A while back I read this article on my university’s media site written by one of my lecturers – Tim Crowe. This is a list of some of the best foods to add to your diet, and best of all? The list includes dark chocolate.

1 Cruciferous vegetables
These include broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, kale. These plants are high in antioxidants and have cancer protection properties.

2 Oats
Oats are high in fibre and low in fat. The fibre helps with keeping blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control. This is part what makes them so good for those with diabetes. Oats can easily be added to bread, muffins or as a base for muesli.

3 Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and vitamin E. Nuts are easy to keep with you during the day to have as a snack between meals or if you need a quick boost before going to the gym. I generally add seeds to bread to increase the fibre content (and flavour) or to salads for a bit of variety.

4 Tea
Both black and green tea are high in flavanoids (a class of antioxidants) and have been linked to anit-depressant effects. A cup of tea after a meal can help settle the stomach as well as going toward your daily water requirements.

5 Berries
Berries are fantastic as they are high in antioxidants and polyphenols. They’re great for adding natural sweetness and colour to foods. Having up to three servings of berries a week may lower the risk of heart attacks. While fresh berries can be expensive, the frozen packaged berries are just as good. Just check the ingredients list to make sure there’s no added sugar. If you find fresh berries at a good price you can keep them in your freezer for a very long time.

6 Fish
I personally cannot stand seafood. However, the more I learn as a nutritionist the more I wish I did. Fish is a great source omega-3 fatty acids and the edible bones from salmon et al. are a fantastic source of calcium. Fish is very lean making it an ideal meat. There have also been numerous studies linking fish to a variety of health benefits including many mental health issues, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

7 Dark Chocolate
I love dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is much lower in sugar than milk or white chocolates and the higher cocoa content increases the benefits. Dark chocolate can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, improve the action of insulin and may even help with boosting your metabolism.

8 Soy
Soy is particularly beneficial to women over 50. There is evidence to suggest that it has a weak ‘estrogen-like” effect which can lower some post-menopausal symptoms. For the rest of us, it is a particularly good source of protein.

9 Tomatoes
Tomatoes have a high concentration of lycopene which may protect against prostate cancer. Cherry tomatoes make a great snack. I can never stop myself grabbing one or two when I go into the fridge.

10 Yoghurt
Yoghurt is low in fat and has some great probiotic bacteria. When the good bugs are strong in your GI tract it makes it harder for the bad bug to take hold. I love using yoghurt on my muesli or to make some simple salad dressings or dips.

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