Whether you’re eating to lose weight, or eating just to be healthy, making sure your body gets the nutrients it needs is a step in the right direction. Do this by making sure the food you eat is rich in nutrients. Many fruits, vegetables contain minerals, which boost your health in more way than one.
We spoke to dietician Anel Kirsten, from Paarl Dieticians, about the five staples you should always keep in your cupboard.
1. Canned beetroot
Canned beetroot maintains about the same nutritional value as fresh beetroot, giving you a good source of fibre, iron and folate. Beetroot is rich in nitrates, and functions as an antioxidant, lowering inflammation and reducing your risk of heart disease.
Use it: Use it in a salad, or heat it and serve with lemon juice.
2. Oat bran
Oat bran is the outside casing of the oat grain. It offers significant amounts of fibre and selenium, and helps regulate blood glucose levels and reduce cholesterol. It also creates a feeling of fullness.
Use it: Cook oat bran with milk or water, or eat it on its own. Add a tablespoon to smoothies, or use it when baking.
Chickpeas are a good source of protein, healthy fats, fibre and low-glycemic-index carbohydrates. They’re also high in magnesium and B vitamins, including folate and vitamin B6. Eating chickpeas as part of your diet promotes good gut health and blood-glucose control, while lowering cholesterol.
Use it: Mash them to form a spread or dip (hummus), add to a curry, or roast them to make an on-the-go snack.
4. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health. Quality dark chocolate with at least a 70% cocoa content is rich in fibre, magnesium and a few other minerals. The flavanols in dark chocolate can stimulate the endothelium (the lining of the arteries) to produce nitric oxide, which sends signals to the arteries to relax, lowering resistance to blood flow and therefore reducing blood pressure.
Use it: Melt some to use as a dip for fruit, stir it in your porridge, or eat a block or two for dessert.
5. Mixed seeds
Mixed seeds contain healthy monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, omega-3 fats and many important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They’re also a good source of magnesium. When consumed as part of a healthy diet, seeds can help reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure.
Use it: Eat them raw or toast according to your preference. Or add them to your cereal, smoothie, salad or stir-fry for extra crunch.
This article was originally published on www.mh.co.za
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