Of all fruits, strawberries contain the highest levels of folate and they get a second nutritional medal for the tiny amount of sugar they contain – in fact, they’re actually the lowest sugar fruit.
They’re also one of the richest sources of vitamin C, full of bowel-protective fibre and, according to emerging research, are beneficial for both our heads and our hearts.
And, as if you need any more reasons to snack on a punnet, they’re extremely low in kilojoules.
Broccoli has to be one of the most nutritious foods in the supermarket. It’s bursting with vitamins C, E and K, iron, zinc, selenium and sulforaphane, an antioxidant that stimulates the body’s natural defences against cell damage for up to 3 days after being eaten, according to new research.
Broccoli also has significant anti-cancer benefits, and has been shown to protect the health of our lungs and heart.
Just one kiwifruit a day can be an effective way to protect against a type of potentially cancer-causing DNA damage.
Eat two kiwifruits (which is one full serving of fruit) and you’ll get even more benefits: three times your vitamin C quota for the day, around 5g fibre (20per cent of your daily intake) and beneficial amounts of lutein and zeaxanthin – antioxidants that decrease the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), which is the leading cause of blindness in Australia.
Spinach is a super-charged vegie, loaded with lutein, a fat-soluble antioxidant shown to help protect our eyes.
Apart from being an easy to use in cooking with other ingredients spinach is also a great source of non-haem iron. Just remember that non-haem iron foods (such as spinach) should be eaten with a source of vitamin C (like tomatoes) to boost iron absorption.
With 10 times the antioxidant power of goji berry juice (not to mention being 10 times cheaper), this is one fruit you should always put on your shopping list.
Apples have serious disease-fighting power, playing a protective role against certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes and asthma.
With 10 times the antioxidant power of goji berry juice this is one fruit you should always put on your shopping list.
The vitamins in apples may also keep those winter colds and ‘flus at bay.
When it comes to superfoods, the humble carrot is often not seen as value. But of all the vegies, carrots have the highest levels of the essential nutrient beta-carotene; an antioxidant associated with stable blood sugar, lower risk of heart disease, healthy vision, a stronger immune system and better skin health.
Carrots are also an excellent source of vitamin A (beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in our bodies), with just one carrot providing double your daily vitamin A requirements.
Best of all, anyone can eat carrots (especially kids) because they’re wonderfully versatile. Try them as a snack with hummus, grated in a salad or hidden in the bolognaise.
Avocados used to be labelled as a fatty fruit, but studies show that swapping 30g fat (from margarine or oil) for a large (200g) avocado per day does not compromise weight loss plans.
They aren’t just for weight maintenance and loss – they also inject nearly 20 essential vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients into your diet, including oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that helps lower ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol and increase ‘good’ HDL cholesterol in the blood.
Did you know that mushrooms are one of the highest antioxidant containing foods in the world? They also provide more protein than most vegetables, are a rich source of various B vitamins and contain vitamins B12 and D, two nutrients not usually found in vegies.
Technically mushrooms are a fungus – so they’re neither fruit nor vegetable – but they still count towards the goal of ‘2 fruit + 5 veg a day’.
Bananas are creamy and delicious but surprisingly they are actually around 88 per cent water, contain about 400kJ per fruit and are practically fat free (0.1g fat per 100g).
They also offer an abundant supply of healthy nutrients, including potassium; an essential mineral which slows the effect of sodium on blood pressure; vitamin B6, which is vital for a healthy nervous system; and fibre, to keep you regular.
Bananas are also a great source of low-GI, ‘slow release’, carbs making them the perfect on-the-go snack.
Loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene, about half a capsicum provides a whopping three times the recommended daily intake for vitamin C.
They’re also slightly sweeter tasting than most vegies, making them a firm favourite with the kiddos.
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