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Reprint from the Quaker Oats Company  (*)

No doubt you’ve been hearing the term "superfood," but do you understand what it means?  "Superfood" and the term "functional food," which is preferred by scientists and health professionals, are being used interchangeably to describe foods that contain ingredients with a variety of health benefits beyond basic nutrition.

Many functional foods are those you’re already eating and enjoying.  Take oatmeal, for example.  Besides being a good source of fiber, iron and several B vitamins, oats contain a type of soluble fiber called beta glucan.  More than 37 scientific studies have shown that the beta glucan in oatmeal can lower blood cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of heart disease when oats are eaten as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.  Other well-liked foods that may offer protection against heart disease and some types of cancer are blueberries, almonds, tomatoes, garlic, salmon, tea, yogurt and dark green leafy vegetables. 

The chart below includes 11 functional foods and their possible health benefits. Enjoying them as often as possible makes good sense.


Food Functional Ingredient Possible Health Benefits
Blueberries Contain the most antioxidants of any fruit Antioxidants act as anti-cancer substances that may help protect cells.
Broccoli, Cabbage Excellent source of several phytonutrients May protect against some forms of cancer.
Garlic Family Contains allyl sulfides and flavonoids May protect against some types of cancer and benefit the heart
Nuts Rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant Anti-cancer activity; protection against heart disease.
Oats Contain beta glucan, a form of soluble fiber, several phytonutrients and antioxidants May reduce the risk of heart disease and protect against some forms of cancer.
Orange & Yellow Fruits & Vegetables, Leafy Greens Excellent source of carotenoids Carotenoids have many anti-cancer functions, strengthen the immune system, and protect the retina from harmful radiation.
Salmon Highest concentration of omega-3 fatty acids Help protect against heart disease.
Soy Contains isoflavonoids and lignans Both of these phytonutrients are believed to have some protective effect against cancer and bone density loss. Soy protein may help lower blood cholesterol.
Tomatoes Contain lycopene, a phytonutrient May reduce the risk of prostate and other cancers.
Wheat Germ Good source of folate and vitamin E Folate helps protect against neural tube birth defects; vitamin E protects the heart and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
Yogurt Excellent source of calcium Helps protect against osteoporosis.

Source: "Super Recipes For A Super You," The Quaker Oats Company

*  This page from Quaker Oats is available for download but cannot be linked to; therefore it is reproduced here.

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