What are functional foods and how can I get more of them into my diet?

Functional foods are commonly known foods that offer additional benefits to our bodies beyond the obvious. The following list of foods have been demonstrated through research to exhibit beneficial effects in the areas of immunity, enhanced gastrointestinal function, and reducing inflammation.

The good news about taking food over pills, is that all of these foods are healthy, great options that pose no risk to human health. While we don’t know the effect of pills or herbal remedies taken in excess over a long term period, we do know that these foods offer numerous benefits and are safe to consume.

Yogurt-This natural probiotic contains numerous active live cultures and can create a healthy climate throughout the GI tract. The great news is that yogurt can even be enjoyed by those suffering from lactose intolerance as the lactose is sufficiently broken down in yogurt making it easy to digest.

Oats and barley. These grains contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber with antimicrobial and antioxidant capabilities. This soluble fiber also lowers LDL cholesterol levels-also known as bad cholesterol.

Turmeric. A very popular spice that has been found to be anti-inflammatory.

Cinnamon. Has anti-inflammatory and blood thinning properties. In one study, a half teaspoon of cinnamon a day was found to lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.

Ginger. Ginger’s most well-known medicinal use is as a digestive aid to relieve stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea, but just like cinnamon and turmeric, it is also an anti-inflammatory.

Garlic. This potent onion relative contains the active ingredient allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. Also good for heart health.

Home made chicken soup. Can help you get over a cold sooner. The amino acid cysteine, released from chicken during cooking, may explain the results.

Tea. People who drank five cups a day of black tea for two weeks had 10 times more virus-fighting interferon in their blood than others who drank a placebo hot drink in a Harvard study. Green teas have also been demonstrated to be a potential metabolic booster, helping you burn more calories throughout the day.

Fatty fish such as: salmon, mackerel and herring are rich in Omega-3 fats, which reduce inflammation.

Sweet potatoes. Rich in Vitamin A for strong and healthy skin.

 

 

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