“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” More than 2,500 years ago Hippocrates understood the health enhancing impact of certain foods and his sentiment applies perhaps best to what we now call “functional foods.” So what exactly are “functional foods”?
The term functional foods was first introduced in Japan in the mid-1980s to refer to foods containing ingredients that impact specific body functions beyond basic nutrition. The idea is that what we eat has the potential to mitigate disease, promote health, and reduce health care costs. And we are familiar with many functional foods even if we didn’t know the term for them.
Consider the cranberry. You know, the kind of juice your mother told you to drink when you had a urinary tract infection? She wasn’t making it up. The power of cranberries in a urinary tract fight likely comes down to two compounds: fructose and a nondialyzable polymeric, which inhibit the adherence of the problem bacteria to uroepithelial cells. Fancy. And what about red wine? Seems like every other health-related article is touting the benefits of getting your wine-down on. The real A+ action is not getting toasted. It's actually the non-alcohol components of wine, in particular, the flavanoids, that get the gold star. And lest not we forget the Omega-3 beneies from fish oil. See, you already knew tons about functional foods!
Why Should I Care About Functional Foods?
Why are we talking about functional foods? Because function is our thing! We’re busy, like how you’re busy. We want to get the most out of everything we eat and drink. That means we want our foods to be delish, healthy, AND functional as often as possible. Here are a few of our faves:
- Turmeric. It is the Beyonce of spices, in full-on reign-mode, and for good reason. It’s packed with antioxidants and thanks to curcumim, the phenol that give tumeric its rich color, it’s been found to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
- Ginger root. It is full of nutrients that can benefit your body and banish bloat. That’s because ginger acts as a digestive aid. Tasty and super extra.
- Blueberries. These gems are packed with a specific group of polyphenols, anthocyanins, which give them their the dreamy blue hue. A recent American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study of found that higher consumption of anthocyanins was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity. These same antioxidants also help protect cells from age-related damage by reducing the accumulation of protein clumps that are often seen in Alzheimer's.
- Leafy Greens. You can’t go wrong with greens. They contain phytochemicals such as carotenoids, sulforaphanes, apigenin, and lutein/zeaxanthin. These compounds are believed to block carcinogens from entering cells, aid in heart protection, reduce the incidence of blindness in the elderly, and enhance immune function. Bam!
How We Get Functional with WANNABE Blissed
We are so into getting functional that we created an entire functional protein supplement line! They let you get functional--on the go. The first functional protein blend available is our baby BLISSED to support bright and balanced moods (something we could all use a bit more of, amiright). Blissed is packed with the rock-star Ayurvedic herb Ashwagandha, plus Vitamin B complex, Vitamin D, hibiscus flower extract, passion fruit extract, and cacao powder.
If you wanna get functional, start by getting sooo BLISSED!