Americans are finally beginning to understand the link between a better diet and improved health. The problem is, they often don’t know how to incorporate beneficial functional foods into their daily diet.

In a survey conducted by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), 89% of Americans contacted agreed that certain foods have benefits that go beyond basic nutrition and may reduce the risk of disease or other health concerns. According to IFIC researchers, this represented a significant increase in consumer awareness since the council’s survey 2 years ago.

“This year’s survey findings show us that Americans are making the connection that foods can play an important role in achieving optimal health,” said Elizabeth Rahavi, RD, associate director of wellness at IFIC. “Consumers’ awareness
of many food and health relationships has reached an all-time high.”

The top functional foods cited by consumers in the study were

  • fruits and vegetables;
  • fish, fish oil and seafood;
  • dairy, including milk and yogurt;
  • meat and poultry; and
  • herbs and spices.

To assist clients who want to improve their diet but don’t know where to start, share some favorite recipes that incorporate one or more of these 10 items. One suggestion is to cut out the Recipe for Health that is included each month in this column.