WHEN it comes to healthy eating, the science is clear; the more whole foods you can get into your day the better. But which foods give you the biggest nutrient bang for your buck? taste.com.au has released the definitive list of the Top 100 Foods 2017, and here are the 10 foods leading the way:
This ancient ‘pseudo’ grain contains all the essential amino acids making it a rare complete vegetable protein source. Additionally, it is gluten free and high in dietary fibre, linked to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. It is also high in manganese and a good source of phosphorous, magnesium and folate, essential for new cell formation.
Find me: health food aisle
Watercress is in season in summer, and makes a super nutritious salad green. A member of the cruciferous family, it is packed with disease-fighting antioxidants, it’s also an excellent source of various nutrients including betacarotene, vitamin C and iron. Even better, its high vitamin C content enhances the iron absorption. Eating watercress raw is the best way to gain the most benefits.
Find me: fresh fruit and vegetable aisle
Blackberries are packed with disease-fighting antioxidants. Like blueberries they contain anthocyanin plant pigments, associated with multiple health benefits such as protection against heart disease and cancer, and ellagic acid, also linked to cancer prevention. Their small seeds make these berries fibre-packed, plus they’re a rich source of vitamin C and folate.
Find me: fresh fruit and vegetable aisle and freezer aisle
These tiny seeds pack a big nutritional punch. Chia seeds have the highest plant content of omega-3 fatty acids, with associated health benefits such as cardiovascular health, cancer and diabetes prevention, relief from joint stiffness and improved mental health. They are also a good source of omega-6 fatty acids, high in fibre, especially soluble fibre and a rich source of protein.
Find me: health food aisle
Almonds are a versatile and delicious source of plant protein (about 20 per cent), high in dietary fibre (around 12 per cent) and packed with heart-healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats. Almonds also have an impressive vitamin E content with just one serve (30g) of almonds providing at least 70 per cent of your RDI. Vitamin E is an important fat soluble vitamin and antioxidant, required for healthy red blood cells and muscle tissue. Almonds also contain good amounts of the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Find me: baking aisle, health food aisle, fresh food and vegetable aisle
Eggs are nutritional powerhouses. Just one serve (2 eggs) provides a substantial 12 grams of protein! Eggs are a vegetarian source of Vitamin B12 (only found in animal products), making them the perfect food for vegetarians. They are also packed with several other nutrients including Vitamin A, B vitamins, iodine, iron and vitamin D. The egg yolk contains all the fat content, just under half its protein and most of its nutrients.
Find me: egg section
Cottage cheese is, perhaps surprisingly, one of the most nutrient-dense foods. One serve gives more than 16g of protein per 1/2 cup, as well as calcium, magnesium and vitamin B12. It is lower in calories and fat when compared with other cheeses, but still has good amounts of protein.
Find me: chilled dairy section
Black beans, like all members of the legume family, contain the winning combo of high protein and high-fibre content. Just ½ cup cooked black beans contains over 8g dietary fibre (over 30 per cent of our RDI). Their distinctive outer coating is rich in anthocyanin pigments, powerful antioxidants that may help prevent cancer and heart disease.
Find me: dried legume section or canned vegetable section
Sardines are an excellent and cost-effective source of omega-3 fatty acids, associated with a multitude of health benefits including reduced risk of heart disease, treatment of arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, reduced risk of breast cancer and improved mental health. Even better they are packed with protein, and low in calories.
Find me: seafood section (fresh) or pantry (tinned fish section)
Kangaroo is packed with protein (over 30g per 100g cooked), is super lean (containing less than 2 per cent fat) and is rich in the minerals iron (4mg per 10g) and zinc. In fact, kangaroo is slightly higher in iron than the same quantity of beef (3.2mg). Iron is essential for energy metabolism, delivering oxygen to our cells, likewise zinc is required for healthy cell maintenance, immune function, growth and development.