What is a Functional Food?

Functional foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition. The research focus has shifted more to the identification of biologically active components in foods that have the potential to optimize physical and mental well being and which may also reduce the risk of disease. A familiar example of a functional food found in Rescue is parsley because of its anti-inflammatory properties that help promote good kidney health and antimicrobial properties that promote good urinary health.

Functional foods include:

  • Conventional foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

  • Modified foods such as yogurt.

  • Medical foods such as special formulations of foods for certain health conditions.

  • Foods for special dietary use such as anti-inflammatory or hypoallergenic foods.

Chronic inflammation, which is an internal inflammation that persists and serves no healing purpose, is linked to many health issues including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. The inflammation that occurs after an injury is the body’s natural response to the trauma. Its purpose is to flood the injury site with nourishment and kick start the healing process. Chronic inflammation serves no such purpose and is detrimental to overall health. There are many factors that can lead to chronic inflammation, including lack of exercise, stress, and poor diet.

Inflammation is harmful to the health of dogs just as it is to humans. One of the keys to keeping a dog’s inflammation at bay is a healthy and varied diet. There is an assortment of spices and foods that can be first line of defense against chronic inflammation. 

Rescue has spices like ginger that combat inflammation. Herbs and spices contain an assortment of vitamins and minerals and can be a great way to prevent chronic inflammation.

Besides being anti-inflammatory, these spices can improve the taste of the food. Furthermore, spices can act as natural preservatives and can extend the freshness of dog food and eliminate the need for artificial (and potentially harmful) preservatives. Ginger is recognized as the best anti-nausea herb and is well tolerated by dogs. It acts as a digestive tonic, relieving stomach aches and intestinal gas. It also stimulates the digestive juices and helps expel worms.

There are several foods that have anti-inflammatory properties that have been included in Rescue:

  • Animal-based omega 3 fatty acids, like those found in fatty fish

  • Leafy greens and vegetables, including broccoli, squash, beets, zucchini and pumpkin.

  • Herbs