Fruit And Yogurt Flik Blog

What the FLIK is…a Functional Food?

Grubstreet recently interviewed two of the most prominent voices in the food world – Mark Bittman and Dr. David Katz – and when asked if there really is such a thing as a “superfood”, their answer was simple: “If the idea is that a superfood will do super things, then no.”


Turns out, there is no clear definition of what a superfood actually is, which is why we believe the culinary and nutrition worlds will be retiring the word in the coming years. What’s the replacement then, you ask? Say hello to Functional Foods. It might not have the same ring to it, but it has a few clear benefits, mainly that there’s a more accepted definition.

Mediterranean Salad

What the FLIK…is a Functional Food?

In short, a functional food is a food that has benefits that go beyond basic nutrition. While the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t have an official definition for a function food (yet), the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics defines functional foods as "whole foods along with fortified, enriched or enhanced foods that have a potentially beneficial effect on health when consumed as part of a varied diet on a regular basis at effective levels based on significant standards of evidence."

You may also hear the word nutraceutical in the conversation about functional foods – and we know it’s a mouthful – but as interesting as that word sounds, it isn’t the same as a functional food. Functional foods are foods themselves; nutraceuticals are nutrients that are found in either supplement form or in foods.

The Three Categories of Functional Foods

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics identifies three categories of functional foods – conventional, modified, and synthesized food ingredients.

Conventional foods identified as a functional food include everything from produce to fish. Think probiotics naturally found in yogurt or heart-healthy fats naturally found in nuts and seeds. These nutrients make the food a functional food because of the benefits they provide beyond basic nutrition.

Modified foods identified as a functional food would be those that have been fortified with specific nutrients to provide added benefit and finally, synthesized food ingredients such as indigestible starch would also qualify as a functional food because of the prebiotic benefit.

Bowl of Tomato

FLIK’s Functional Foods

Each month, FLIK Hospitality Group features a new functional food with accompanying recipes to ensure that we’re providing our guests with all the right nutrients they need while assuring variety is top of mind.

Let’s take a look at a few of the upcoming functional foods and their potential benefits:

  • Seeds: Polyunsaturated fats are abundant in seeds. These healthy fats play a role in heart-health by helping to lower LDL cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. They also help with lowering blood pressure and triglycerides.
  • Berries: We feature berries as a functional food because of their flavonoids. Anthocyanin is an important flavonoid that gives berries their dark red and blue color. This flavonoid works as an antioxidant and plays a role in brain health.
  • Tomatoes: Tomatoes are a source of lycopene, a carotenoid that plays a role in prostate health. They also contain beta-carotene, another carotenoid that acts as an antioxidant and is made into vitamin A in the body.
  • Cruciferous Vegetables: Cruciferous vegetables are another source of flavonoids known as sulforaphane which includes two compounds known as indoles and glucosinolates. These compounds are thought to play a role in cancer prevention and work as powerful antioxidants.
  • Dark Chocolate: We’ve heard rumors that chocolate is good for you and it turns out it’s true! Dark chocolate is a source of multiple flavonoids that have antioxidant properties and play a role in heart health.

Have questions about Functional Foods? E-mail us at!


What We Were Talking About in 2018: Four Whole Grains to Boost Your Health

At FLIK Hospitality Group we believe in great food, great service, and great people. Our wellness first approach ensures our food supports healthy and delicious choices, specially curated by our team of culinary experts and registered dietitians. At FLIK, we believe in seasonality in sourcing our ingredients and providing a customized approach to the culinary and hospitality needs of each client. Our dedication to providing quality hospitality service is unparalleled in the industry.

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