We can learn a lot from our elders and their past nutritional habits… while our current diets are increasingly full of convenient foods that tend to be processed…. Years ago people relied on natural basic unprocessed foods… So here are my top 6 health foods that fall into the ‘old school’ category!
The humble dried plum seems to get a lot of abuse… However I have been noticing it is making its way back into the limelight. Its nutrient rich (phytochemicals, potassium and copper), keeps you ‘regular’ (soluble and insoluble fibre coupled with sorbitol and phenolic compounds) and is extremely versatile. My advice is to not only use it as a snack but to try it in both sweet and savoury dishes like porridge, scones, stews and casseroles…
2. The spud
The poor potato has received so much bad press over the years… Why? Maybe because if you make it into french fries, crisps or waffles, it may not be the healthiest food… However potatoes are jam packed with nutrients including protein, fibre (as much as 6 prunes!), folic acid, iron, vitamin C (equivalent to 2 apples!), magnesium, phosphorus, potassium (twice as much as a banana) and some B vitamins. The boiled potato is also one of those low GI, slow releasing energy foods. So bring back the meat and two veg dinner that we once enjoyed so much!
Barley is not just used for soups (or beer), but was used as a staple carbohydrate source in savoury dishes. It’s tasty, high in soluble fibre (gel like fibre that’s great for your digestive health and can even lower cholesterol!), low GI (slow releasing energy) and has a nutty texture… ideal for salads! Plus, like these other wonder foods, it contains lots of nutrients like B vitamins, minerals like selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, copper as well as antioxidants and phytochemicals!
4. Tinned salmon
Tinned salmon is not only affordable, handy to have in your cupboards and doesn’t involve preparation… but it also provides you with omega 3 fatty acids that are great for you heart, brain and joint health! The quality of salmon from a tin has greatly improved in recent years. So perhaps try having this ‘superfood’ in a sandwich, with wholewheat pasta or even try your hand at making fish cakes!
Oats are back in vogue due to their numerous health benefits…. They are low GI, high in soluble fibre, very affordable and contain health boosting phytochemicals. You don’t have to make your porridge with water… Make your porridge creamy by making it with low fat milk! Milk will provide extra nutrition like protein and calcium which will feed your active tissues. So start the day a sensible way!
6. Brussels sprout.
The once shunned boring veggie is now back! It’s been around since the 13th century as a result of cabbages mating… but recently people are talking about how they used to despise them…. Perhaps cooking method is to blame? When boiled they leave the house with a smell so potent and distinguishable… And they have a strong bitter taste….
So its not surprising that the new in vogue cooking method, roasting them, is being considered the reason for their return. The intense heat when roasting caramelises the sprouts making them sweater which surprises our taste buds… The outer leaves are crispy but the inner sprout becomes soft. Just lay your sprouts out of a baking tray to roast dry. And like lots of veg, the smaller ones are sweeter!