- Food Science
by of dreams and knowledge
First, let’s clarify that the term biofunctional foods originates from the word “bio” and the word “functional”. The term bio refers to the bioactive compounds commonly found in these foods, which gives rise to the word “Biofunctional Foods”. Many of us misinterpret the word bio in this instance with the meaning of organic, which is not right in the general sense. At MILESTONE®, however, it may as well mean that, since our products are certified for the absence of dangerous phytochemicals and other toxification factors.
In general, the term functional foods is used to describe foods or food ingredients that provide health benefits beyond meeting basic nutrition needs. The inclusion of these types of foods can provide further protection against chronic disease and condition development. Different compounds most often work together synergistically to alter one or more physiological processes in the body, so including a variety of these foods works best for your body. There is no doubt that biofunctional foods are highly growing in popularity among those of you who are looking for natural alternatives to supplements for boosting a variety of health attributes. Are you still wondering why biofunctional foods are your best source? Read our latest article on the comparison between natural vs synthetic nutrients, why our biofunctional foods outperform supplements and will improve your overall health in less than 3 months.
The Definition of Functional Foods
Food as medicine is not a new concept; it has been practiced for thousands of years. In reality, Hippocrates, the father of medicine, proposed the concept “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food” over 2500 years ago. The notion of functional foods was initially introduced in Japan in the mid-1980s, when the Japanese government funded research projects to investigate the ability of particular foods to alter physiological functioning. This resulted in the passage of a law in 1991 designating the category of Foods for Specialized Health Use (FOSHU), which permitted specific foods to be recognized by the Japanese government and to bear the FOSHU seal of approval on their labels. The European Commission Concerted Action on Functional Food Scientific in Europe (FUFOSE) was established in the late 1990s to build a science-based strategy for concepts in functional food science 1.
Today, the word biofunctional foods refers to foods or food ingredients that, due to their physiologically bioactive food components, provide health advantages in addition to providing basic nutrition demands (i.e. bioactive compounds or bioactive food components). In the United States, however, there is no precise definition of functional foods. Several well-known groups have developed their own definitions. Although these organizations acknowledge that all foods are functional on some level because they provide the energy and nutrients needed to sustain life, they also acknowledge that certain foods may provide additional health benefits and may exert specific functional effects within the body (e.g. reduction of blood pressure, inflammation, blood sugar levels, etc.).
1. High Phenolic Olive Oil
Foods are considered functional if they contain a bioactive component such as nutrients (vitamins, minerals, protein, etc.) or non-nutrients (polyphenols 2, dietary fibers, etc.) that affect one or more physiological functions in the body that improve well-being and health, reduce disease risk, or regulate a particular health function. These compounds frequently exert their effects in an additive and/or synergistic manner. A primary example of such food is the High Phenolic Olive Oil, which has a unique set of bioactive compounds including oleocanthal, oleasin, tyrosol, hydroxytyrosol, oleuropein among others. It also comes with a unique set of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, omega 3 (ALA), omega 6 (linolenic acid) and omega 9 (oleic acid) that will guard your cholesterol levels and your overall cardiovascular health. High phenolic olive oil has numerous clinically-confirmed health effects and may be categorized under the following functions or ingredient intakes:
Find out why our high phenolic olive carrying 3 qualified health claims is the best you can have and how our different functional combinations may assist you in targeting your deficiency.
2. Pomegranate with Curcumin
Our Pomegranate Curcumin Concentrate is another example of what we define as a holistic and effective natural biofunctional food. It is a unique combination of nature’s most potent fruit, the pomegranate together with the most bioabsorbable form of curcumin extract in the world. Each bottle contains at least 25 healthy, high-quality organic pomegranates. MILESTONE® is among the best:
Curcumin has been used as an anti-inflammatory in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis 3. According to research, high amounts of curcumin, the compound that gives turmeric its unique color, can help reduce exercise-induced muscle damage 4. Based on other research, curcumin has the potential to be an immune booster and an antiviral 5. Discover the amazing health benefits of our curcumin extract, served on a delicious pomegranate base plus Vitamin D3. A true powerhouse of foods for immune!
Blueberries include anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid with antioxidant characteristics that can help enhance a person’s immune system. According to a 2016 study 6, flavonoids have an important role in the immune defense mechanism of the respiratory tract. Researchers discovered that those who consumed foods high in flavonoids were less likely to get an upper respiratory tract infection, also known as the common cold, than those who did not. Blueberries are widely considered to be among the best biofunctional foods of nature, simply because they pass on the borderline of basic nutrition.
4. Fermented Foods
Fermentation—the process by which naturally occurring, helpful bacteria break down the starches in food—is not only good for preserving food; it has also been shown to boost nutritional levels and have significant advantages on gut health due to high amounts of probiotics (those beneficial bacteria that pre-digest the food). Maintaining a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria and disease-causing bacteria in your gut is critical to your overall health. We are more prone to depression, skin issues, and obesity if we do not have healthy gut bacteria. Fortunately for humans, one of the best methods to eradicate harmful bacteria and enhance the health of good bacteria is to consume fermented foods and beverages high in probiotics 7.
