Functional Foods

Functional Foods

Brescia Professor Dr. Len Piché and Foods and Nutrition Masters student Nisha Joshi provide nutrition information about a Gallery of Functional Foods found in Canada. This website includes product images of and nutrition claims about numerous functional foods on Canadian store shelves as well as a weblink to the regulatory process allowing them onto the market.

About the Functional Foods Database

This site is designed to provide:

Consumers, students, educators, and health professionals with nutrition related information regarding a vast array of Functional Foods that can be found in the Canadian Marketplace.
Links to Health Canada’s regulatory websites as well as those for specific products for additional information.
While there is no universally accepted definition for “Functional Foods”, Health Canada defines them as “similar in appearance to, or may be, a conventional food, is consumed as part of a usual diet, and is demonstrated to have physiological benefits and/or reduce the risk of chronic disease beyond basic nutritional functions” (Health Canada, 1998).

Functional Foods contain bioactive compounds in amounts thought to provide the consumer with a means to potentially reduce the risk of disease, as well as increase health and wellbeing.

Below is some information to help you navigate through this site:

Functional Foods on this website are organized according to the bioactive compound they contain, for example omega-3 fatty acids, dietary fibre, plant sterols. To view products/food items in each category, click on the “button” for that category. Once in the category of choice, you may click on the product/food item of interest. This will allow you to view information for the specific product/food item you selected.

Within each product/food item, there are multiple sections of information:

1. Any nutrition claims made by the manufacturer regarding the product/food item is noted under “Claims Made”. Health Canada is responsible for setting guidelines and regulations surrounding these claims.
2. There are multiple ways for a food or product to enter the Canadian market as a Functional Food. Click on the checked category under “Product/Food Item entered Canadian Market through” to link to the Health Canada website and find more information regarding the regulatory processes required for the product to enter the market. Food items/Products found under “Standard Food” naturally contain relatively large amounts of the bioactive compounds without processing and do not require further legislation to enter the Canadian market.
3. Nutrition information based on the manufacturer’s portion/serving size is given and examples of % Daily Value (%DV) are provided.
4. For more information on the selected products, you can link to the product website by clicking on the image of the product/food item at the top right corner of the page. This will allow you to see more detailed information for the product from the manufacturer’s website.


Carotenoids carotenoids-preview

Some Carotenoids have antioxidant properties, and may potentially aid in decreasing risk of certain types of cancer, heart disease, and aid with immune function. This category includes nutrients such as Alpha-carotene and Beta-carotene, Lycopene, and Lutein.


Dietary Fibre dietary-fibre-preview

Dietary Fibres may have the potential to help with constipation, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and lower cholesterol. This category includes Soluble fibres and Insoluble fibres, including Beta glucan.


Fatty Acidsfatty-acids-preview

Some Fatty Acids may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help reduce inflammation, while others help with development and maintenance of brain function and normal health and development. This category includes long chain omega-3 fatty acids such as Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Decosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and Ecosapentaenoic acid (EPA), as well as long chain omega-6 fatty acids such as Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA).


Plant Sterols

Plant Sterols may have the potential to reduce cholesterol levels, and help reduce the risk of certain cancers. This category of bioactive compounds includes Sterol esters and Stanol esters.



Both Prebiotics and Probiotics may improve the quality of gastrointestinal flora, and benefit gastrointestinal health. Prebiotics such as Fructo-oligosaccharides and Inulin, as well as probiotics such as certain Lactobacillicus bacteria fall into this category.

Soy Phytoestrogens soy-phytoestrogens-preview

Soy phytoestrogens may have the ability to weakly mimic estrogen, and may have the potential to reduce the risk of breast, ovarian, colon, and prostate cancers. They may also lower cholesterol. Daidzein, Genistein and Isoflavones are a part of this category of bioactive compounds.



Vitamins and Mineralsvitamins-minerals-preview

Vitamins and minerals are micronutrients known to contribute to health and wellbeing. Many, including Vitamin D, Calcium … have been added to foods. Food items/products can either be naturally high in specific vitamins or minerals, or be enriched or enhanced to provide larger amounts.