Are you eating the best foods to keep you healthy?

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- You are what you eat is something we've all heard before, but more and more people are taking it to heart by looking for foods that have healthy benefits beyond just nutritional value.

This is a health trend that has everyone from cosmetic companies to grocery stores stocking up on "functional" ingredients.

So the question is, are you eating the best foods to keep you healthy?

At San Francisco's Ferry Building market there are plenty of good foods to taste, but people also go there for natural remedy's for things like stomach problems and more.

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"I mix almond milk, turmeric, ginger, and peppers, and I kind of make a little tea out of it and I drink that and I feel pretty good after," Ishar Keshu said.

These are examples of functional foods. These ingredients have been scientifically proven to go beyond basic nutrition and their popularity has soared.

Google says searches starting with "the best foods for..." have increased 10 times since 2005.

People are scouring the Internet for foods that help everything from acid reflux, better skin, to boosting your energy and your brain.

"There's a huge interest in functional foods," said Clare Hasler, from the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science.

Hasler is an authority on functional foods at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at UC Davis. "What we are really focusing on today is foods that can reduce chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and obesity," Hasler said.

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To get an idea of what's hot, ABC7 News went shopping to see what people are looking for. "I think that a lot of people are very curious and they are having a very good sense themselves of the benefits of the foods they are eating," San Francisco nutritionist and dietitian Kim Denkhaus said.

ABC7 News asked Denkhaus to tell us what to eat at Gus's Market in San Francisco's Mission District. "Oats are a really great source of soluble fiber and really good at lowering cholesterol," she said. "Turmeric has a nice golden hue and curcumin is what's in turmeric and that's what gives it that anti-inflammatory property."

Both Keifer and Greek yogurt have probiotics in them, which are live cultures and it's good for our gut, so it's good for our gut health," Denkhaus said.

"Wild blue berries are very popular right now and they can have anywhere from two to three times the antioxidants as regular blueberries," Denkhaus said.

"What we really want to do is get a really dark piece of chocolate, it's also going to boost the antioxidant capacity in the chocolate," Denkhaus said.

"So we are at watercress, which is hailed to be the new kale, it's a power house food, it's one of the nutrient dense foods," Denkhaus said.

Denkhaus says the produce section is where all of us can make the biggest difference in our diet by adding more fruits and vegetables to our daily routine. By doing this, you'll improve more than your health, you'll improve your lifestyle.
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