The nutritious gems hidden in your cupboard

Fiona Hicks

Sardines

One tin of these small fish contains more than half your recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids. These health-giving fats have a range of benefits, including protecting your vision and reducing blood pressure.

Prunes

Delicious with yogurt or porridge, these are a good source of vitamin C, which neutralises the free radicals that contribute to conditions such as asthma and arthritis.

Brown rice

Unlike white rice, this is a rich source of magnesium—a mineral that’s involved in your body’s management of sugar. An eight-year trial with more than 40,000 women found that those who frequently ate whole grains, including brown rice, reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 31 per cent.

Tumeric

This beautiful spice is a stalwart of Indian cooking. A powerful anti-inflammatory, emerging research is now investigating the link between turmeric and improved cognitive function. It’s early days, but it’s hypothesised that curcumin (a compound in turmeric) can stimulate the production of DHA—a fatty acid that’s critical to brain function.

Lentils

Their impressive fibre content helps your heart stay healthy. One study, which followed 10,000 adults for 19 years, found that those who ate 21g fibre daily had a lower incidence of coronary heart disease.

Tahini

The ground sesame seeds in this spread are brimming with zinc, a mineral that contributes to healthy bones. This fact was supported by a study of nearly 400 men, which found a correlation between low zinc intake and higher occurrence of osteoporosis.

Oats

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