food

The 14 "hero" ingredients Jamie Oliver reckons everyone should have in their pantry.

Image via Youtube (@JamieOliverFoodTube).

He’s already revolutionised school meals, so now Jamie Oliver has set his sights on your pantry.

For his TV series Jamie’s Super Foods, inspired by his latest cookbook Everyday Super Foods, the 40-year-old chef has come up with a list of 14 ‘hero’ ingredients he says could help us live to 100 years old.

The refreshing thing about the foods that made the cut? There’s not an ingredient in the mix that’s “activated” or hard to pronounce. And you should be able to purchase them all from your local supermarket. Easy.

“It’s not about goji berries and green drinks. It’s about cooking smart with simple foods,” Oliver said. Amen.

For the series, Oliver travelled to several places known for their healthy diets, such as Costa Rica, Okinawa in Japan and the Greek island of Ikaria, to draw inspiration for his ‘hero’ ingredients. While we’re not sure the “live till you’re 100” claim is totally fool-proof, we’re more than happy to add these to our shopping list (if they’re not on there already).

“They’re all using humble ingredients to make some of the simplest and tastiest dishes I’ve ever tasted,” he said.

1.  Eggs

Eggs offer a range of health benefits. Image via iStock.

Eggs are a great source of meatless protein, Vitamin D, which the body needs for absorbing calcium, iodine, that helps your metabolism function properly, and Vitamin B12, for a healthy nervous system.

2. Goat's milk

Yes, that means goat's cheese too. Dairy is an essential element of our diets. Goat's milk is packed with protein and Vitamin D and has smaller fat globules than other milks making it easier to digest.

3. Fish

Fish is a great source of protein that can help muscles grow and repair, is low in fat and packed full of vitamins, minerals and Omega 3.

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Image via iStock.

4. Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a source of four essential micronutrients: vitamin C, thiamin, potassium and manganes - nutrients that help our nervous systems function and keep our body and brain healthy. (Post continues after gallery.)

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5. Wild Greens and Herbs

Yum. These are packed full of magnesium and folic acids.

6. Tofu

According to the BBC, tofu is an excellent source of protein, contains all eight essential amino acids and has plenty of iron, calcium, magnesium and Vitamin B1.

Image via iStock.
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7. Walnuts

Walnuts promise plenty of benefits for your health. They contain the amino acid l-arginine which is great for your heart. Plus, they're full of vitamin E, melatonin, folate and antioxidants essential for brain health. (Post continues after video.)

Video via Jamie Oliver

8. Black Beans

Black beans offer potassium, fibre, magnesium, folic acid and iron. They're called the "magical fruit" for a reason...

9. Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit should also be an essential part of your diet as it contains vitamins and minerals that essential to your health, including vitamin A (beta-carotene), C and E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and folic acid.

Image via Wikimedia Commons/Claudius Tesch 2

They're also a great source of dietary fibre and can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and reduce your risk of obesity.

10. Seaweed

The Guardian reports that seaweed has several health-boosting properties as it is high in nutrients while low in calories. It can prevent high blood pressure and may even help regulate hormones that lead to breast cancer, with Harvard University's Dr Jane Teas suggesting in a paper that kelp consumption could actually be a factor in the lower rates of breast cancer in Japan.

11. Wild Rice

Wild rice has a high protein and carbohydrate content and is a great rice and potato replacement. It's also a great source of potassium, phosphorus and vitamin B.

12. Garlic

According to Medical Daily, garlic is a highly nutritious spice, with its active compounds helping to lower cholesterol, fight off the common cold and improve bone health.

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Image via iStock.

13. Prawns

Prawns are a low fat source of protein, calcium, potassium, vitamins A and E and omega-3 fatty acids. Doesn't hurt that they taste delicious either.

14. Chillies

Chillies actually contain seven times the amount of vitamin C in an orange and are a good source of vitamins A and E, beta-carotene, folic acid and potassium as well as good metabolism starter.

Image via iStock.

How many of these foods do you already have in your pantry?

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