All foods are “functional” in that they provide us with energy and sustenance. Functional foods, though, have benefit beyond basic nutrition. For instance, the oats in oatmeal (steel-cut) have the highest proportion of soluble fiber of any grain, which makes oatmeal a functional food because soluble fiber is known to lower cholesterol and glucose levels, making oatmeal a heart healthy food!
The Food and Drug Administration does not yet recognize functional foods as a regulatory food category. Other countries, like Japan, are more progressive, having both defined and compiled a list of functional foods decades ago.
Check out Dr. Rodney’s mini list of functional foods below.
Contains more than two-dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different natural COX-2-inhibitors. As an anti-inflammatory agent it may provide an effective treatment for inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s and provide relief for rheumatoid arthritis. Eating it alongside onions may help reduce incidence of colon cancer as well. The superfood power of Turmeric is why some experts dub it the miracle spice.
Substantial source of alpha linolenic acid, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and Omega-3 fatty acids ALA. Heart Protector. Studies also show that walnuts help support eye health and mental function.
Contains omega-3 fatty acids, which raise good HDL cholesterol while lowering bad LDL cholesterol.
Anti-Inflammatory properties and immune system regulator. Helps lower cholesterol naturally (containing a compound called eritadenine) and increase immune function by activating macrophage cells, which are responsible for “clearing out” cancerous cells in the body.
Potatoes Contain Beta-Carotene which has been linked to a lower risk of breast cancer, macular degeneration, rheumatoid arthritis, and death from cardiovascular disease.
High in potassium which may reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke. Learn more about Dr. Rodney’s Protein Powder––derived from potato protein––which contains a high amount of branched chain amino acids (well documented to stimulate muscle protein synthesis).
Rich in antioxidants, which may help protect against both cancer and heart disease. It also contains a flavonoid called kaempferol, which has been shown to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances in the body. Regular consumption of broccoli has also been linked to a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease and prostate cancer and the sulforaphane compounds contained within it are great for the liver.
Contain diallyl sulfide and allyl methyl trisulfide, which may enhance detoxification processes in the liver and support a healthy immune system.
Contains sulfur-containing compounds and a chemical called allicin, which exhibits antibacterial properties. May reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
Contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which has been found to maintain desirable body composition and build lean muscle mass.
One of the most antioxidant-dense fruits available. Improves memory and cognitive function. Additionally they are rich in fiber, a half cup serving yields about 3 grams.
Are prebiotics that support healthy bacteria. High in insoluble fiber which supports an healthy digestive tract and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.
A rich source of phytonutrients like ellagic acid, anthocyanins, quercetin and catechin. Rank high as a source for antioxidants. Heart protector.
Contain lycopene which supports the maintenance of prostate health. And beta carotene, which not only helps protect the skin against sun damage but also makes skin less sensitive to UV light.
High in lutein and zeaxanthin, which contributes to eye health and is thought to prevent the destruction of retinal cells and may decrease the risk for age-related macular degeneration.
Contain epicatechin, which can mimic insulin, and phenolic acids, which are thought to prevent free radical damage in the body. The potassium in peaches helps cleanse the bladder and keeps kidney function in check. Soothes nausea too, even better than ginger, some experts say.
High levels of quercetin, a purported cancer fighter. Red onions maintain their quercetin potency even when heated. They also reduce histamines in the body, and the polyphenol content in a red onion is higher than its fellow allium vegetables, garlic and leeks, but also higher than tomatoes, carrots, and red bell pepper.