1. QUINOA
Quinoa has soared in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. “It has double the protein of most grains, and three times the fibre of brown rice. It is also an excellent source of B vitamins and minerals,” says Clement Gan, nutritionist from Eat Right.

Moreover, it is a low-GI (glycaemic index) food, so it helps to regulate blood sugar and increase the feeling of fullness. Eat it in place of rice, or make a quinoa salad with it.


2. KALE
This versatile vegetable is high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It also boasts anti-inflammatory properties – one cup of kale contains 10 per cent of our daily recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids, which can protect against autoimmune disorders.

“I give it to kale for its high content of iron,” Clement says. “However, the human body is less efficient at absorbing iron from plant sources than iron from animal sources, so don’t forgo lean sources of protein entirely.”


3. CHIA SEEDS
These tiny black seeds are big on benefits – 28g contains 11g of fibre, 4g of protein, as well as lots of vitamins and minerals like manganese, magnesium and phosphorous. Chia seeds even contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, when compared gram for gram.

They have a neutral taste, so you can add them to just about anything. Sprinkle them over your oatmeal, cereal or salads, or add them to smoothies and baked goods.


4. ACAI BERRIES
Acai berries are lauded for their antioxidant properties and have been dubbed a “miracle fruit” for weight loss, as their pulp can help to negate the effects of a high-fat diet.

“However, more studies need to be done with regard to its weight loss properties,” Clement says. “Also, beware of retail juice packs, which are high in sugar.” Consume acai berries on their own instead – they are naturally sweet.


5. GOJI BERRIES
Also known as wolfberries, these wrinkly fruit contain anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial compounds. Clement says they can also help improve vision, as they’re full of antioxidants like beta-carotene and zeaxanthin, which help protect the retina. Sprinkle into salads and cereals, add them to trail mix, bake them into breads and muffins for a unique flavour, or do what Mum does and add it to soups and stir-fries.

This article was originally published in Simply Her January 2015.