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understand what they are and know the benefits

Functional foods are those that produce beneficial effects in the body, helping to maintain health. All foods have nutritional properties, but some have elements with particular functions and are classified as functional.

The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) defines functional food as that food or ingredient with functional and/or health properties. Furthermore, in addition to basic nutritional functions, when it comes to a nutrient, it must produce metabolic, physiological and beneficial health effects, as well as be safe for consumption without medical supervision. “When consumed in the usual diet, however, the efficacy and safety of these foods must be ensured through scientific studies”, warns nutritionist Gabriela Marcelino.

Food for disease prevention

With the increase in life expectancy of Brazilians and, at the same time, the growing appearance of chronic diseases, the role of a balanced diet in health maintenance has aroused interest in the scientific community, which has produced numerous studies with the aim of proving the performance of certain foods in disease prevention.

“The term ‘functional foods’ was first introduced in Japan in the mid-1980s. After a long period of work, in 1991, the category was regulated, receiving the name Foods for Specified Health Use (FOSHU); the translation of the expression into Portuguese is Functional Food or Nutraceuticals”, says Gabriela Marcelino.

Functional foods are represented by fruits, vegetables and vegetables (Image: Shutterstock)

role against diseases

According to the nutritionist, several countries already have specific legislation and, in Brazil, the rules were established in 1999 by the Ministry of Health, through specific resolutions. “Functional foods have been studied a lot, because, despite not curing diseases, they have active components that may be able to prevent or reduce the risk of some of them. Among the most investigated diseases are the cardiovascularcancer, hypertension, diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, certain rheumatic diseases, among others”, adds Gabriela Marcelino.

Types of functional foods

The recommendation for a healthy eating is the frequent consumption of vegetables, fruits, cereals and whole grains, especially soy and fish rich in omega 3, such as tuna, sardines, salmon and trout. “Functional foods can show positive results when they are part of a balanced and balanced diet”, points out Gabriela Marcelino.

Source: Maxima

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