What are the healthiest foods for a balanced diet?

6. Beans and legumes

Legumes, a class of vegetables that includes beans, peas and lentils, are among the most versatile and nutritious foods available. They’re typically low in fat, contain no cholesterol, and are high in folate, potassium, iron and magnesium (so there’s an answer to that earlier question, for the 75pc of people who are deficient). They also contain beneficial fats and soluble and insoluble fibre – perfect for keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

Whip up a bean casserole as a great, protein and mineral rich alternative to meat.

7. Whole eggs

Eggs are great source of inexpensive, but still high quality protein. Eggs are rich in several nutrients that promote the health of the heart, and are recommended to pregnant women as they are rich in choline, which is essential for normal brain development. As an addition to your day-to-day diet, eggs provide a large dose of Vitamin D, which is great for your bones, and prevents osteoporosis.

Why not poach one for breakfast, and eat with some smashed avocado on sourdough? This may sound hipster, but the additional protein will help to keep hunger locked up until lunch!

8. Oils, spreads and healthy fats

Oils and spreads are a key aspect in a balanced diet, because including some healthy fats into the diet is essential. It’s important to swap cholesterol-inducing trans fats with healthy unsaturated alternatives.

Try cooking with coconut oil, which burns at a much higher heat than other oils, meaning it’s less likely to produce carcinogens. Other brilliant oils that are essential to include in a healthy diet are olive oil, and fats from vegetables such as avocados.

9. Avocados

Avocados are included in the range of healthy fats – which are essential to the health of our bodies and overall well-being. Some of their many health benefits include that they’re mineral rich, they’re high in vitamin K which is good for your bones, and they help maintain low cholesterol, which in turn is great for the heart.

Include them in your diet by smashing them on sourdough toast, and eating with poached eggs for a delicious breakfast.

10. Nuts

Of course, there are many different nuts, and each has its own specific health benefit. However, as a whole, they’re packed with protein, as well as being a source of polyunsaturated fats, and heaps of fibre. A golf-ball sized amount of mixed nuts – about 30g – is recommended as a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

Almonds are a great source of calcium for those who avoid dairy; Brazils are a source of selenium; and walnuts contain an impressive amount of antioxidants, which could fight against cancer.

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