In the 21st century we are facing modern age health problems. Indeed, there have been great improvements; health care, hygiene and awareness of diet have all contributed to a better quality of life. Despite this, there are new issues that have arisen, and Functional Foods could be a potential solution.
An increase in food production, food trends and new attitudes towards consumption have had a significant health impact. Obesity and diabetes are currently proficient. Modern health problems are more concentrated in the west where food production and consumption are both high. However, such health issues are becoming increasingly widespread, especially with the international expansion of fast food companies. Developed countries face further hurdles due to high energy foods and unbalanced diets.
Healthy gut, Happy Body.
There is potential for Functional Foods to help in mitigating health problems. Functional Foods are food products that have added health benefits as well as nutrition. These can include pro-biotic yoghurts that are said to increase levels of good bacteria in the gut. Although Functional Foods are more commonly perceived to have short-term benefits, many of their benefits are long-term prevention and the reduction of chronic diseases. Functional Foods have demonstrated some benefits and go further than just their basic nutrition. One of the main benefits is better-quality gut health.
Overall diet has massive implications upon gut health; both positive and negative. It all relies upon the presence of large amounts of bacteria that live naturally within the large intestine (known as microbial flora). A malfunction of gut health occurs when there’s an imbalance of these bacteria. Keeping our bowels healthy is essential because gut health determines overall health.
Our gut provides essential functions that contribute greatly to the overall body. Our intestines breakdown food into nutrients and help to absorb them into the blood so these nutrients can fuel the human body. Furthermore, the intestines also protect the human body by preventing foreign and toxic molecules from entering the bloodstream. These functions are extremely important thus any gut malfunction has a direct and negative impact on human health.
Functional Foods to the Rescue!
Regularly consuming Functional Foods can help the immune system, decrease the average duration of intestinal infections and improve digestion. This is due to the control and maintenance of gut bacteria. The specific ingredient in Functional Foods affects the consumer in a specific manner so that there are positive effects and justify their health claims. However, these claims must under-go scientific assessment so that they can protect the consumer. A positive assessment is based on whether the substance in a Functional Food is absorbed or reaches the site of action and has positive physical affects.
Remember, Functional Foods Aren’t Magic.
Functional Foods do have benefits to human health. Nevertheless, they are not a miracle solution. Practicing a healthy, active lifestyle as well as consuming Functional Foods will yield the best outcome. This would include not smoking, moderating alcohol consumption, regular exercise and a varied, balanced diet. Functional foods are beneficial, but they aren’t a quick fix. They are simply part of an ongoing healthy way of living.