Ten of the healthiest foods to scoff now

Sausage and mashed potatoes. Photo: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
Sausage and mashed potatoes. Photo: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

How’s your New Year health-kick going?

If you’re looking to give your diet a bit of an overhaul in 2016, the good news is - it’s probably going to be far easier than you think.

According to Birmingham-based caterers Plyvine Catering, at least, who’ve come up with their top 10 foods for a healthy lifestyle, and they’re not exotic fruits or impossible-to-track-down vegetables from the tropics, or fancy supplements and powders you’ve never heard of.

In fact, their picks include dark chocolate, nuts, fruits and vegetables that you’ll even be able to find at your local corner shop - so there’s no excuse not to stock up.

Make sure to pop this lot in the trolley next time you do your food shop.

Here is the top 10:

1. Lemons

They say: “Just one lemon has more than 100% of your daily intake of vitamin C, which may help increase good HDL cholesterol levels and strengthen bones. Citrus flavonoids found in lemons may help inhibit the growth of cancer cells and act as an anti-inflammatory.”

We say: Squeeze it on fish, use the zest to flavour chicken, make a lemon drizzle cake.

2. Broccoli

They say: “One medium stalk of broccoli contains more than 100% of your daily vitamin K requirement and almost 200% of your recommended daily dose of vitamin C - two essential bone-building nutrients. The same serving also helps stave off numerous cancers.”

We say: You don’t just have to have it steamed, bake it in the oven and it tastes all nutty.

3. Dark chocolate

They say: “Just one fourth of an ounce daily can reduce blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals. Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids and in anti-oxidants shown to reduce bad LDL cholesterol and increase good HDL levels.”

We say: Mmmm. Does it count if it’s on biscuits?

4. Potatoes

They say: “One red potato contains 66 micrograms of cell-building folate - about the same amount found in one cup of spinach or broccoli. One sweet potato has almost eight times the amount of cancer-fighting and immune-boosting vitamin A you need daily.”

We say: You can’t beat sausages and mash, or crispy roasties.

5. Salmon

They say: “A great source of Omega-3 fatty acids which have been linked to a reduced risk of depression, heart disease, and cancer. A three-ounce serving contains almost 50% of your daily dose of niacin which may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.”

We say: Serve with broccoli and a squeeze of lemon and you’re ticking all the boxes.

6. Walnuts

They say: “These contain the most omega-3 fatty acids which may help reduce cholesterol, of all nuts. Omega-3s have been shown to improve mood and fight cancer; they may protect against sun damage too (but don’t skip the SPF).”

We say: Crumble on top of your morning yoghurt or porridge to kickstart your day.

7. Avocado

They say: “Rich in healthy, satisfying fats proven in one study to lower cholesterol by about 22%. One avocado has more than half the fibre and 40% of the folate you need daily, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.”

We say: Smash it on toast, eat it straight out of its skin with a spoon, or use it in guacamole, the avocado trend is here to stay.

8. Garlic

They say: “A powerful disease fighter, garlic can inhibit the growth of bacteria, including E.coli. Allicin, a compound found in garlic, works as a potent anti-inflammatory and has been shown to help lower cholesterol and blood-pressure levels.”

We say: We’ll take another serving of garlic bread then!

9. Spinach

They say: “Spinach contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two immune-boosting antioxidants important for eye health. Recent research found that among cancer-fighting fruits and veggies, spinach is one of the most effective.”

We say: Substitute salad for spinach (or just add in spinach leaves), weave it through stir fry, risotto or just eat it raw from the bag!

10. Beans

They say: “Eating a serving of legumes (beans, peas and lentils) four times a week can lower your risk of heart disease by 22%. That same habit may also reduce your risk of breast cancer.”

We say: Peas with everything, erm, peas.