Eating well and healthfully gets a lot more interesting every day at The Old Co-Op, so we’d like to introduce to you our top ten cancer-fighting, age-defying, energy-boosting ingredients to add to your menu.

1. Chia Seeds

Just one tablespoon of these nutty-tasting edible seeds has as much fibre as a whole bowl of oatmeal, plus bone-building calcium and heart-healthy omega-3s. Chia is also a fantastic source of iron, which many women don’t get enough of in their diet. Why not try a spoonful or two of Chia seeds on your cereal, salads, and soups, or use them to thicken puddings and stir-fries?

2. Jicama

This slightly sweet and crunchy root vegetable has plenty of inulin, a reputedly slimming fibre that acts as a prebiotic to help promote helpful bacteria in your tummy. It’s also a rich source of vitamin C, which may boost collagen production and reduce aging of the skin. Jicama can be cooked or served raw in slaws, stir-fries, tacos, and salads, or simply tossed in lime juice and sprinkle with a little chili powder.

3. Broccoli Sprouts

Three-day-old broccoli plants may contain up to 50 times more of the anti-cancer agent sulforaphane than the more mature vegetable, and without the sometimes pungent taste. Exremely versatile, why not try them on sandwiches, wraps, pizza, baked potatoes, stews, stir-fries, tacos, and pretty mucht anything else you can think of?

4. Black Garlic

The fermentation process gives this garlic a slightly sweet, clove-and-caramel flavor and concentrates its natural antioxidants to nearly double that of a raw garlic bulb. The antioxidant compounds help lower cholesterol and can help decrease the risk of cancer. Why not try some black garlic in a fondue, or a sauce, pizza?

5. Kefir

With more protein and less sugar than yogurt, but with a similarly creamy texture, tangy taste, and loads of probiotics. These healthy bacteria are a known immune enhancer, and may protect against colon cancer. Kefir is a great new alternative to yogurt and can be used in salad dressings or smoothies.

6. Kelp

A possible anti-breast-cancer food, kelp is packed with vitamin K, calcium, and many other essential nutrients. And its natural alginate fibre may help block fat production too! Try some kelp powdered form, and mixed into meatballs and soups, or use kelp sheets (kombu) as an uber-low-cal wrap.

7. Nutritional Yeast

Just one single serving of these cheese-like flakes has an incredible nine grams of satiating protein and also  provides more than your RDA of B vitamins. All of which help to boost energy, squash stress, and decrease your risk for chronic diseases. You can  use Nutritional Yeast as a dairy-free substitute for Parmesan on potatoes, pasta, or scrambled eggs.

8. Barley

An old favourite, this sweet and nutty supergrain is extremely rich in niacin (for healthy hair and skin) and cancer-fighting lignans. And the soluble fibre helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels, cutting the risk of heart disease. Try some barley in place of pasta, rice, or oatmeal.

9. Beetroot

Another old favourite, few people realise that beetroot and beetroot juice are a good source of iron and folate (naturally occuring folic acid), and it also contains nitrates, betaine, magnesium and other antioxidants (notably betacyanin) all of which are very useful as part of a balanced diet and may help to reduce blood pressure.

10. Blueberries

A study in 2012 of 93,000 women found that participants who ate three or more portions of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32% lower risk of a heart attack compared with those who ate berries once a month or less. Blueberries are a good source of vitamin K and they also contain vitamin C, fibre, manganese and other antioxidants (notably anthocyanins). Try adding them to your breakfast cereal, including them in a packed lunch or mixing with low-fat yoghurt for a delicious dessert.