habit of reading health claims and food labels on food products, and scanning articles on the connection between foods and health. Practice healthy skepticism, however.

2. Consult with your health care provider before making any drastic changes in your diet, or if you have a particular health concern.

3. Choose a variety of foods from each food group (milk, meats and beans, fruits, vegetables and grains) to incorporate many potentially beneficial components into your diet.

4. Remember that there is no “magic bullet” that will guarantee health or cure or prevent all your health concerns.