Eating a balanced diet isn’t easy and often involves a fair amount of careful planning if you want to ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs.
Unfortunately, no single food is that complete. But there are some which contain a greater nutrient profile which are able to satisfy our nutritional requirements. These foods have a superior ‘nutritional fitness’ rating.
By including some of these foods in our diet every day, we're better able to meet our nutrient intakes for good health.
The list below includes 10 of the most nutritionally balanced foods that are suitable for vegans, vegetarians, and of course everyone else!
Try to ensure you include at least a few of these foods in your daily diet for optimal health.
This list is taken from the top 100 nutritional fitness foods. Naturally the list contains plenty of fruit and vegetables, but it also includes lots of fish. If you’d like to see where your favourite fruit and veg appear in the top 100, check out the link below in the resources.
Almonds contain 20% protein and up to 60% healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), plus vitamin E, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc.
They can help promote cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol.
Eat raw as a snack, use ground or flaked almonds in recipes or soak overnight then blend with water and filter to make almond milk.
Not so well known in Europe, the Cherimoya is a native of southern Ecuador and northern Peru. This fruit looks like a cross between an artichoke and strawberry and tastes like pineapple and banana!
Nutritional benefits include high vitamin with good sources of B vitamins especially B6, as well as fibre, iron, potassium, copper, magnesium and manganese.
Helpful for anti-ageing, promoting cardiovascular health and boosting immunity.
3: Chia seeds
These tiny crunchy seeds are a powerhouse of nutritional benefits and were eaten by Aztec warriors to give them energy and endurance.
Chia seeds contain around 30% omega 3 fatty acids and are a rich source of zinc and iron (both useful for vegans).They're a good source of fibre, protein and contain calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. Additionally they contain a good balance of amino acids, antoxidants and flavonoids and they’re low glycaemic index (GI). High in vitamin E and manganese.
Their high fibre content supports bowel regulatory such as relieving constipation, plus they can support cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure.
Soak chia seeds in liquid eg coconut milk to make a chia pudding or sprinkle onto food. Always drink plenty of liquid when eating chia seeds as they swell up once digested.