The top 19 nutrient-packed foods you should be eating
You know those super-busy days where it gets to 5pm and you realise you haven't even had one portion of fruit and vegetables, let alone five? Don't worry - it happens to us all! But there's no need to give up on your healthy eating for the day and reach for a takeaway just because you haven't taken in all the nutrients your body needs. Instead, reach for one of these 19 nutrient-packed foods to make up for earlier - your body will thank you for it!
Yup, turns out Popeye really was onto something - spinach is so good for you! One of the best natural sources of potassium, spinach is loaded with iron, vitamins A and K, manganese and folate. In fact, one cup of spinach provides over 50% of your RDI (recommended daily intake) of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin and vision.
#2. Brussels Sprouts
Sprouts are for life, not just for Christmas! One cup of healthy sprouts provides 125% of your RDI of vitamin C and 195% of vitamin K, which helps to maintain strong bones. They're also loaded with vitamins A and B6, potassium, folate and manganese. Shred them raw and add them to salads and stir fries for maximum nutrition!
A 1oz serving of almonds (about the size of a shot glass) gives you plenty of healthy monounsaturated fats, fibre and antioxidant vitamin E as well as copper, phosphorus, magnesium and biotin. An amazingly healthy snack; just don't eat too many!
Whether munched raw dipped in hummus, turned into cauliflower 'rice' or made into a pizza base, cauliflower is so nutritious. One cup of cooked cauliflower contains 73% of your RDI of vitamin C as well as 19% RDI of vitamin K and vitamin B12, choline, folate and fibre.
#5. Sunflower Seeds
A great snack or topping for salad or porridge, sunflower seeds are packed with antioxidant vitamin E which fights disease-causing free radicals and can help to prevent premature ageing. A quarter cup serving contains 82% of your RDI of vitamin E!
Whether fresh or frozen, raspberries are high in vitamin C - in fact one cup contains almost half the recommended daily intake, as well as plenty of fibre and manganese. We like to serve ours on top of some Greek yoghurt as a healthy post-workout snack or dessert.
Fresh in-season or frozen year-round, strawberries are a must for gorgeous skin, as one cup contains over 100% of your RDI of vitamin C plus plenty of fibre, potassium, magnesium, folate and copper. Try blending them into a smoothie or just munch them raw as a healthy snack - juicy!
#8. Black Beans
A staple for vegetarians and vegans, black beans are loaded with iron and protein - a one cup serving of cooked beans contains 64% of your RDI of folic acid. We love making them into a creamy dip or delicious black bean burgers!
Tomatoes are packed with the antioxidant lycopene as well as vitamins A, C and K plus lutein (for healthy eyes) and biotin, making them a super-healthy choice. Add them raw to a salad, make some tomato soup or whip up a home-made tomato sauce for pasta.
#10. Sweet Potatoes
Rich in beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into vitamin A, sweet potatoes are a healthier alternative to white potatoes and they can help to decrease your risk of heart disease and some cancers. In fact, one medium sweet potato provides over 100% of the RDI of vitamin A as well as loads of vitamin C, so why not enjoy a baked sweet potato or some sweet potato fries this evening?
We love broccoli, and it's a really versatile vegetable that can be enjoyed raw in salads, or added to stir fries or soups. Loaded with vitamins A, C and K it also contains copper for a healthy immune system - vital as the weather gets colder.
Want to boost your intake of vitamin C, fibre, folate and manganese? Then eat some peas! Add them to an omelette, salad or pasta dish - yum!
A known aphrodisiac, asparagus is also loaded with nutrients including over 100% RDI of vitamin K (per one cup serving), and selenium, which can strengthen immunity and cognitive function. Try steaming or chargrilling the spears and serving with a drizzle of olive oil and shavings of parmesan cheese.
Kale is the superfood of the moment - and with good reason! With loads of vitamins including vitamins A, C and K plus potassium, calcium, copper and iron, eating kale regularly could held vegetarians to avoid iron-deficiency anaemia, which can leave you feeling tired. Add your kale to a green smoothie or kale salad - or make some kale chips!
#15. Collard Greens
Want to eat more vitamin K, responsible for promoting calcium absorption and helping blood to clot? Have a serving of collard greens! We like to use these in place of lettuce as a wrap, and one cup contains a whopping 585% RDI of vitamin K as well as 80% RDI vitamin A, plus choline which can help you to get a good night's sleep!
A great source of vegan protein and fibre, one cup of cooked lentils contains more than one-third of your daily recommended iron intake - a great, natural way to boost flagging energy levels on busy days. We love using lentils to make soup or a curried lentil dahl that beats the Indian takeaway, hands down!
#17. Bok Choy
Added to salads, stir-fries or hearty home-made ramen bowls, bok choy is a powerhouse of nutrition, with vitamins A, C and K as well as magnesium to keep your heart healthy.
#18. Edamame (Soy Beans)
Most of us know that edamame are a great source of protein - but did you know that a one cup serving contains all the protein you need for the day? They're also packed with potassium, copper, phosphorus, iron and manganese - just don't eat too many.
The Expertrain team loves mushrooms, and luckily they're really good for you! They're loaded with vitamin B, for energy as well as phosphorus, which helps to strengthen bones, selenium, zinc and potassium. Make sure you don't overcook them as nobody likes a mushy mushroom! Add them to risottos, stuff portobellos with spicy cous cous, pop some in your omelette or grill portobellos and serve as a healthy vegetarian 'burger'.