5 of the most underrated health foods out there

Kale, coconut oil and quinoa are staples in every wellness warrior’s diet, but there are loads of less ‘glamorous’ foods out there that are just as nutritious (and far less expensive). Such as…

1. Frozen fruit and veg

Because it’s popped into the freezer right after being picked, frozen produce can often contain more nutrients than fresh (which can sit around in storage or on supermarket shelves for weeks before it gets to your table).

How to use it: Frozen berries are a great alternative to fresh fruit in smoothies, as they’ll give your drink a nice, slushy texture. And throw frozen veg like mangetout and carrots into a pan with some prawns and low-salt soy sauce for a quick and healthy mid-week stir-fry.

2. Seeds

We all love snacking on almonds, but when was the last time you added a few humble seeds to the mix? Sunflower and pumpkin seeds are packed with vitamins and minerals too – pumpkin seeds, for instance, offer 6.5g of protein per 100g, and are full of zinc, which helps your body combat PMS, bad skin, and weakened immunity.

How to use them: Seeds add a nice crunch to most meals, from your morning porridge or your lunchtime salad to your afternoon bowl of yogurt.

3. Garlic

Garlic is a natural antibiotic with antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal properties, making it amazing for the immune system.

How to use it: Allicin, the active ingredient in garlic, is released when the bulbs are crushed, so to maximise its potency crush your garlic and then leave it to stand for 10 minutes before cooking. After that, try roasting it and spreading it over a homemade granary slice for a healthy take on garlic bread.

4. Rocket

Technically a cruciferous vegetable – joining the likes of power veggies broccoli, kale and cabbage – a serving of this peppery leaf (around 2 cups) packs 40% of your daily recommended amount of skin-boosting vitamin A, and 56% of your day’s worth of bone-strengthening vitamin K.

How to use it: Of course you can spice up a salad with rocket (try drizzling it with balsamic vinegar and adding avocado slices to complement the flavour), but it’s also great sautéed, wilted or even used in a homemade pesto.

5. Tinned tomatoes

Tomatoes are one of the few vegetables that actually get healthier with cooking, as the powerful cancer-fighting lycopene they’re packed with is released with heat. That makes tinned better than fresh in this case – just be sure to look on the ingredients list to check there’s no added salt or sugar.

How to use it:  Tinned tomatoes make a great base for homemade pasta and pizza sauce and soups.

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Body.Network by Matt Roberts