What are Functional foods?

Nutrition is a major factor to consider when making a life style change. Functional foods is targeted to prevent, maintain your health through certain diseases through food, and in some cases cure certain diseases. This brings us to the definition of what Functional foods are!


”Functional food are foods that have been naturally or artificially fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that have a medicinal effect on our health when consumed on a daily basis at effective levels”


  1. Modified foods example Greek yogurt, whole cereals, fruit smoothies and natural juice etc.
  2. Medicinal foods example special formulations of foods and beverages for certain health conditions such as Renal disorder, kidney failure, etc
  3. Conventional foods example whole grains, fruits, low-ft/non-fat foods, vegetables and nuts etc
  4. Foods for special dietary use example infant formula, hypoallergenic foods, non-lactose milk, food for diabetic patient, food for cancer patient, Food for obese patients, etc


Nature has placed medicine in our food, the earlier we realize this the better. Food can be used to improve our health(i.e by eating the right food). Every food can be termed as functional because food provide the basic nourishment to the body in that it provides energy and nutrients necessary for survival.


But the focus of “functional food” in this context is based on the health benefits that goes beyond basic nourishment. Food scientist and nutritionist have carried out researches to identify and correct nutritional deficiencies to designing foods that promote optimal health and reduce the risk of disease.



Most of our African/Nigerian food have lots of functional food that we can incorporate into our daily diet to improve our health and nutrition status. Functional foods can enhance performance and deliver benefits for conditions such as coronary heart disease, osteoporosis and neural tube defects.


There are certain components found in food that can help to improve memory, reduce arthritis, and provide other benefits heretofore limited to drugs. It states that future benefits might include foods for increased energy, mental alertness, and better sleep.


Do you have questions about Functional foods? Leave a comment

4 thoughts on “What are Functional foods?”

  1. Sometimes we may not necessarily have access to the different variety of functional foods or maybe dislike the taste and appearance.
    Can someone take food supplements as an alternative?

    1. Simbiat Oladoja

      Yes sir, there are good supplements one can take, but natural option remains the best, and most of those supplements are quite expensive.

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