‘Superfood’ is a marketing term, used to describe foods that are nutrient-rich, benefiting one’s health and well-being. With so many claims, it’s important to know which foods truly due to amp up your health. Today, the words ‘natural’ and ‘healthy’ are thrown around irresponsibly.
Many healthy choices tend to come with a higher price tag, although they’re not all that they claim to be. When you’re constructing your grocery list, you want to list as many beneficial food items as possible. You can eat healthy on a budget. The following eight foods are not only considered superfoods, but they’re also affordable:
1. Pumpkin Seeds
Although you can purchase pumpkin seeds all year round, autumn yields the freshest seeds. The popularity of pumpkin seeds dates back to ancient Greece, however, archaeologists found them in Mexican caves as early as 7000 BC.
This superfood is packed with vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. They’re an excellent source of vitamin E, K, and the vitamin B group. They’re rich in iron, copper, magnesium, phosphorus, and especially zinc (low levels of zinc are associated with osteoporosis). They also provide both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, as well as protein.
Not only do they yield vitamins and minerals, but these powerhouse seeds also reduce inflammation, improve sleep and mood, and support good prostate health. Eat them as a snack, toss them on your salads, blend them up in smoothies, or bake them in bread.
This superfood grain dates back thousands of years. Quinoa is extremely high in protein, as it contains all the essential amino acids, making it a great choice for vegetarians and vegans. It also contains twice as much fiber as almost any other grain.
Since quinoa is gluten-free, many are losing weight by switching. Although it is a carbohydrate, it’s a complex carb, meaning it does not raise blood sugar levels, gradually providing your body with the energy it needs.
This is a cheap source of protein, as it expands like rice. If you’re making one cup of dry quinoa, it will easily serve four people. You can eat quinoa both hot and cold. One of my favorite dishes is a Greek-style quinoa salad.
Blueberries are not only delicious, they’re incredible for your health. The benefits of blueberries actually come from their dark color, as the dark blue is a result of flavonoids. This antioxidant is noted for protecting one’s brain from free radicals and inflammation, helping preserve cognitive functioning.
Not only do these little berries improve brain health, but they help fight off various diseases. They have the highest antioxidant capacity of any fresh fruit. They also contain high levels of iron, zinc, copper, and selenium; boosting your immune system.
It has been found that sardines provide the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, however, they’re a much cheaper option. They’re also known to be low in contaminants (containing the lowest amounts of mercury).
These tiny fish are packed with protein, making them a healthier option than steak. They are also extremely high in vitamin B12 (137% of your daily value). This is thought to lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.
We all remember Popeye downing spinach and becoming strong and unstoppable. This is because spinach is a superfood that provides our bodies with so much. Spinach is filled with various antioxidants. When you consume one cup of spinach, you gain almost double your recommended vitamin K for the day. This aids in bone health, as well as cardiovascular health.
Since spinach is high in iron, it’s another get option for vegans and vegetarians. You can purchase a large bag for fairly cheap. When possible, opt for organic. Sure it’s a bit more, but a large bag can provide you with nutrients for multiple days. It won’t cost you any more than one meal at a fast-food restaurant.
Many nuts offer various benefits, however, almonds are the densest in terms of nutrients. Although they’re high in calories and fat, they offer healthy fats. In fact, almonds actually help reduce the risk of heart attacks and lower bad cholesterol.
Not only do almonds aid your cardiovascular, brain, and bone health, they may help individuals lose weight. It was found that eating almonds twice a week, made it 31% less likely that those individuals would gain weight (in comparison to those that rarely ate nuts).
7. Sweet Potatoes
The orange color of sweet potatoes is due to their high levels of alpha and beta carotene. This protects your eyes and bones while promoting a healthier immune system. They also contain antioxidants that destroy free radicals, helping decrease the chances of disease.
One medium potato offers your body four times the recommended daily value of vitamin A while providing vitamin C and B6, as well as potassium, lutein, and manganese. Chop up a sweet potato, a red pepper, one small red onion, toss them in olive oil and spices, then bake them in the oven. It’s delicious, healthy, and cheap.
Cinnamon provides so many benefits, especially for those that struggle with their blood sugar. Cinnamon improves glucose levels in the blood, helping individuals who suffer from both types I and type II diabetes.
Cinnamon is noted in Alzheimer’s research, due to an extract known as CEppt. This extract contains properties that may inhibit the development and progression of Alzheimer’s. It’s also known to help aid infection, potentially prevent cancer, and improve digestion.
This bright yellow spice has been used in India for thousands of years. Curcumin is the main ingredient in turmeric, which is a strong antioxidant, providing anti-inflammatory effects. It’s believed that low-level, chronic inflammation plays a large role in diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
10. Dark Chocolate
It’s true, you can eat chocolate and benefit. However, you need to consume dark chocolate, not milk chocolate. Aim for chocolate bars that contain at least 75% cocoa. High cocoa content is what produces nutritional benefits.
A 100-gram bar will provide you with 11 grams of fiber, 67% of your iron intake, 98% of your manganese intake, and 89% of your copper intake; while providing your body with potassium, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus.
It’s a high source of antioxidants and is known to improve blood flow while lowering blood pressure. Although it is healthy, it should be consumed in moderation as it is fairly high in calories.