Ten foods that make for a healthy diet.
Balance and Variety is the key to a great diet. No single food can provide all our needs, and while I don’t like the term ‘superfood’ there are some that can make it onto a top ten list for inclusion in a healthy balanced diet.
Berries. High in fibre, high in antioxidants and disease-fighting nutrients. Out of season, buy frozen. Great for adding to oats for breakfast – or just as a snack.
Fish. A good source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent heart disease. Fresh, frozen, or canned, salmon, tuna steaks, mackerel, herring, trout, anchovies and sardines contain the highest omega-3 content.
Leafy greens. Rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, as well as several phytonutrients, they also add more fibre to our diet. Spinach, Swiss chard, kale and collard greens are all winners.
Nuts. Hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans — nuts are a good source of plant protein. They also contain monounsaturated fats, which may be a factor in reducing the risk of heart disease. Can be added to lots of dishes or great for snacking.
Olive oil. A good source of vitamin E, polyphenols, and monounsaturated fatty acids, all which help reduce the risk of heart disease. Use instead of butter, or margarine, with pasta, drizzle over vegetables or use as a salad dressing.
Whole grains. A good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, whole grains also contain several B vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. They have been shown to lower cholesterol and protect against heart disease and diabetes. Perfect for breakfast – think oats – at other meal times consider quinoa instead of potato.
Yogurt. A good source of calcium and protein, yogurt also contains probiotics – “friendly bacteria” helping to protect the body. Watch out for fruited or flavoured yogurts, which contain added sugar and sweeteners. Buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit.
Cruciferous vegetables. Think broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi, radishes and turnips. Rich in fibre, vitamins and phytonutrients. Steam or stir-fry, adding healthy oils and herbs and seasonings for flavour.
Legumes. A broad category includes kidney, borlotti and butter beans, as well as soybeans and peas. A great source of fibre, folate, and plant-based protein, with studies showing they can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Add to salads, soups, and casseroles. Make a chili or a bean- based spread such as hummus.
Tomatoes. High in vitamin C and lycopene, a key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet.
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