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    10 unsexy nutritional foods that put hip ‘superfoods’ to shame

    Hipsters, avert your gaze! You don’t need to spend a fortune on exotic “superfoods” like quinoa, goji berries and chia seeds. Here are ten decidedly unglamorous, underrated and largely underappreciated everyday products that carry just as much (if not more) nutritional punch than trendy superfoods.

    1. Lentils

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    Cheap, filling and a fantastic source of iron, lentils may not be the sexiest ingredient in your cupboard, but they’re a nutritional marvel nonetheless. Virtually fat-free, lentils are high in fibre and can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes. As these recipes show, it’s easy to turn this underappreciated food into something special.

    2. Beef liver

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    The thought of eating beef liver may be as appealing as a Bushtucker Trial to many, but the nutritional value of this unglamorous organ is quite frankly astounding. Not only is it packed full of protein and iron, its Vitamin A content is so astronomically high that pregnant women are strongly advised not to eat it. Here’s a tasty recipe for you.

    3. Eggs

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    Eggs are so versatile that it’s almost unfair on other foods. Full of protein, vitamins and antioxidants, eggs are the unsung heroes of our diets. With so much high-quality protein on offer, eggs help to build your muscles and make you feel fuller for longer. This post tells you everything you need to know about the nutritional benefits of eggs and also offers some stunningly creative recipes.

    4. Mushrooms

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    We put mushrooms into all manner of dishes, but do we undervalue them nutritionally? We really shouldn’t, after all they are a great source of potassium and other key nutrients. They’re also really low in calories, while shiitake mushrooms in particular are said to enhance our defences against cardiovascular diseases. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver certainly knows what he’s doing with mushrooms; check out some of his dishes here. Magic.

    5. Cauliflower

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    If Kim and Kourtney Kardashian were broccoli and spinach respectively, Khloe Kardashian would be cauliflower. Cauliflower doesn’t always grab the headlines, but it has a charming down-to-earth appeal and its nutritional credentials make it pretty darn brilliant. A particularly good source of Vitamin C and K, cauliflower has anti-inflammatory properties and is definitely worth having in your diet. You can get a few recipe ideas here.

    6. Minced turkey

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    It’s a myth that turkey mince is bland and tasteless; you just need to know what to do with it. With the clever use of herbs and spices, you can turn this lean, high-protein meat into something truly incredible - and what’s more, it’s a far healthier alternative to red meat. Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which produces serotonin, helping to boost the immune system. If you’re partial to a guilt-free burger (who isn’t, right?) then you’ll want to read this.

    7. Onions

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    Nutritionally, onions are arguably the most underrated food going. Said to have “healing powers”, the onion is high in Vitamin C and is a strong source of folic acid, which helps your body to produce and maintain new cells. It’s so much more than a background ingredient in your spaghetti bolognese or a topping for your burger, it’s a nutritional colossus in its own right. As you’d expect, the National Onion Association has a few creative recipe ideas up its sleeve. Check them out.

    8. Black beans

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    Protein-rich and high in fibre, black beans have been found to lower blood pressure. Cheap and adaptable, you can incorporate these legumes into a wide array of dishes. Known to aid digestion and ward off cancer, black beans tick a lot of important boxes. This article explains how you can take a run-of-the-mill can of beans and turn it into a nutritional masterpiece.

    9. Turnips

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    When you’re reeling off a list of the best root vegetables (as you do!) it’s easy for the turnip to be overlooked. An extremely cheap veg that perhaps lacks the new-found appeal of the beetroot (which appears to be cool all of a sudden, with “beetroot bars” currently all the rage), the turnip provides all of the nutrients you need, keeping calories to a minimum and is also believed to help prevent age-related macular degeneration. Granted, turnips aren’t the most exciting ingredient in the world, but with a little bit of culinary know-how you’ll be able to add a bit of swag to this low-key veg.

    10. Mackerel

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    Anyone who has childhood memories of the pungent stench emanating from tinned mackerel can be forgiven for giving this fish a big swerve in later life, but the fact is that fresh mackerel is cheap, tasty and really good for you. A great way to get your quota of Omega-3, mackerel - whether grilled and served with veg, or tossed into a leafy salad - is a superb addition to your diet. It’s also said that fatty fishes like mackerel could help to protect us against conditions such as Parkinson’s. You can get some recipe inspiration here.

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