What are Functional Foods?
Here at Circle B Ranch, we’re all about focusing on the healthy benefits food can have on our bodies. Functional foods are foods with extra benefits besides basic nutrition. Growing up, our parents would tell us we needed to eat our vegetables to grow up big and strong – these are functional foods. Some foods can also be fortified, or have nutrients added to them for a larger benefit to those consuming them. For example, we often see milk fortified with vitamin D, and iodized salt.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, functional foods are: “whole foods along with fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis at effective levels based on significant standards of evidence.”
Some of the most common functional foods include fruits & veggies, nuts, yogurt, certain cereals, and orange juice. It’s important to note that you shouldn’t replace your regular diet with only fortified foods – a good portion of your diet should still consist of foods that naturally have these extra nutrients and benefits already in them.
Because there’s no real government regulation on these types of foods, we’re mostly left on our own to figure out which foods are functional foods. To do this, we would recommend paying attention to what ingredients are in the foods you buy and reading the nutrition label on everything.
If you’ve looked at our blog before, you know we love incorporating functional foods within our recipes. Here are some of our favorites: Sticky Pork Belly with Smashed Peanuts, Ricotta Orange Pound Cake with Strawberries, Cranberry Oatmeal Bars, and our Sausage, Greens, and Beans Pasta!