You may not realise it but you have been eating phytochemicals all your life. Phytonutrients, as they are sometimes referred to, give fruit, vegetables, grains and legumes their flavour colour and protection against disease. They help form the plants’ immune system and potent antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, carotenoids (fat-soluble pigments like beta-carotei and lycopene) and flavonoids (water-soluble pigments like catechins and reserveratro Studies are now showing that they have a protective effect against many ailments such high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. So, once again the key message is t make sure you eat your fruit and veges daily!
Whole grains add essential vitamins and fibre to your diet. Try some different grains you might not have had before, such as millet, quinoa, buckwheat or barley, available at health- food shops and some supermarkets. Brown rice also belongs in this category: it is far superior to white rice and you will quickly acquire a taste for this yummy, nutty food. There is a huge variety of bread out there. We recommend going for bread in which you can see the whole grains. Check the labels, as some bread is high in sodium or fat, although it may look healthy.
Nuts and seeds are other great snacks loaded with nutrients, essential fats and protein. Add them into your cooking and sprinkle them over your vegetable dishes, breakfasts or yoghurt. Take good care to buy them fresh, as rancid nuts can be quite toxic. It is best to buy them from bulk bins where you can ‘sniff’ for rancidity.