Pack a nutritional punch into your plate with vibrant-hued produce.
This is one little versatile veggie; the tartness of rhubarb works equally well as an accompaniment to meats and desserts. It’s full of vitamin C, calcium and potassium, but reigns as king when it comes to vitamin K (essential for bone health and blood clotting). A 100-gram serve of rhubarb provides almost one quarter of the recommended daily intake of vitamin K.
One of the secrets of endurance athletes, the juice from nitrate-rich beetroot is lauded for its ability to enhance muscular performance. Chowing down on beetroot co-opts the bacteria living inside your mouth to assist in converting the nitrate into nitric acid, which improves the efficiency of oxygen uptake by the muscles. A study undertaken by the University of Exeter in the UK and published in the Journal of Applied Physiology looked into this process and discovered the sweet zone for beetroot juice ingestion: between 140 and 280 millilitres of juice, two to three hours before moderate or intense exercise, will offer the greatest gains.
A cousin of radicchio aka Belgian endive, this leaf emerges from a root vegetable and is a good source of vitamin C, folic acid (crucial for cell development during pregnancy) and fibre. A vibrant accompaniment that adds texture to warm winter salads and soups, it can also be braised in stock and served with roast dishes, or used fresh as a base filled with savoury minces. Look for leaves that are tightly packed and store them in a brown paper bag.
Also known as the tree tomato, the tamarillo originated in South America but grows well throughout Australia and New Zealand. A low-kilojoule, nutrient-dense fruit, vitamins A, B6, C, E, thiamine, copper and manganese combine to offer supercharged properties for detoxifying, radiant skin and anti-aging. Try it in a juice, add it to a fruit salad or enjoy it raw sprinkled with herbs and spices. According to South American tradition, it even works wonders for inflamed tonsils – perfect for winter throat relief.
The weather is crisp, and apples are ripe for the pickin’. A juicy, fibre-filled snack packed with vitamin C, apples are a low-GI fruit which help to stabilise energy levels through a slow release of sugars into the bloodstream. Try Red Delicious for sweetness, Braeburn for a sweet and tart combination or Fuji for crisp, dense and juicy flesh. Slice them and add a thin layer of unsalted nut butter with a dusting of cinnamon for a satisfying pre-workout munch.
The taste and texture of this knobbly, turnip-like vegetable is similar to cabbage and broccoli stems, but sweeter. Its versatility offers the chance to get creative; try it roasted, steamed, mashed, made into a slaw or packed into vegetable fritters. Experiment and add it to your favourite curry recipe for a boost of minerals, vitamins C and B6.