Did you know that the term functional food was first used by Japanese nationals in the early 1980s?
Any food that falls under this category is capable of offering extra benefits beyond general nutrition.
Functional foods are foods that help to boost the immune system and promote overall good health.
The intricate relationship between our diet and disease has even prompted the development of a new discipline in food science.
To understand this interplay, let's get right to it and check out 5 foods you can include in your diet to improve your health.
1.Cinnamon buns? Yes, please!
The history of cinnamon being used as a spice and medicine dates back thousands of years.
A recent study showed that sprinkling a high-carb diet with 6 grams of cinnamon could significantly reduce blood sugar levels.
If you're having problems with erratic blood sugar levels, this is a no-brainer.
Cinnamon should be part of your daily diet.
It has a great taste and you can generously use it on a variety of dishes.
From bacon rolls to pastry recipes to sprinkling it in your favorite cup of hemp coffee.
Cinnamon, when ingested, rids the body of harmful toxins.
2.You can't have enough of garlic
Garlic is all about intensity.
Renowned for its intense aromas and flavors, garlic is a staple ingredient in many cuisines globally. Some of the benefits associated with a diet rich in garlic include:
- This super-food acts as a preventative measure to keep heart diseases at bay.
- Garlic has antifungal and anti-bacterial properties.
- Its strong antibiotic properties help to flush out toxins in our digestive system.
- Garlic is an immunity booster. It's a good source of vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, manganese, and potassium. All these contribute to a healthy immune system.
Many of these benefits are as a result of allicin. The active ingredient in garlic.
This sulfur-based ingredient is what gives garlic the pungent taste and detoxifying properties.
Tip: If you can't stand the aftertaste of raw garlic, chewing on fresh parsley will instantly freshen your breath.
3.Mushrooms are great functional foods too
In some ancient civilizations, mushrooms were the preserve of the royal class.
Not anymore. You can now find mushrooms being sold in most grocery stores and food markets.
Including mushrooms in your diet adds a distinct flavor to your meals and offers a wide range of nutritional benefits.
Mushrooms reduce estrogen levels in the body and this has been linked to breast cancer prevention.
They are a healthy way of lowering bad cholesterol levels in the body and promote good cardiovascular health.
Mushrooms also contain beta-glucan which protects against colds and viral infections.
4.Turmeric: The golden spice
Have you been unknowingly missing out on one of the most effective body treats in existence?
Turmeric works wonders for your body and cognitive functions.
It contains a significant dose of curcumin which has an anti-inflammatory effect on your body. Curcumin also contains strong antioxidant properties.
What's more, turmeric boosts the production of BDNF hormone in the brain.
This is the hormone responsible for the growth of brain neurons and fighting degenerative diseases that affect the brain.
5. Ginger magic
To some, ginger is just another plain-looking rhizome growing underground.
But there's more. Here's what ginger can do for your overall health.
- Ginger is effective in soothing the intestinal tract and dealing with stomach aches.
- It can alleviate symptoms of nausea and motion sickness
- Ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties
For the new age health-conscious consumer, functional foods are a critical element in leading a healthy life.