Was Oatmeal the First Functional Food?


Bowl of Oatmeal with Blueberries on Top

Food is necessary for survival — everyone knows that. At the most basic level, food is fuel. It's what keeps us going. Food also adds to the pleasure of life. Ideally, the foods we eat should have good taste, aroma and texture. But there is more to it than that. There are foods that give us more than just the basic sustenance needed to survive. Functional foods serve a greater purpose, and when included in our daily diets, can serve to help us achieve optimal health and wellness. 

 

Foods for Health and Wellness

The term "functional food" was adopted in Japan in the 1980's to help categorize foods that were considered to serve specific health purposes, such as lowering cholesterol, improving heart health or preventing disease. While functional food is not a recognized category in the United States, more and more attention has been given to exploring how foods do so much more than just fuel our bodies and please our palettes, but also how they can benefit our health and be used to treat or prevent illness as well as improve our body's performance.

FDA Awards 1st Functional Food Claim

Oats are a staple food, and are simple to prepare and relatively inexpensive to buy. Additionally, oatmeal became the first food to be awarded a food-specific health claim.  "There is scientific agreement soluble fiber from oat products when added to a low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol diet may help reduce the risk of heart disease," reported the FDA in 1997. A claim that was awarded to Quaker Oats, who continues to develop their lines of heart-healthy foods.

Metabolic Research Center not only helps people lose weight and keep it off, but also keeps the focus on achieving an optimum level of health and wellness. This is achieved, in part, by consuming a menu plan rich in functional, whole foods.

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