Why Functional Foods?

Several factors affect the quality of modern life, so that the population must become aware of the importance of food and its nutritional capacity, substances that help health promotion bringing with it an improvement in nutritional status. Functional foods should be eaten and absorbed as part of the daily diet in order to produce specific health benefits, such as reducing the risk of various diseases and the maintenance of physical well-being and mental health. The biologically active substances found in foods can be classified in functional groups such as probiotics and prebiotics, food sulfur and nitrogen, vitamins and pigments, phenolic, poly-unsaturated fatty acids and fiber.

In 1999, the FDA (Food and Drugs Administration, the agency that regulates the food trade and medicines in the United States) has issued a document to officialize the therapeutic potential of soy in preventing heart diseases. The FDA relied on scientific studies conducted by researchers from several universities, research institutions, hospital schools and the American Heart Association (AHA). These studies demonstrated that daily ingestion of 25 grams of soy protein (about 60 grams of grain or soy flour) significantly reduce the rate of total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and also increase the HDL present in the blood thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Soy is considered a functional food because it provides nutrients to the body and brings health benefits. It is rich in proteins, isoflavones and has unsaturated fatty acids and, according to medical research, has an action in preventing chronic degenerative diseases.

It is also an excellent source of minerals like iron, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and vitamin B. The maintenance of health, however, is not made only with the use of functional foods. You need to combine diet and healthy habits, such as playing sports.

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