Functional Foods

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Tamar Genger MA, RD
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What are functional foods and how do we get more of them in our diet? 

This is a common question I hear.  Everyone has heard the term, but they are not quite sure what it means.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, "functional foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition".  This means that in addition to providing basic vitamins and minerals, their specific nutrient content is shown to improve your health with a specific action.  For example, it has been found that oats can lower cholesterol and that is why Cheerios is allowed to make that claim. 

Most functional foods fall in categories based on ingredients such as probiotics, which are good for your digestion and your immune system, and plant sterols, which lower cholesterol.  Foods can naturally contain these nutrients or be fortified with them to be considered a functional food. 

Here are 9 recipes to get more functional foods in your diet. 

9 functional foods that show you how to get more nutrients in your diet

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