Hopefully the post-Christmas detox has restored your energy levels, and you're now ready to expand your healthy eating plan to include some exotic treats.
Our US partners have created a list of more vitamin-rich foods to consider incorporating into your daily routine.
Let us know what you think in the comments below.
<strong>Why we love it:</strong> The kiwifruit is a good source of fiber, explained Jessica Crandall, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It's also rich in vitamins C and E and potassium. Taste-wise, it's juicy and just the right bit of tangy and can be a great depths-of-winter pick-me-up. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Crandall recommended throwing kiwis into a parfait or slicing 'em up and tossing them into a fruit -- or spinach-based -- salad.
<strong>Why we love it:</strong> In addition to being perfectly suited to the month that includes Valentine's Day -- <em>the</em> holiday of passion -- this somewhat exotic offering has a lot to offer nutritionally. Crandall hailed it as a good source of potassium and folate, and an excellent source of vitamins A and C. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> <a href="http://www.melissas.com/Melissas-Magazine/2009/February/Product-Spotlight/February-Fruits.aspx" target="_hplink">According to Melissa's, </a>a major distributor of specialty produce in the U.S., you can either buy passion fruit that's still smooth on the outside and wait to eat it, or opt for wrinkly skin if you want to eat right away.
<strong>Why we love it:</strong> <a href="http://www.livestrong.com/article/528196-the-advantages-of-having-fennel-after-dinner/" target="_hplink">As Livestrong points out, </a>fennel's digestive properties are so powerful that many people take it after dinner to help aid digestion and reduce gas. It also has vitamin C, calcium and potassium. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> Fennel stalks can be used in wintery salads or cooked into pastas and stews. The seeds can be added to various recipes to provide robust, natural flavoring (fennel has a licorice-like taste).
<strong>Why we love it:</strong> (As if we need to give a reason.) If ever there were a month for chocolate, February is it -- and when eaten in moderation, chocolate has loads of benefits, beyond just the obvious appeal it has for your taste buds.<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/11/chocolate-stroke-prevention_n_1004426.html" target="_hplink"> As we've previously reported,</a> it is high in antioxidants, may help reduce inflammation and can help boost your mood. <em>How to enjoy it:</em> Just grab a bar and nibble (research has shown that when it comes to health benefits, dark chocolate is best). Or for a special Valentine's Day treat, try melting some down and drizzling it over fresh strawberries. But remember that a little goes a long way -- eating <em>too</em> much chocolate isn't healthy either.
<strong>Why we love it:</strong> According to Crandall, cauliflower is low in calories, fat and sodium, while still being a good source of vitamin C and folate. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> If you're feeling a little bit bored with potatoes, Crandall recommended trying cauliflower as an alternative to mashed spuds. She also suggested tossing some into a salad or roasting to help bring out the vegetable's naturally nutty flavor.
<strong>Why we love them:</strong> According to Amy Jamieson-Petonic, a registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson, as well as director of coaching at Cleveland Clinic, tangelos are a great source of vitamin C. They've also got hesperitin, "an antioxidant that is being tested for its ability to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in test tubes," she explained. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> The great thing about <a href="http://www.globalorangegroves.co.uk/tangelo.html">tangelos</a> is that they're easy to peel and eminently portable. Grab a few, throw them in your bag and snack throughout the day.
<strong>Why we love them:</strong> Month after (winter) month, the nutritional experts recommend brussels sprouts as one of their top superfood picks. And with good reason ... "They are the second highest in glucosinolates (second only to broccoli) for their ability to protect against cancer," Jamieson-Petonic said. <strong>How to enjoy:</strong> While roasting brussels sprouts is a classic option, Jamieson-Petonic suggested steaming them with just a little bit of olive oil and sea salt.