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Gulfood Green 2024

15 Jan 2024

Functional Foods: Superheroes for Health

Functional Foods: Superheroes for Health

Taste plays a chief role in why we choose foods, but healthfulness is also an important driver of food purchases, and many people want to know how specific nutrients affect their health and well-being. In fact, many people seek out certain foods to support their energy, weight management, digestive, heart health, sleep, and immunity goals. Whether it’s a probiotic yogurt or vitamin D-enhanced mushrooms, eating more functional foods (sometimes hyped-up as “superfoods”) can improve our health, longevity, and quality of life. Read on to find out how.

What Are Functional Foods?

The term “functional foods” originated in Japan during the 1980s. In 1991, the Japanese government established a regulatory system for the labeling of “Foods for Specified Health Uses” (FOSHU) to classify foods considered to be beneficial for human health. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also regulates functional foods, despite there being no legal definition in this country.

In general, foods are considered “functional” if they provide benefits beyond basic nutritional needs, such as further enhancing health and well-being. The beneficial nutrients in functional foods may be naturally present, or they may be added during manufacturing. 

 

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