Renee Slabic is a registered nutritionist at Saint Vincent Hospital.

There are many strategies one can use when it comes to eating healthily. One of the best is to include something called “functional foods” in our daily diet.

Functional foods, also known as nutraceuticals, can help your body in a number of ways, including preventing cancer and lowering cholesterol.

All foods are functional in that they provide nutrients, but true functional foods are minimally processed foods that have potentially beneficial health effects beyond basic nutrition, such as: B. foods fortified with vitamins, probiotics, fiber and minerals.

The concept of functional foods originated in Japan in the 1980s when the Japanese government made a list of foods that provide more health benefits than just diet.

To really help you, these foods need to be consumed regularly in conjunction with an overall healthy diet.

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Here are some examples of functional foods:

Unsalted nuts: These provide a crunchy, tasty snack, fill the stomach, and are a great source of magnesium that can help lower blood pressure.

Whole Grains: Whole grain barley, farro, and buckwheat offer a variety of health benefits, including fiber. And oatmeal with its beta-glucan has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and improve heart health.

Beans: As a good source of fiber and potassium, folic acid and protein, beans are an excellent functional food. If you choose canned beans, either buy the “no added salt” brands or make sure to rinse and drain your beans before consuming them.

Fish: Oily fish like salmon, herring, trout, and sardines are some of the best functional foods to choose because they contain higher amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which lower the risk of heart disease and improve infant health. if mothers consume them during pregnancy and breastfeeding. About 8 ounces of seafood per week is recommended for adults.

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Berries: Delicious and refreshing, berries are an excellent source of functional foods. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries provide anthocyanin pigments that offer numerous health benefits and are low in calories. Fresh berries are always best, but canned berries are better than none.

If you want to keep your family healthier, your focus should be on planning your daily menus with a variety of functional foods and making them healthy, without fat and excess carbohydrates.

Renee Slabic is a registered nutritionist at Saint Vincent Hospital.