What are functional foods, probiotics, and prebiotics?

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Functional foods are foods that have had ingredients specially added to give the food an added function, such as an added health benefit.  Adding vitamin D to milk is an example.  Adding live bacterial cultures to yogurt is also an example.  This last example is also an example of a probiotic.  A probiotic is a food that has live bacterial microorganisms present in the food that are beneficial to people.  These are common in fermented foods.  A prebiotic is a non-digestible additive to food that is meant to enhance the activity of beneficial bacteria in the digestive system.

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