7 Superfoods

To give your Body a Boost

Enhance your wellbeing and add variety at mealtimes with these seven foods that pack a nutritious punch (and will make a valuable dietary contribution to your fitness regime)

Beetroot

An excellent source of folate, one of the B vitamin family, which support cell production and the nervous system. Beetroot also contains minerals including magnesium and potassium needed for nerve and muscle function, and copper, needed for forming bone and red blood cells. Try it...Roasted with olive oil and garlic or steamed, with rocket or spinach and cold salmon or smoked mackerel.

Broad Beans

Broad beans are a pulse making them an excellent source of protein and fibre. They are also rich in B vitamins and iron, which is needed for transporting oxygen around the body. Try them... Raw out of the pod as a snack, or boil or steam for two minutes, refresh in cold water and serve with feta cheese, olive oil and fresh mint. Or add them to casseroles.

Almonds

A high-quality source of protein, almonds also contain vitamin E which aids blood flow and helps repair body tissue. Nuts are also a source of the amino acid l-arginine, which may help improve the health of the artery walls by making them more flexible. Try them... As they come or roasted as a snack. Or sprinkle over yoghurt or ricotta and serve with honey and berries.

Mackerel

This oily fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids which research suggests reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of heart disease and arthritis. Mackerel is also a good source of selenium, which protects cells from damage and aids healthy thyroid gland function. Try it... From fresh, cook them whole on the BBQ or pan-fry in a light coating of seasoned flour. Or eat them smoked with salad as a light lunch.

Crab

An excellent source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, crab also contains vitamin B2 (riboflavin). B vitamins enable the body to convert food (carbohydrates) into fuel (glucose) and help the body metabolise fats and protein. Try it... Fresh if you can or else tinned (look for white crab meat). Mix with lemon juice, a spoonful of plain yoghurt or creme fraiche and black pepper and enjoy with salad.

Globe Artichoke

The globe artichoke is rich in phytonutrients, among those is silymarin, which is thought to have a beneficial effect on the liver. It's also a good source of soluble fibre, which can help lower your cholesterol. Try it... Boiled or steamed, with olive oil and lemon juice or balsamic vinegar. It has a tough exterior and takes a bit of time prepare, but is worth the effort. Avoid the 'choke', the inedible centre made of tightly packed hairs and eat the tender parts of the leaves.

Blackcurrants

The humble blackcurrant is rich in vitamin C which is needed for cell growth and repair and helps the body make collagen, a protein needed to form skin, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, and blood vessels. Blackcurrants also contain calcium, which is essential for strong bones and teeth and helps the heart, muscles and other body systems work properly. Try them... Sprinkled over cereal, on their own, in fruit salads or with yoghurt.

SOURCES

Calcium | University of Maryland Medical Center

Womenshealth | Fitness Nutrition, Minerals

Womenshealth | Fitness Nutrition, Vitamins

Mayoclinic | Drugs and Supplements

Omega-3 Fatty Acids | University of Maryland Medical Center

Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid | University of Maryland Medical Center

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) | University of Maryland Medical Center