Functional Foods (Metabolic Syndrome)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Nowadays, obesity is a major public health problem, not only in Malaysia, but worldwide. Even more alarming is the increasing numbers of childhood obesity. The presence of obesity is highly associated with metabolic syndrome. When seeing any health care providers, they will focus more and more on macronutrients including carbohydrate, protein and fat intake as dietary management in preventing complications of metabolic syndrome. However, there are some functional foods that have ability to fight against metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia) and cardiovascular disease.

  1. Black tea inhibits pancreatic lipase.
  2. Cocoa is beneficial in preventing cardiovascular diseases, metabolic disorders and cancer.
  3. Coffee with the benefits of polyphenols enhance energy metabolism and reduced abdominal and liver fat accumulation.
  4. Green tea consumption helps to reduce metabolic syndrome and decreases the body weight of overweight or obese men.
  5. White tea reduces triglyceride in blood.
  6. Acai berry reduces fasting glucose, insulin levels, total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol in healthy overweight adults.
  7. Blueberries and strawberry prevents the development of dyslipidemia and obesity. Besides, it improves insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese adult.
  8. Apple improves the lipid and oxidative status of the tissues and organs.
  9. Bilberries decreases waist circumference and weight of overweight and obese women.
  10. Cranberry improves insulin resistance, plasma lipid profile, visceral fat mass and plasma cholesterol.
  11. Pomegranate provides hypoglycemic effects, increases insulin sensitivity, inhibits alpha-glucosidase, reduces total cholesterol and improves blood lipid profile.
  12. Watermelon helps fight diabetes, dyslipidemia, thyroid dysfunction and oxidation.

The functional foods are not a promising in preventing metabolic syndrome. Back to basic, the quantity of macronutrients is the main focus followed by physical activity. Then, functional food can be part of the treatment. But, make sure it is not as a main therapy. The most important is to control the portions intake. If you eat large amount of functional foods at one time, there is no benefit. You only increase the calorie intake and you will get fat.


Mohamed, S. (2014). Functional foods against metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia) and cardiovasular disease. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 35(2), 114–128. doi:10.1016/j.tifs.2013.11.001
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