Functional Foods



A new method of health care is emerging which is showing signs of revolutionizing how we think about healing our bodies. Functional food is their term and refers to specific foods used to treat medical conditions as well as maintain optimal health and wellbeing.

The old proverb from the father of medicine Hippocrates,

‘let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food’

has never been truer as a whole range of Functional Foods now becoming readily available and supported by scientific research. It makes sense to use food products to stimulate the body’s own internal healing processes rather than chemically suppressing symptoms with pharmaceutical medications.

Functional foods, are similar to Superfoods, however are different in the fact they are often concentrated forms of particular elements of foods. For example acidophilus which is found in natural yoghurts is extracted so that the active health giving properties are much more concentrated. So in effect functional foods are concentrated Superfoods.  Here are some examples to explore for your wellbeing;

Broccoli contains a chemical called sulforaphane which when concentrated has powerful anti-cancerous effects, particularly related to breast and prostate cancer as it assists in the binding and excretion of hormonal metabolites. It has also been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant capabilities. Interestingly, the chemical sulforaphane does not have the same effect when given as a sole ingredient. It only works when it is kept as part of the whole concentrated broccoli extracts.

Coconut seems to be the latest food fad, however all plant based oils have a wide range of therapeutic effects. Plant based oils when extracted correctly have powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can be used to treat asthma, arthritis, eczema and dermatitis. They also assist in improving the appearance of the skin and can be used externally as moisturizing agents.  Children benefit from a regular amount of plant based oils to assist with concentration levels. Effective oils are avocado, walnuts, peach, coconut and flaxseed oil.

Berries contain a wide range of phtyochemicals (plant chemicals) exhibiting therapeutic effect on our bodies. The wide range of antioxidants present in berries have healing and protective effects on the cardiovascular system and brain in slowing the aging process. Concentrated berry sources have been shown to lower blood pressure in elevated states.

Using foods as medicines focus the patient on the fact diet is critical to overall health and wellbeing. It changes the mindset from taking a pill to taking responsibility for your own wellbeing. Many people have the preconceived idea the doctor is responsible for their health and seek a quick fix for every minor ailment. Eventually these people become dependent upon medications to simply exist. If the community focuses more on healthy diet and lifestyle, supported with functional foods to stimulate the healing processes the burden on modern health care would reduce.


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