Functional food or medicinal food is any fresh or processed food claimed to have a health-promoting and/or disease-preventing property beyond the basic nutritional function of supplying nutrients, although there is consensus on an exact definition of the term. This is an emerging field in food science, in which such foods are usually accompanied by health claims for marketing purposes, such as a company's 'cereal is a significant source of fiber. Studies have shown that an increased amount of fiber in one's diet can decrease the risk of certain types of cancer in individuals.' Functional foods are sometimes called nutraceuticals, a portmanteau of nutrition and pharmaceutical, and can include food that has been genetically modified. The general category includes processed food made from functional food ingredients, or fortified with health-promoting additives, like vitamin-enriched products, and also fresh foods (e.g., vegetables) that have specific claims attached. Fermented foods with live cultures are often also considered to be functional foods with probiotic benefits.
Dr. Rotimi Aluko has earned a PhD in Food Chemistry from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada and is currently a Professor of Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. He has continued to maintain an active research program on functional foods with an emphasis on food protein-derived bioactive peptides.