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Functional foods are called those that are made in a biological way with actives that benefit the health of natural foods that provide vitamins. Here are some of their benefits and contraindications.
A balanced diet and physical exercise are the basis of good health. In this context, functional foods are important because they help to improve the functioning of the organism in different ways:
- Child growth and development. Milk with calcium and vitamin D contains specific nutrients for children's development.
- Pregnancy. Salt and different vitamins and minerals contribute to the good development of the fetus.
- Metabolism. Many of the functional foods favor better blood glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride control, and avoid strains.
- Oxidative stress. Antioxidants can help to prevent cardiovascular and degenerative diseases or cancer.
In their natural state, all foods provide essential nutrients for human health. But a balanced diet can provide you with the necessary amounts. This is the reason why some functional food has been enriched with different nutrients in order to provide health benefits. Namely:
- Dietary fiber: it is used to normalize the digestive tract and to combat strain.
- Low energy sugar: used to replace sugar in the production of certain products, avoid the concentration of glucose in the blood, and do not favor the formation of cavities.
- Unsaturated fatty acids: help to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. Polyunsaturated agents also act as antiplatelet agents, helping to prevent the formation of thrombi in the blood system.
- Phytosterols: absorb cholesterol of low density (LDL) and help to reduce or prevent hypercholesterolemia.
- Amino acids: are directed to the nervous system, helping to reduce stress and anxiety and providing an effective sedative that favors the body, as well as the immune system, reinforcing the body's defenses.
- Vitamins and minerals: promote development and growth and prevent complications, among diseases that help prevent osteoporosis, thyroid diseases, disorders of iodine deficit, anemia, rickets, etc.
- Antioxidants: help to prevent oxidation of tissue and the effect of free radicals on DNA, which speeds up the aging process, favors degenerative diseases, and can lead to the formation of genetic alterations that could lead to the development of cancer.
In spite of the many benefits that can provide functional foods, experts in nutrition provide that excessive consumption of certain nutrients can lead to health problems. If you have in mind that at the present time there are a lot of elaborate products that get enriched and if you don't pay attention, you can use an overconsumption situation.