Reasons to eat beetroot : the super root
MOOD-BOOSTER: Eating beetroot will leave you smiling as it contains the compound betaine, which increases the production of seratonin in the body, a natural mood lifter.
LOWERS CHOLESTEROL: Beetroot helps lower ‘bad cholesterol’ (LDL) due to the antioxidants carotenoid and flavonoid it contains, which stop fat from being deposited in the arteries.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE: Beetroot contains high levels of a chemical called nitrate, which lowers high blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nitrate also works like aspirin to prevent blood clots.
PREVENTS RESPIRATORY PROBLEMS: Asthma sufferers can benefit from beetroot due to its high levels of vitamin C which, as well as helping improve immunity, can help prevent asthma symptoms.
VITAMINS: Beetroot is packed with vitamins and minerals including potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B, C and folic acid as well as containing soluble fibre, carbohydrates and protein for energy.
NOW TRY THE RECIPE: Beetroot, walnut and herb dip
Reasons to eat spinach : the super leaf
PROTECTS AGAINST CANCER: Spinach contains a strong antioxidant called kaempferol, which helps prevent the formation of cancerous cells in the body.
BRAIN FOOD: These leafy greens can help slow the effects of ageing on the brain due to the help of folic acid, a B vitamin which also assists the body in maintaining a healthy heart.
NUTRIENT-DENSE: Low in calories and high in vitamins, just one cup of spinach contains more vitamin K and vitamin A than your daily requirement and nearly 40% of your daily magnesium requirement.
LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE: Just a single portion of spinach will work to lower high blood pressure within hours due to the mineral magnesium, which helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
ALLEVIATES FATIGUE: Spinach holds high levels of iron, which carries blood and oxygen throughout the body and is responsible for lessening fatigue and giving you that added energy boost.
NOW TRY THE RECIPE: Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Soup
Reasons to eat mushrooms : the super 'shroom
VITAMIN D: Mushrooms are the only vegetable and the second known source (after cod liver oil) to contain vitamin D in edible form.
PAIN RELIEVER: Mushrooms contain potassium, which is known for being a natural pain reliever and reduces joint stiffness. Perfect for a post-workout snack.
IMMUNITY: A powerful antioxidant in mushrooms called Ergothioneine helps protect and boost immunity. They also contain natural antibiotics similar to penicillin.
LOWER CHOLESTEROL: The fibre and certain enzymes in mushrooms help lower cholesterol levels. Plus their high lean protein content helps burn cholesterol as you digest them.
NUTRIENT-PACKED: Mushrooms contain a selection of vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin D, selenium, copper and potassium.
NOW TRY THE RECIPE: Clever mushroom carbonara
Reasons to eat cauliflower : the super floret
B-VITAMINS: Cauliflower is loaded with B vitamins including riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and thiamine. These help enhance the immune system, maintain healthy skin and increase your metabolic rate.
ANTI-INFLAMMATORY: Vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids in cauliflower provide anti-inflammatory agents to keep joint, digestive and cardiovascular health at optimum levels.
ANTIOXIDANTS: Cauliflower contains high levels of the core antioxidants vitamin C and manganese, which help support the immune system and combat cancer.
DIGESTIVE SUPPORT: Dietary fibre is a rich component of cauliflower and contains a compound called glucoraphin, which helps nourish and protect the digestive system.
CANCER PREVENTION: Cauliflower has been linked to helping significantly reduce the risk of cancers such as ovarian, breast, bladder and colon cancer.
NOW TRY THE RECIPE: Cauliflower with goats cheese sauce
Reasons to eat courgette : super zucchini
LOW FAT: Consisting of 90% water with virtually no fat, no cholesterol and a low calorie count, courgettes are the perfect vegetable for aiding weight loss.
FIBRE-RICH: Courgettes contain high levels of insoluble fibre, which help promote a healthy digestive system and prevent certain diseases, such as diverticular disease.
HEALTHY HEART: Magnesium in courgettes helps prevent heart attacks and strokes while vitamin C reduces levels of bad cholesterol and potassium normalises blood pressure levels.
ANTI-AGEING: Courgettes contain vitamins A and C, which help reduce ageing and improve memory due to their powerful antioxidant properties.
HEALTHY EYES: Vitamin C and the antioxidant lutein are responsible for improving vision and keeping eyes healthy and sharp.
NOW TRY THE RECIPE: Grilled Courgette Salad with Chilli, Feta and Pine Nuts
Reasons to eat artichoke : the super thistle
HEALTHY LIVER: Artichokes contain antioxidants called silymarin and cynarin, which are beneficial to the liver in getting rid of toxins and assisting the liver in its vital operations.
HIGH IN FIBRE: One medium artichoke contains a quarter of your daily recommended intake of fibre, which helps the digestive system function well and lowers cholesterol.
DIABETIC-FRIENDLY: The carbohydrates in artichokes are a form of insulin, which stabilises blood sugar levels in diabetes.
ANTIOXIDANT-PACKED: Artichokes contain one of the highest levels of antioxidants in vegetables, which help defend your body against cancer and heart disease.
GLOWING SKIN: Consuming artichoke regularly will provide health benefits for your skin such as improving skin luminosity, hence its use in beauty products.
NOW TRY THE RECIPE: Spring Ragout of Artichoke Hearts, Broad Beans, Peas and Turnips
Reasons to eat butternut squash : the super gourd
POTASSIUM: One cup of butternut squash has more potassium than even a banana, which helps to reduce joint stiffness and blood pressure levels.
NUTRIENTS: Butternut squash is full of vitamins and minerals including zinc, selenium, fibre, vitamin C, vitamin A, manganese and magnesium.
HEALTHY HEART: The antioxidants beta-carotene and vitamin C play a role in protecting the heart and lowering the risk of heart disease, whilst fibre decreases blood pressure.
WEIGHT LOSS: Butternut squash’s two main components, water and fibre, aid weight loss as they help slow down digestion and make you feel fuller for longer.
OMEGA-3: Butternut squash is packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which have a therapeutic effect on high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
NOW TRY THE RECIPE: Spicy butternut soup