Who says you have to spend a fortune on exotic ingredients to enjoy the benefit of 'superfoods?' Put these everyday foods in your shopping basket, and give your health a boost...
All berries are excellent sources of fibre, which is vital for a healthy digestive system. Raspberries have the most at 8 grams per cup, along with ellagic acid, a compound with anti-cancer properties. Blueberries have half the fibre and are packed with anthocyanins that may help keep memory sharp as you age and even help ward off heart disease, some types of cancer and type 2 diabetes. Blackcurrants contain even higher levels of anthocyanins. To save money, buy them from a fruit farm rather than a supermarket and freeze for future use.
The humble spud has taken a bashing from low-carb dieters in recent years, but potatoes are incredibly good for you, making them one of the cheapest superfood on the market. Just one jacket potato contains five and a half times the fibre of the average banana, and more vitamin C than three avocados.
Research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that two helpings of the purple variety (Purple Majesty) a day decreased blood pressure by four per cent without causing weight gain. Opt for sweet potatoes and you can benefit from a vitamin A boost, which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy, plus vitamin C and B6, potassium, manganese and lutein and zeaxanthin.
3. Kale and broccoli
Kale contains a potent mix of cancer-fighting antioxidants and vitamins, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, two nutrients that have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic eye diseases. If you're not keen on kale, get your greens by adding some broccoli to your plate. This super vegetable vitamins C, A and K (which helps with bone health) and A, as well as folate.
If you suffer from low energy levels, make sure you're getting enough magnesium in your diet. Nuts are a great source of magnesium, as well as heart-healthy unsaturated fats. Walnuts have high level of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fatty acid that's been linked to heart health and improved mood and helps reduce total and "bad" LDL cholesterol levels while maintaining healthy levels of "good" HDL cholesterol.
As well as being high in fibre and folate, oranges are a great source of vitamin C, which is essential for producing white blood cells and antibodies that fight off infections, and helping to protect cells from free-radical damage. Plus, it helps the body produce collagen, so keeps your skin looking firm too.
As well as being packed full of fibre (including the soluble kind that benefits blood cholesterol levels) beans are an excellent source of plant-based iron – a mineral which helps transport oxygen from your lungs to the cells in your body. To boost your body's ability to absorb iron, combine beans with a vitamin C-rich food, such as sweet potatoes or lemon juice.
7. Natural yoghurt
Add a dollop of natural yoghurt to your breakfast cereal or enjoy with fruit as a pudding. Yogurt contains good bacteria that help maintain gut health, and is a good source of calcium, which helps ward off osteoporosis. Just one cup of yogurt provides nearly half the recommended daily serving of calcium and is rich in protein, zinc, phosphorus, riboflavin, potassium and vitamin B12.
Have you recently added superfoods to your diet? Leave a comment below...