If you want to stay healthy, lose weight and feel energized every day, it's no longer enough to simply eat nutritional food.
Now you have to eat functional food.
Functional foods are those that have a benefit to your body beyond simply the nutrient content. This can be in the form of helping fight a certain disease, reduce illness or inflammation within the body, or boost the body in some way.
If you’re new to functional foods and are ready to start integrating them into your diet, these ones are a great place to start:
You may know it as your favourite ingredient to add to pasta and pesto, but garlic is one of nature’s superfoods. Offering anti-microbial, anti-viral and antibacterial properties, garlic is great for boosting immunity, staving off a cold or viral infection and even fighting bacterial infections, with enough time. It is also packed with antioxidants, meaning it fights your viruses and your free radicals at the same time!
You are likely quite familiar with this ingredient, if for nothing else but because it’s been gaining a lot of popularity lately with the rise of golden milk. Turmeric, actually a root, is well known for its yellow colour, and it is partly this that makes it such a beneficial food, offering high levels of antioxidants and acting as a powerful addition to your diet for helping to fight free radicals. This yellow colour comes from curcumin, a chemical produced naturally by the turmeric plant, and also in ginger (just in smaller quantities). Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory effects, helping reduce inflammation within the body.
The main function of fermented foods is in their role in supporting gut health. Fermented foods contain probiotics, the good bacteria that we need to support good digestion and detoxification. Failure to have adequate healthy bacteria means your food may not be digested properly, leading to putrefying food left in the stomach which can cause larger issues such as leaky gut or small intestinal bacterial overgrowth. Healthy bacteria are also responsible for producing B vitamins, aiding in the removal of toxins and fermented foods contain K2 another essential vitamin for healthy digestion. Kombucha is a great fermented drink that's loaded with healthy bacteria!
This root is the cure all for upset stomachs, bloating and general digestive maladies, including nausea and menstrual cramps. Its healing properties are because ginger is also an anti-inflammatory and an anti-viral food and is able to use these properties to benefit in healing, such as when you have stomach pains due to a parasite, or due to allergies. Furthermore, ginger is a functional food because it is an antioxidant, aiding in reducing free radical build up which is important in helping reduce your risk of cancer.
These are a vegan’s best friend when it comes to consuming enough essential fatty acids (the best source of which is typically from fish). Essential fatty acids are essential because our body cannot make them and they are important for healthy brain function, reducing inflammation, maintaining healthy skin and aiding in digestion. They are rich in Omega 3 and 6 and a great source of fibre, and also act as a great binding and thickening agent in vegan baking, breads and grain-based products.