AS the nation stays behind closed doors for the foreseeable future it is important to stay healthy and to eat right.

Many key ingredients and so called ‘superfoods’ can help keep your body strong, keep your immune system in check and guide you in the supermarket while stocks are running low.

Kim Gillespie, owner of the Travelling Kitchen and expert in healthy cooking and vegan and vegetarian cuisine, gives you eight key ingredients that will help lift your meals throughout the lockdown.

1. SALMON

Salmon

It is packed with Omega-3 Fatty Acids and a great source of protein. It is high in B vitamins as well as a good source of potassium and contains the antioxidant, astaxanthin.

How to use – grilled, baked, pan fried. Pairs well with basil, sun dried tomatoes, blue cheese, herbs, cheese sauces and tomato-based dishes. Serve with pasta, salad, vegetables, rice and potatoes.

2. BROCCOLI

Brocolli

A great source of vitamins K and C, a good source of folic acid and also provides potassium and fibre. It is also high in Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant and protects the body from damaging free radicals.

How to use – steamed, sautéed. Pairs well with all meat and fish, in soup, pasta, curries, broths, cheese sauces and blue cheese.

3. BLUEBERRIES

Blueberries

A great source for fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and the phytonutrient content in blueberries supports heart health. Blueberries are the king of antioxidant foods, having one of the highest antioxidant levels of all common fruits and vegetables (4 , 5 , 6). The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a family of polyphenols antioxidants called flavonoids.

How to use – when in porridge, muffins, pancakes, dried, salads, mixed fruit, smoothies. Pairs well with cheese, oats, yoghurt and turkey.

4. GARLIC

Garlic

It has so many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, purifying the blood, a natural anti-inflammatory effect, a reduced risk of cancer, and plays a huge part in maintaining a stronger immune system.

5. MUSHROOMS

Mushroom

They contain B vitamins as well as a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system and prevent damage to cells and tissues.

How to use – sautéed with garlic, butter and parsley. Pairs well with cream, red wine, herbs (thyme, rosemary, bay, sage) and cheeses. Goes well with pasta dishes, side dish to meats, in stews and broths and risotto.

6. WATER

Water

Good old simple water ensures we stay alive…But staying hydrated also helps balance your blood sugar, helps relieve headaches, and promotes healthy skin. If you don’t drink water every day, your body could experience dehydration which could cause tiredness, slow brain function, irritability, dryness, and high temperature and lead to your immune system being compromised.

7. LEAFY GREENS

Leafy Greens

These are packed with vitamin A, B9, D and K they also play a huge part in immune boosting properties.

How to use – steamed, sautéed, roasted, served in with pasta, stews, soups, salads and as an accompaniment to any dishes. They can be the hero of the dish with their own flavour and can paired with almost anything.

8. GINGER

Ginger

It is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body and brain. It helps with digestion, reduces nausea and helps fight the flu and common cold, to name a few. Gingerol is the main bioactive compound in ginger, responsible for much of its medicinal properties. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

How to use – in smoothies, soups, stir frys, curries and Asian cuisine.

As supermarket shoppers fill their trolleys with toilet roll and pasta throughout the crisis, if you shop smart and try to add at least a handful of these ingredients into your meals over the coming weeks it will go a long way to improving your chances of staying away from the COVID-19 virus.

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