The metabolic syndrome is one of the most evident health concerns worldwide. It is characterized by several metabolic abnormalities, which include obesity, dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, increased oxidative stress, an increased pro-inflammatory state and hypertension. Nowadays, functional foods are used in the prevention and amelioration of several chronic diseases, such as the metabolic syndrome. The relation of the consumption of certain functional foods and the improvement in health status is regulated through health claims. This review focuses on the different features of the metabolic syndrome and the influence of functional foods on these aspects, involving weight management, improvement of insulin sensitivity, serum lipid profile, anti-oxidant status, inflammatory status and hypertension. The role of plant sterols, dietary fiber, soy protein, omega-3 fatty acids, coffee, vitamin E and C, isoflavones, lycopene, sodium-low foods, a high protein diet, mono-unsaturated fatty acids, minerals and thermogenic compounds is examined concerning their functional properties.