Jennifer Caryn Brand Nutrition

Jennifer Brand, MPH, MS, CNS Clinical Nutritionist

Shopping Basics

(and Functional Foods)

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First, you might be wondering what functional foods are. Functional foods are foods that may have positive effects on health, reaching beyond basic nutrition. Functional foods are health promoting and reduce the risk for disease. Where do you find functional foods? Read on.

Shop the perimeter of the store (avoid the aisles as much as possible because this is where the processed foods are). This is where you will find your produce, protein and dairy products, the functional foods. Start in the produce section and fill up your shopping cart with a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables and select a variety of bright colors. Aim to try at least one new ‘fun’ fruit or vegetable per week.

Buy your meats at the butcher counter and buy organic/grass-fed/pastured/free-range products when possible. These types of animal products have a healthier fat and overall nutrient profile than their processed [grain fed] counterparts.

Purchase full fat dairy (and other) products. Low-fat and nonfat versions have sugars and other substances added to them in order to improve the taste and texture of these processed foods, so avoid them.

When it comes to condiments, read the labels. For oils, look for organic, and first cold pressed products. Avoid condiments that contain added sugars and high fructose corn syrup, and even agave (many salad dressings are loaded with extra sugars like this for example).

Because you are buying functional foods, many of them will not come in labeled packages, and this is good! When purchasing foods that do contain labels, if you can’t pronounce an ingredient, don’t buy it. Also, the fewer listed ingredients the better (5 or less is best). Remember that functional foods don’t have ingredients because they are ingredients!

Need more assistance or have questions? Contact me today!

Reference:

Zeratsky K. Healthy Lifestyle. Nutrition and healthy eating. Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/functional-foods/faq-20057816. April 11, 2015. Accessed July 11, 2017.