With the overindulgence of Christmas done for another year, many Brits will be hoping to start the new year with altogether healthier intentions.
A balanced diet, along with regular exercise, is the best way to keep yourself healthy and fit, but if you're looking for that extra new year boost, here are some superfoods to try out in 2014.
An East African fruit with taste like a blend of pineapple and melon, sales of this superfood rose by 1,600 per cent in the UK last year, and with good reason.
With high levels of antioxidants, more than three times the vitamin C or an orange, and more calcium than milk, it's little wonder baobab is called a 'superfruit'. As a non-dairy calcium source, it's ideal for vegetarians, the high levels of potassium could help to lower blood pressure, polyphenols have been linked to protecting against some forms of cancer and type 2 diabetes, and it's also high in soluble fibre, keeping your gut in good health.
Without knocking your super healthy standard sprig of broccoli, the tenderstem is an even better option, thanks to significantly higher levels of glucosinolates. In 2010, a study at Warwick HRI found that, when compared to other broccoli varieties, tenderstem contained in some cases more than ten times the amount of these potent plant chemicals, which have been shown to help kill precancerous cells. Better still, it requires the least amount of cooking, meaning the healthy vitamin C, carotenoids and folic acid are better retained.
Popular in Japanese cooking, this dried seaweed has a couple of key benefits when it comes to your daily diet - not only does it contain nearly a third of the recommended daily allowance of iodine, essential for the manufacture of thyroid hormones that keep the metabolism working, but a daily helping will give you 10 per cent of the recommended iron you need, so it's particularly good for those prone to anaemia. Available in health food shops, it can be simply sprinkled onto your food like a herb.
Blueberries have long been popular as a superfood both here and in the US, but blackcurrants actually contain higher levels of antioxidants, in particular anthocyanins. Research has shown that these compounds could help to range off a number of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, some types of cancer, Alzheimer's and type 2 diabetes.
Mention the word 'hemp' a few years ago and you were likely to get some disapproving looks, but it is in fact nice, not naughty. The protein and fibre in hemp combines to slow digestion and maintain your energy levels, while also being one of the few plants to contain omega-3 fatty acids that help to combat high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease. As an added benefit, a daily dose of hemp seeds will provide one fifth of your daily allowance of magnesium, which could help to maintain a healthy nervous system. Simply sprinkle on your breakfast cereal or fruit and yoghurt, and reap the rewards.
Have you tried any new superfoods recently? Let us know below...