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Superfoods

 

Tomatoes
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When it comes to preventing cancer, the humble tomato is one of the best foods to eat. This is because they provide the richest dietary source of lycopene; an antioxidant that helps combat cell damage that can lead to cancer. In particular, eating plenty of tomatoes (even in the form of ketchup!) can reduce the risk of suffering from cancers of the prostrate, lung and stomach. TIP: Include one tomato-based product in your diet 4-5 times a week.
Garlic
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It's renowned in folk medicine as a natural antibiotic with the ability to boost immunity and ease respiratory problems. In recent years garlic has also been found to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol, making it beneficial for those with heart disease. TIP: Try a garlic supplement.
Soya
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Soya products contain isoflavines, which seem to block the hormone oestrogen in the body. As high levels of oestrogen have been linked to female cancers, many researchers now feel that eating soya regularly could give women some protection. It has also been found to help reduce hot flushes and mood swings. TIP: Include soya products such as tofu, soya milk and soya beans in your diet 3-4 times a week.
Broccoli
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It's a rich source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and iron. According to an analysis by the National Cancer Institute, the more cruciferous vegetables you eat (which also includes brussel sprouts, cauliflower and cabbage) the lower your chances of developing cancer of the colon. TIP: Broccoli is best eaten lightly steamed so it retains all its goodness.
Brazil nuts
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They're an excellent source of the antioxidant mineral selenium that studies have found can boost the immune system and help protect against cancer. Eating any kind of nuts fives times a week may also help reduce your risk of heart disease. TIP: Keep a bag of brazil nuts handy and try to eat 2 or 3 a day.
Blueberries
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This fruit is high in compounds that can help protect the body against the damaging action of free radicals, which destroy cells and cause diseases and skin ageing. Research shows that eating blueberries regularly may delay the deterioration in coordination and short-term memory that occurs when we grow older. TIP: If you don't like blueberries, try strawberries, blackberries or cherries instead, which contain the same beneficial compounds.
Yoghurt
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It's high in calcium and phosphorus, which are vital for strong bones and teeth. The natural bacteria in live yoghurt replenishes the stomach's 'friendly' bacteria that we need to digest our food. This makes it helpful for those suffering from problems such as IBS or stomach upsets, in which the natural balance of the stomach has been disturbed. TIP: Try and eat live (sometimes known as 'bio') yoghurt regularly, especially when taking a course of antibiotics.
Oily fish
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They're full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help protect against diseases of the heart. It's thought they work by reducing the risk of blood clots. These nutrients also work as an anti-inflammatory, which can help those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis. TIP: Eat oily fish such as sardines, mackerel or trout, 3 times a week.
Spinach
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This vegetable is an excellent source of folic acid, which can help protect against birth deformities in unborn babies and cervical cancer in women. It also contains substances that help prevent certain eye disorders such as cataracts. TIP: Eat spinach leaves raw in salads or add them to sandwich fillings.
Wholegrains
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They're a great fibre provider and help to promote a healthy digestive system. They also contain iron, calcium and B vitamins. Wholegrains are associated with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. TIP: Switch some of your 'white' or processed foods for wholegrain varieties, e.g. brown rice and wholemeal bread.
Ginger
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It contains anti-coagulant substances that discourage the formation of blood clots, reducing your risk of suffering a stroke or heart attack. Ginger is also known to relieve travel and morning sickness and can improve a sluggish digestion. TIP: Try drinking ginger tea or eating stem ginger biscuits. Fresh ginger can be chopped and added as flavouring during cooking and baking.
Kiwi
Because it contains over 120% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C (that's twice as much as an orange!) eating kiwis can help speed your recovery from colds and flu. They also contain more fibre than other fruits and can relieve and prevent constipation. TIP: Slice off the top and eat with a spoon, boiled egg-style for a great vitamin boost.
Honey
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It has an antibacterial action that has been found to help heal stomach ulcers and cure gastroenteritis. It also protects the stomach wall from irritants and is helpful if you take medication such as aspirin regularly. Evidence suggests it can help to ease the symptoms of hayfever. TIP: Don't heat honey as it destroys most of its health-giving properties.
Celery
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Rich in potassium, celery is a traditional remedy for high blood pressure. It works by reducing the stress hormones responsible for making the blood vessels constrict. Celery also has a mild diuretic effect, making it helpful for sufferers of water retention and bladder infections. TIP: It's best eaten raw - and remember - the greener it is, the more vitamins and minerals it contains.
Chilli
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Useful for respiratory problems because it opens up the sinuses and air passages and helps break up mucus in the lungs. Capsaicin, the substance that makes chillies hot, is also a potent painkiller that works like a natural aspirin, helping to alleviate headaches. TIP: Add chilli (in moderation!) to soups, pasta sauces etc. Probably the best known vitamin, C has many functions in the body. In particular it's known to protect cells and fight damage from 'free radicals'. C also helps strengthen capillaries, prevent bruising and keeps gums strong and healthy.


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