Our diet and the food we put into our body is incredibly important, providing the fuel we need to keep going throughout the day. By choosing the right food, our bodies can perform at their most effectively, right? However, with so many foods out there, it's hard to know which ones you should choose. Farm Machinery Locator takes a look at some of the most nutritious foods you should consider incorporating into your diet.
Blueberries: One of the many fruits to be hailed as a 'superfood' in recent years, blueberries are full of antioxidants that help your body fight disease, as well as providing it with fibre, iron and calcium. Some studies also suggest that they help improve your memory, while others have said that by eating just one cup a week you could potentially speed up your metabolism, whilst lowering your blood pressure.
Beetroot: Granted it may not appear to be the most appetising looking vegetable, but the potential health benefits mean you really should consider trying to include raw beetroot in your diet (cooking or boiling can decrease its nutritional value). Packed with antioxidants, fibre and Vitamin C, it has been found that beetroot can protect against inflammation, heart disease and cancer. The leafy green tops also have their uses as they are packed with iron and folate.
Red Cabbage: Not only can finely sliced red cabbage add a bit of colour to your salads, but it is absolutely packed full of goodness. Studies have shown that red cabbage can help with the prevention of premature ageing and diabetes, reduce the chances of cancer, slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease, improve your immune system and your heart, bone, skin and eye health - all whilst aiding with weight loss.
Aubergines: A good source of fibre, vitamins B1 and B6, potassium, copper, magnesium and manganese, aubergines are very worthy of a spot on your shopping list. They contain the antioxidant Nasunin, which is proven to help regulate the iron in our bodies by removing any excess and protects the fatty acids that are needed to help our brain function effectively. Their high fibre and low-fat characteristics also mean they are recommended for those with type 2 diabetes.
Red Onion: Yes, onions can make you cry but it is worth pushing through it to get the benefits of red onions. Filled with vitamins and minerals, they also contain an antioxidant compound called Quercetin which helps protect against allergies, heart disease and cancer, as well as going a long way towards reducing the risk of suffering a stroke. Like beetroot, to get the best of the red onion's health benefits it's better to eat it raw.
Kale: A favourite with many celebrities, kale is a great green to add to your diet. It has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of all fruit and vegetables, and is also packed with iron, calcium and fibre. It has also been found that kale can decrease the risk of cancer, but avoid combining it with other calcium-rich foods. Kale contains oxalates which in large quantities can disrupt the absorption of calcium, so avoid going overboard with this superstar of sustenance!
Green Tea: Although not strictly a food, green tea is nonetheless more than welcome in our guide. Green tea has long been known for its healthy properties and used to fight many illnesses, and the reason it may be so effective is because of its high levels of antioxidants. The main one is Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG) which is known for its properties in slowing irregular cell growth, which in turn could help prevent the growth of some cancers.
Broccoli: Did you know that eating four portions of broccoli a week can reduce the likelihood of developing some types of cancer? It is also filled with plenty of Vitamin C and Folate, which can decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, whilst acting as a good source of fibre.
Brussel Sprouts: The poor old sprout doesn't exactly feel the love, but maybe you should find it in your heart to give it another chance. Brussel sprouts are a good source of folic acid which is essential for pregnancy and the healthy development of babies. They also contain fibre, calcium, and vitamins A, C and K.
Alfalfa Sprouts: Not as well-known as other vegetables, this is a food well worth hunting to add to your diet. Whilst adult alfalfa plants aren't as palatable, the sprouts can be used in soups, salads and sandwiches, and should be eaten in moderation. Alfalfa sprouts provide fibre, protein, nutrients and vitamins, (although it should be noted that due to the high content of Vitamin K those taking blood-thinning medication are advised to avoid them). They're also low in calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar.
Pistachios: These nuts are a great alternative for your elevenses and snacks. One one-ounce portion of pistachios has been found to have the same amount of potassium as a small banana. They're also high in protein and fibre but are cholesterol-free, with some research showing they can also lower the levels of bad cholesterol in our bodies.
Walnuts: A favourite when found on top of a walnut whip, but you might want to ditch the whip and just go for the walnuts instead. A quarter of a cup of walnuts can give you 90% of your recommended daily intake of Omega-3 fatty acids, which helps improve cholesterol, blood pressure and cognitive function. Research has also found that walnuts contain 16 disease fighting polyphenols.
Pecans: Go nuts for pecans! These nuts can considerably lower your cholesterol, and they also contain more than twenty vitamins and minerals.
Cedar Nuts: A great addition to your diet, cedar nuts contain 70% of your body's essential amino acids, as well as being high in vitamins A, B, D and E. They're also a source of a fatty acid that can help reduce LDL cholesterol.
Almonds:�Just handful of almonds could give you around 25% of your daily intake of magnesium. Almonds are also a great source of calcium which helps give you strong bones, contain several antioxidants including Selenium and Vitamin E, and can help lower bad cholesterol. Some studies have also suggested that their high levels of fibre contribute towards preventing colon cancer.
Quinoa: Similar in texture to rice and couscous, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is filled with nutritional value. It is one of the only seeds that can give our bodies nine essential amino acids that they can't provide themselves. It is also a great source of protein, fibre, magnesium and manganese, and has a large of amount of the amino acid Lysine, which is used by the body for tissue growth and repair.
Chia: Another food rising in popularity, chia seeds are a great addition to meals like smoothies, salads and cereals. Many scientists have concluded that chia seeds may be able to boost athleticism, with the seeds slowing down digestion so that energy is released gradually. They also contain more fatty acids than other plants, and are packed with loads of antioxidants and minerals.
Flaxseed: They might be tiny, but flaxseeds have some big health benefits. This seed is a good source of fibre, Omega-3 fatty acids, and Lignin, an antioxidant which can help with disease and some cancers. The also help reduce cholesterol and lower your risk of heart disease. However do be careful, flaxseeds can have a laxative effect so it is recommended that they are introduced into your diet gradually...
Sunflower: A good addition to your diet, especially if you're looking to shift a few pounds as they increase our fibre intake and help with healthy digestion. They're filled with good fats, Vitamin E, selenium and copper which all help with cell damage and to promote a healthy heart. They are also a good source of folate.
Sesame: Tiny seeds with a big nutrition punch. Sesame seeds have high levels of phosphorus, fibre, zinc, magnesium, B1 and iron. They have been proven in their ability to �help reduce blood pressure and protect against liver damage, as well as a highly useful protector against other health problems.