Taking a Peek at Functional Foods

We all know that foods provide nutrients, some more basic than others. Beyond foods that have basic nutritional value, there are “functional foods”. These foods can be naturally nutritious, or have been fortified with additional vitamins and minerals.   So, if I had to choose between iceberg or romaine lettuce, I’d choose romaine because it has more folate, vitamin K and is darker green. Iceberg would have very basic nutritional value, if any at all.   To be more mindful of what you nourish yourself with, the goal each day should be to choose more functional foods than basic.
Functional Foods that are modified include  (but not limited to):
Vitamin supplements, including probiotics
Eggs with added omega-3
Orange Juice with added calcium
Hempseed oil fortified with flaxseed or omega-3 (look for zero trans fat and < 2 grams/saturated fat)
Examples of Functional Foods that have high nutritional value naturally 
(to name a few):
Asian Pears, Cherries, Grapes 
Leafy greens such as broccoli and kale
Now, more than ever, consumers are accepting responsibility for their health and wellness.  They are reading food labels & packaging in an attempt to separate the good from the bad; comparing natural fruits and veggies to include the most nutritious in their daily diet; and doing research to see if they should include dietary supplements to maintain an adequate daily intake of vitamins and minerals.  Functional foods should be on everyone’s daily list!
Photo Source: Istock Photo

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