The mighty bean and other heroes

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Christmas: the holiday that leaves us feeling warm, content and like we never want to see another chocolate again. If you’re one of the many who resolved to detox this new year, or just want some healthy snacks to fill your campus fridge with, then look no further than ‘superfoods’ – little treasures of the culinary world packed full of unbelievable goodness.

photo by cerin.wordpress.com

Super-healthy eating doesn’t have to compromise taste, or break the bank. One of the greatest superfoods out there is the humble baked bean, a student favourite. High in protein, calcium, fibre and iron, the bean packs a big punch, especially when the tomato sauce contains a powerful antioxidant that keeps the heart healthy and even helps prevent some forms of cancer.

And the best way to serve up these mighty little beans? That’s where the second superfood comes in: wholegrain seeded bread. We all know that brown bread is better for you, but wholegrain is proven to reduce hunger pangs, making you less tempted to snack throughout the day. Toast it, make it into a sandwich, and you’ll face the day without craving mid-afternoon nibbles.

There has been a lot of press in recent years about that notorious omega-3, but what exactly is it? Omega-3 helps keep you supple, keeps your heart ticking and improves mental ability: perfect for that stressful exam period. It can be found in all fish, but mackerel, salmon, tuna and herring top the list. Fish doesn’t have to be expensive either; all supermarkets sell frozen fillets you can serve with a simple tomato sauce, and cheap tinned fish works great on toast (wholegrain, of course…)

Another forgotten miracle-worker is tea. A hot cuppa actually counts as one of your recommended daily eight glasses of water, but it does even more than that. Raising the immune system, helping prevent sunburn, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol… is there anything tea can’t do? Oh – it also stimulates calorie burning, perfect if you’re trying to ditch a couple of pounds. Green tea comes out top for the best of teas to drink, but black will have the same health kick.

We all know fruit is important, but which count as superfoods? Apples and bananas are both great for keeping you fuller longer, but apricots and berries are true wonder-workers. Generally speaking, the brighter the colour of the fruit, the better for you it is, so it’s no wonder these little fruits are packed with antioxidants and vitamins. The good news is that they’re just as good for you frozen, so buy in bulk and sprinkle on top of your morning cereal for an extra health boost.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be all work and no play, and that brings us to our last superfood, and no doubt the best of all. Dark chocolate actually lowers blood pressure, boosts oxygen flow to the brain and releases feel-good endorphins – result! The darker the better – look for at least 60% cocoa content, and of course, enjoy in moderation!

Happy healthy eating!

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