What are functional foods? A functional food is one that, whether natural or processed, contains other components in addition to the pure nutritional value what can provide health benefits or reduce the risk of disease and improve a person’s physical ability or mental state.
There is still no general definition: a functional food it can be a natural food, a food to which a component is added or removed, or a food that Change in nature or bioavailability one or more of its components… Or the result of any combination of these possibilities.
This great freedom of action has led to this The range of marketed products has increased dramatically because in just under three decades, functional foods have migrated from the laboratories of Japan to the shelves of our shops.
Milk with isoflavones, eggs with omega-3 fatty acids, margarine with sterols, prebiotic and probiotic foods are just a few examples.
Are functional foods effective?
Logically, the need for rigorous information is growing at the same time. Nevertheless, The current legislation does not take into account the assessment of functional foods before they are placed on the market.
On the other hand, the knowledge of how bioactive substances work in the body is not sufficiently established in many cases, In addition, it is difficult to generalize about the results obtained, as what is effective for some may not be true for others.
Hand in hand with functional foods Unforeseen expectations and possibilities are opening up today in relation to the potential benefits of food and there are already some results in this direction.
But you must proceed with caution and let research and time separate the grain from the chaff.
Are they the key to a healthy diet?
Health does not depend on certain foods, but on a balanced and healthy diet. Otherwise, the consequences of a certain imbalance could have to be borne in the medium or long term.
But if on this premise there are options for Improving your diet with functional foods is a good option.
What is recommended when fortifying food?
To maximize benefits, choose substances with broad physiological effects, B. Antioxidants and polyunsaturated fatty acids and check whether their biological activity is retained.
To reduce risks, use “known” substancesadd them in the minimum effective amounts and avoid unwanted chemical transformations.
Which components are commonly used?
Oat Beta Glucanbelieved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseasecitrus flavoneswhich can neutralize free radicals, just like lThe catechins in tea and the beta-carotene in carrots and other vegetables or soy isoflavoneswhich could reduce menopause symptoms.
Can their effects be contradictory?
Yes for example Polyunsaturated fatty acids can increase oxidative stress if not used properly.
Phytosterols reduce absorption but also cholesterol some vitamins.
and polyphenols, which appear to act as antioxidants disrupt the synthesis of some hormones.
Why milk with fiber?
In some cases eg if the necessary dietary fiber intake is not possible containing it of course it may be of interest to have aan alternate source.
But it would be a mistake to drink this type of milk to compensate for an insufficient intake of fruit, vegetables or legumes.
Less margarine or more sterols?
Most writers believe rather spread out less margarine in bread instead of fortifying margarine with sterols.
The recording of biological compounds Interesting should not serve as proof of consumption of a food item which comes into question due to its basic composition superfluous.
Can a pill be a “functional food”?
For a food to be considered functional, it must have the appearance of a food and exhibit its effects at levels that should normally be ingested from the diet. Namely, functional foods are eaten and are part of the diet.
What are prebiotics?
are prebiotics easily digestible food ingredients: stimulate selectively the growth or activity of bacteria in the colon. An example of this are carbohydrates from milk: lactulose, lactitol and lactosucrose.
How do probiotics work?
are probiotics living microorganisms such as lactobacilli and bifidobacteriawhich are taken in sufficient quantities can have positive effects on digestion and intestinal function, increase the bioavailability of some nutrients and have a positive impact on their function Immune system.
Can functional foods sometimes be harmful?
result It is recommended to have the instructions prepared by a nutritionist the consumption of functional foods, especially modified foods.
For example, this is important Risks of an imbalance are avoidedeither through over-acceptance of certain components or through delay.