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Understanding the basics of functional foods and how they will work in your body, is a key step in learning how to use them in the right way. Functional foods are foods that have additional health benefits beyond basic nutrition. These foods contain bioactive compounds such as vitamins, minerals, fibers, and antioxidants that have the potential to prevent or treat various health conditions.
Some examples of Level-1 functional foods include:
- Probiotics: Foods that contain live bacteria or yeast, such as yogurt or kefir, can improve gut health by promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria.
- Omega-3 fatty acids: Found in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines, omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to lower inflammation, improve heart health, and support brain function.
- Whole grains: Foods like oats, brown rice, and quinoa are high in fiber and have been linked to lower rates of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers.
- Berries: Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are high in antioxidants, which protect cells from damage and may reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens are high in vitamins and minerals that support overall health.
Functional foods are divided into different levels based on their effectiveness, absorption, bioavailability, and “potential to treat” action. We encourage you to read more about their clinical effectiveness.
Level-1 functional foods
Level-1 functional foods provide nutrients, minerals and anti-oxidants at healing levels. The daily consumption of these top-rated functional foods is able to regulate some very specific health actions in our bodies.
Level-2 functional foods
The above list mentions some of the most commonly available Level-2 functional foods, which provide some nutrients, minerals and anti-oxidants at their basic level, and whose daily consumption has been proven to have various health benefits.
Functional foods can be an important part of a healthy diet, and it is important to understand the basics before using them. It is also important to consult with a healthcare professional before making significant changes to your diet, particularly if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medication.