It’s a New Year and that means it’s time for a New You! More exercise. More focus for those jobs that never seem to get done. And, (gulp) eating more healthily. As we all know that last one can be the toughest of the bunch. However we’re here to give you a secret weapon: The Complete Guide to Nutrients by Dr. Michael Sharon.

We’ve pulled out some of the fascinating, and just plum amazing, facts from the book about food you’re already eating every day - and how it just might be hiding some incredible benefits you never even knew about. 

Apples: We’ve all heard ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ and while the fruit may not be an all-powerful cure-all it certainly lives up to the saying. Apples are rich in pectin which not only aids with intestinal issues, but removes radioactive residue and toxic metals such as lead and mercury from the body. That’s not even touching the benefits it has for your general immune system or for the beneficial effects it can have in protecting the lungs from smoking. It’s the true super fruit!

Lettuce: In addition to being the most popular of salad vegetables, lettuce is absolutely packed with vitamins A and C (especially the darker leaf varieties). It can increase the production of mother’s milk and relieve issues with urination. Not only that but lettuce contains lactucarium - thus acting as an excellent sedative. A large dish of fresh lettuce leaves eaten before bedtime can calm nervousness and induce sleep.

Oats: Oh sure, oats may not seem like the most exciting of food stuffs but you’d be surprised how much of a powerhouse these grains are. We’ll let The Complete Guide to Nutrients do the talking: “Oats are an exceptional cereal and are used primarily for their outstanding nutritional value. They are higher in protein and fat content than any other cereal and are also rich in vitamin E, some of the B vitamins and minerals, particularly zinc, manganese and silica. They are high in fibre and can soothe the digestive system, reduce cholesterol and strengthen the heart.” Just remember all that next time you’re offered a bowl of oatmeal.

Strawberries: The staple of British Summer Time isn’t just a delicious Wimbledon snack! Strawberries are cancer and cholesterol fighting wunderkinder. The red berries are filled with Vitamin C, potassium, silicon and pectin - all of which are a boon for those suffering from hypertension or heart conditions. You should even serve them as an appetiser at your next dinner party - they are an excellent digestive aid if eaten before a meal.

Honey: Honey has been used therapeutically for centuries. In addition to being a brilliant sugar alternative and containing B vitamins, minerals and enzymes, honey has been used to treat sore throats, coughs, stomach ulcers, canker sores of the mouth and lips, high blood pressure and constipation. It can even be applied to wounds and burns!

Wine: This is the big one. Surely it’s possible to be nutritionally healthy and still enjoy a glass of wine - right? Well: “Drunk in moderation wine appears to be more than just an alcoholic or romantic drink. Wine constituents have a relaxing effect and are known to promote the absorption of essential minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc.” However, the most exciting nutrient contained in wine is the polyphenol resveratrol - which clinical studies have shown as a potent antioxidant that protects the heart, helps prevent cancer, reduces the risk of osteoporosis and alleviates depression. So you’re in the clear to have that glass of wine! Just remember: moderation is key.

Onions: Sure onions make everything taste incredible, but what’s nutritionally special about them? Straight from the guide itself, “Onions can reduce blood stickiness, preventing blood clots and heart attacks. Crude extracts of onion have been shown to lower high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Onions are also used to alleviate coughs, cold, and inflammations of the nose and throat.” All those tears shed when you last chopped an onion? Worth it.

Grapes: Grapes are also a great provider of resveratrol, the polyphenol superhero found in wine. In addition to all the benefits that resveratrol contains grapes are also sources of valuable cell salts which are known to purify the blood, benefit kidneys and liver, and strengthen the immune response. In fact grapes have so many medicinal uses that there are proponents of doing a Grape Fast - where you eat nothing but grapes and drink grape juice for a week to 10 days!

Bananas: We all know bananas are a good source of potassium, but do you know just how much potassium a single banana contains? 440mg! No other fruit comes close to matching it on that front. Not just that, the humble banana has a long medical history of being used to relieve digestive ailments and for the soporific effect of tryptophan naturally contained within it. You can even use the peel to relieve symptoms of psoriasis without any of the side-effects that come with common treatments. 

Tea: We know there’s no way you’d ever give up on a cup of tea (and we would never tell you to do otherwise) so here’s all the benefits you get from having that cuppa. “Black tea is a stimulating, refreshing and diuretic beverage. It is traditionally used to aid digestion, especially after a heavy meal. Strong tea is used medicinally to halt dysentery and treat chronic inflammations such as gastritis and enteritis. Tea includes the minerals sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium and manganese. In tea-drinking countries, a third or more of the daily consumption of manganese comes from tea.”

This is an easy-to-read and easy to use A-Z of superfoods, herbs, vitamins, minerals and supplements containing everything from Acai to Zinc - in fact, it’s a mine of fascinating facts so let Dr Sharon help you continue with your ‘New Year, New You’ journey in The Complete Guide to Nutrients.