What’s a Functional Food?

functional foods
fruit and vegetable rainbow

More and more Americans have been exploring food to not only satisfy their hunger but more importantly to learn about the impact and effects that each ingredient has on their health and how incorporating them because it makes them feel better. By spending more time online educating themselves on what foods are good for them and discovering how these functional ingredients/foods can help improve their lifestyle. vinegar a functional food


According to the new Food Trends Report, there is a growing consumer interest in the role that these foods have in enhancing beneficial health benefits. Many food and trend experts have termed these as “functional foods” i.e.foods that besides providing better nutrition also promote better health. A number of the top trending foods over the last two years are “healthy” ingredients like turmeric, apple cider vinegar, avocado oil, bitter melon, and kefir (high in trendy bacteria called probiotics). Functional Foods are said to provide benefits like more energy, increased libido, better skin, and cures for insomnia, pain and depression, In fact, Google has noted that there are more and more searches with the term of  “benefits of…..” in addition to just a generic search for those functional ingredients/foods. Now, the focus of people’s diets and on-line searches is less about eliminating foods than about adding them.

While the idea of functional foods has been around for decades, interest in these specific foods is growing faster than before. Turmeric, a spice that’s purported to cure everything from cancer to depression, is the breakout star, with searches growing 300% over the last five years according to Google’s 2016 Food Trends Report on The Rise of Functional Foods 

Interestingly, most of the searches and exploration of these functional foods are likely to occur during the beginning of the week when it appears that most consumers are motivated to optimize their lifestyle habits. Maybe they pigged out over the weekend.vinegar a functional food

According to Think with Google 2016 Food Trends for top trending Foods with a Function, searches for “apple cider vinegar” was ranked 2nd behind turmeric in search growth between 2015 and 2016. Among top volume food searches for health “benefits of apple cider vinegar” rose 14% between 2015 and 2016. And among top volume food related searches for dietary restrictions, “organic apple cider vinegar” rose 86% between 2015 and 2016.  According to Google food trends, “best foods for” searches have grown 10X since 2005,1 often followed by terms like “skin,” “energy,” “acid reflux,” “your brain,” and “gym workout.”2 Clearly, there’s significant and growing interest in using apple cider vinegar for food and health benefits.

The Australian newspaper, Daily Herald, reported on the the top ten searched diets on Google in 2017 (below)…note that apple cider vinegar diet was the most searched.


1. Apple cider vinegar diet

2. CSIRO low carb diet

3. Keto diet

4. Eddie McGuire diet

5. Fodmap diet

6. CSIRO flexi diet

7. Emily Ratajkowski diet

8. Plant based diet

9. Clever guts diet

10. CSIRO fasting diet

So, now you know what a functional food is and that apple cider vinegar is a prime example and one that more and more people are using for multiple health functions as well as incorporating it into their diet.

Have you used functional foods and which ones have you used? Did it provide the benefits you were seeking?

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