A-Z Foods

They may be tiny but sesame seeds are a nutritional goldmine providing many essential nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc and copper. The seeds – and the tahini paste made from them and available in jars – are a great addition to almost any meal.

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, an important antioxidant that helps neutralise free radicals – metabolism by-products that can damage our cells – and prevents cholesterol particles in the blood from oxidising.

Most of us don’t know much about seaweed, apart from popping the little bubbles in stuff we find on the seashore (spiral wrack).

Rice has been a staple in the human diet for millennia. It’s a traditional food but recently has also become an ingredient in many modern foods such as energy bars, snacks and drinks.

With so many types of pumpkins, squashes and courgettes there’s a lot of choice but some varieties are very seasonal. As Halloween approaches, we’re used to seeing the bright orange ones in particular but how nutritious are they?

Any milk (plant or animal milk) is a very watery liquid, around 90 per cent is always water. Therefore, any amount of nutrients it contains is more or less diluted and any health effects depend on how much of it you drink.

Garlic is a true powerhouse with many sulphur phytochemicals which are stronger than those in onions and offer a number of health benefits.

Onions contain some mighty phytochemicals such as flavonoids – naturally occurring compounds that can trigger reactions in the human body that protect your health. Research on flavonoids has shown that they might help reduce the risk of cancer, Parkinson's disease, heart disease and stroke.

Rapeseed plant belongs to the cruciferous family – together with broccoli, kale and cabbage – and is native to Europe, whch makes it sustainable and easy to grow in the UK. Rapeseed oil is different to canola oil widely available in Northern America.

Olive trees are thought to have originated in Greece or Syria but over the last millennia and more their cultivation has spread across the Mediterranean region, making olives and olive oil a staple of the local diets. The biggest European producers are Spain, Italy and Greece.

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