Sunday, August 24, 2008

Improving Health with Functional Foods

Functional foods have unique elements that improve the natural health functioning in your body. You may already eat functional foods if you spread cholesterol reducing margarine on your toast, drink calcium-fortified orange juice, scramble DHA-enhanced eggs, eat cold-water fish, eat whole fruit, or eat vegetables.

Mom use to always say, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. She may not have known about functional food but she was headed down the right path.

Natural occurring Functional Foods are separated into: carotenoids, fatty acids, flavonoids, probiotics, phytoestrogens, and soy protein.

Carotenoids: Carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato all neutralize free radicals that attack cells, and boosts antioxidant defenses. Spinach, kale, collards and eggs it is believed contribute to healthy eyes. Tomatoes, watermelon, and pink grapefruit may help with maintaining a healthy prostate.

Fatty Acids: Walnuts, flaxseed, salmon, tuna, anchovies, and mackerel may help keep the heart, brain and eyes healthy.

Flavonoids: Green tea, chocolate, apples, grapes and onions may keep your heart healthy while it boosts your antioxidant defenses.

Probiotics: Some yogurts and other cultured dairy products may improve your healthy gut and your immune system

Phytoestrogens: Soy beans and soy based foods may help keep bones healthy and may contribute to a healthy menopause.

Soy Protein: soy beans and soy based food may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

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