Date of this Version



© 2005, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


Just as consumers grew weary of hearing about the bombardment of foods that contain unhealthy, disease-causing components, researchers and nutrition educators have shifted their focus to the study and promotion of functional foods. Foods that have physiologically active components, which can improve one's health and prevent disease beyond that of one's essential daily nutritional requirements, are called functional foods.

This Extension Circular defines functional foods. It reviews food label rules for functional foods, their physiologically active components, and their specific health benefits. Examples are provided of the advantages of whole food consumption compared to one isolated component. Key definitions are provided.