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Functional Food Superheros and 7 Human-like Ways to Enjoy Them

Functional food is food that supports your health and wellbeing. In this article, let's look at some benefits, considerations, and 7 human-like ways to enjoy functional food.

Functional Food Superheros

Functional Food is like a Superhero

Functional foods are like those superheroes in Marvel movies: regular folks with a few extra superpowers. Lucky them!   

Like superheroes in the movies, Functional Foods are great in supporting us. But they're not the be-all and end-all, and chaos can prevail if they gain free reign. Let's look at how we can enjoy functional foods in a down-to-earth human-like way. 

The Two Types of Functional Foods

There are two types of functional foods: conventional and modified

  1. Conventional functional food is your regular variety of whole food with little to no modification. Think fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, meats, and milk. These foods contain bioactive compounds like vitamin C in oranges, probiotics in yoghurt, or omega-3 in fish that make our bodies feel happy when we eat them.
  2. Modified functional foods are foods that have been supercharged (fortified or enriched) to include bioactive compounds that can support health. For example, plant sterols added to margarine for cholesterol-lowering effects or orange juice fortified with calcium for bone health.

    Modified functional foods are designed to help us meet a nutrient shortfall, as a gentle way to reduce the risk of illness, or to support growth and development in at-risk populations. It's a fascinating area in food technology because we can help make regular processed foods work better for us.

The Functional Original, Green Tea

Green Tea is possibly one of the most researched functional foods. 

It's shown to have many benefits in helping to reduce blood pressure cholesterol and reduce the risks of depression and dementia. That's pretty awesome for food! 

Green Tea products are expanding, from just Tea. Green Tea powders are also available (called matcha) and supplements (called neutraceuticals), giving us more options to enjoy the 'powers' of Green Tea.

Easy Does it, Iron Man! 

But—and there's always a but—Green Tea isn't all roses, particularly if we're talking about supplements. If over consumed, Green Tea can affect our liver and reduce the efficacy of medications like Nadolol.

And like if Iron Man' had a malfunctioning suit of armour, that won't be great! So before racing to the health food shop to stock up on our green tea supplements, matcha powder, and a 3-month supply of green tea bags. Let's look at cheaper and more human-like ways to enjoy functional foods. 

7 Ways to Enjoy Functional Foods (Cheaply)

Modified Functional foods can be expensive. This is a significant consideration in today's food climate. The food tech that goes behind them to make it that way is why, and understandably so, let's look at some budget-friendly ways to enjoy them.

  1. Enjoy a mix of conventional foods. You shouldn't need to worry too much about functional foods per se; they'll already be there for you. 
  2. If you're eating a modified functional food, like margarine with plant sterols. Stick with usage recommendations on the pack. Often any more doesn't have any added positive effect.
  3. Try to stick with the more conventional foods. These are typically more budget-friendly, like green tea bags instead of Matcha powder. 
  4. If you're looking to consume foods rich in omega-3, think about using foods like tinned salmon or sardines on toast. These give the same benefit of omega-3 for a fraction of the cost. 
  5. Keep it real. If you can slip in functional food or two—great—but you don't need to sprinkle green tea powder on ice cream (unless you love it) for benefits. A cuppa tea will do just as nicely! 
  6. Get medical advice before taking any functional foods in supplement form (known as nutraceuticals). Concentrated doses might have other health implications. 
  7. If you've got an underlying medical condition or are pregnant, check with your doctor or dietitian to ensure that functional food is safe. 


"Life doesn't give us purpose. We give it purpose." – The Flash


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