The most common fermented food is sourdough bread, yogurt, but kefir is gaining popularity too. Kefir’s probiotics, which are similar to drinkable yogurt, have been demonstrated to colonize the digestive tract, which is a key step in being able to truly contribute in increasing gut health. It’s also a great source of complete protein, contributing to your daily vitamin B12 needs, and other critical minerals 8. This is the reason that we designed and developed the naturally fermented version of our pomegranate concentrate that is full of bioactive compounds and enzymes, making it an excellent choice of fermented:
5. Algae Vitamin D3
Our High Phenolic Olive + Algae D3 Oil food is an excellent example of biofunctional food in action. In addition to the immune-boosting vitamin D3 found in algae, research reveals a link between olive oil consumption and the protection from oxidative stress. Vitamin D3 aids in the immune and anti-inflammatory system response.
Common Misconceptions about Functional Foods
“Superfoods”: A marketing phrase for foods that are high in nutrients and other bioactive components. Foods with excellent nutritional quality may have distinct functional impacts (e.g. lower blood cholesterol levels). Marketing and disinformation may promote myths about so-called superfoods. Foods are not “exceptional,” and marketing them as such can create unrealistic expectations. Foods promoted as superfoods have health benefits.
However, eating too much of one meal can lead to vitamin deficiencies if a range of foods are not consumed, and eating too many calories from foods like dark chocolate, almonds, and wine can contribute to weight gain and have negative health impacts.
Foods to avoid: “White” dishes have earned a poor reputation throughout the years. This is due, in part, to the fact that white bread and white rice are processed to remove the majority of nutrients except for the easily digestible and high glycemic index starch component. Furthermore, there is a widespread misperception that “white” meals do not contain phytochemicals, despite the fact that these substances are known to exist in colorful plant foods. Many white-colored foods, such as potatoes, onions, and garlic, include a variety of nutrients and phytochemicals.
Variety is Key to Proper Nutrition
The key to good nutrition is variety. Even if you eat one of these meals on a regular basis, it will not be enough to help you fight the flu or other infections. Pay attention to serving sizes and suggested daily intakes to avoid getting too much of one vitamin and not enough of others. Eating well is a good place to start, but there are additional things you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu, cold, and other ailments. Begin with these flu preventative nutrition tips, then move on to other great daily habits that will boost your immune, e.g. exercise, reduce stress, and live slowly and holistically. We are committed to serving you the most natural and effective functional food formulas out there.
1. Fill most of your plate with plant foods
2. Select a variety of colors
3. Choose a variety of foods
4. Prepare foods in a variety of ways
5. Reduce intake of highly processed foods
Picking a diversity of foods is just as important as choosing a variety of ways to prepare the food. Different cooking methods can have varying effects on foods and their nutrients. Cooking with heat may degrade some chemicals while increasing the bioavailability of others, and this may vary depending on the food. Vitamin C, for example, is susceptible to high heat and some may be destroyed when heated, whereas vitamin A is more heat stable and may even increase in availability when heated. For example, when tomatoes are processed, heated, and a great fat such as high phenolic olive oil is added, a phytochemical and carotenoid called lycopene contained in tomatoes becomes more available for the body to consume and may have favorable health effects. This is what makes a biofunctional food work effectively and holistically.
Biofunctional Foods are foods designed with scientific intelligence and are intended for special health uses. They currently hold the answer to many common health issues or deficiencies and may be designed as: foods for immune, foods for inflammation, foods for brain, foods mood, and many more subcategories. We are always here to help you so please feel free and let us know what you think.
A Word From MILESTONE®
MILESTONE® Food for your Genes uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
- Lang T. Functional foods. BMJ. 2007;334(7602):1015-1016. doi:10.1136/bmj.39212.592477.BE
- Pem D, Jeewon R. Fruit and Vegetable Intake: Benefits and Progress of Nutrition Education Interventions– Narrative Review Article. Iran J Public Health. 2015;44(10):1309-1321.
- Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639. Epub 2012 Mar 9. PMID: 22407780.
- McFarlin BK, Venable AS, Henning AL, et al. Reduced inflammatory and muscle damage biomarkers following oral supplementation with bioavailable curcumin. BBA Clin. 2016;5:72-78. Published 2016 Feb 18. doi:10.1016/j.bbacli.2016.02.003
- Ghosh S, Banerjee S, Sil PC. The beneficial role of curcumin on inflammation, diabetes and neurodegenerative disease: A recent update. Food Chem Toxicol. 2015 Sep;83:111-24. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2015.05.022. Epub 2015 Jun 9. PMID: 26066364.
- Somerville VS, Braakhuis AJ, Hopkins WG. Effect of Flavonoids on Upper Respiratory Tract Infections and Immune Function: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Adv Nutr. 2016;7(3):488-497. Published 2016 May 16. doi:10.3945/an.115.010538
- Fernández M, Hudson JA, Korpela R, de los Reyes-Gavilán CG. Impact on human health of microorganisms present in fermented dairy products: an overview. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:412714. doi:10.1155/2015/412714
- Gao D, Ning N, Wang C, et al. Dairy products consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2013;8(9):e73965. Published 2013 Sep 27. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0073965