Perhaps you’ve heard about superfoods in the news lately and wondered what exactly constitutes a superfood. Does it give you special super powers? X-ray vision?
No, but superfoods are super healthy! A superfood is a food that is considered to be nutritionally dense and full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, healthy fat, and protein. Some superfoods hail from exotic locations, and are therefore on the pricey side. There are, however, many superfoods that are just as nutritious but are easy on your wallet.
Here are some of the more budget-friendly superfoods that are packed with nutrients and that won’t break the bank.
- Blueberries. Blueberries are full of anthocyanins, which give them their dark purple color. The darker the color, the more antioxidants a food typically has. Blueberries are low in sugar and full of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and folate. Some studies have shown blueberries to be a protective food against Alzheimer’s and other diseases. You can buy blueberries in the summer, when they are at their peak and inexpensive, or you can purchase frozen blueberries all year round for just a few dollars a bag. These budget-friendly little berries are a nutritional powerhouse. Try adding them to smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, or granola.
- Chia Seeds. You probably remember these little seeds from the “Ch-ch-ch-chia!” pets that used to be popular. Who knew that they were on to something? These tiny, crunchy seeds are full of fiber, omega 3 fats, magnesium, potassium, and protein. They add a delightful crunch to yogurt parfaits, and oatmeal or you can easily blend them into a smoothie (you’ll never know they’re there!). Because chia seeds expand and form a gel when added to liquid, they help you feel fuller longer, making them a great weight loss aid. A bag of organic chia seeds will set you back a few dollars. Not bad for such a healthy, little seed!
- Kale. If you’re looking to add more greens to your diet, kale should definitely be on your list. This large, leafy green is full of chlorophyll, calcium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, potassium, and antioxidants. This makes kale a great preventative food against inflammatory diseases. You can buy it fresh in the produce section or bagged and already chopped. I like to buy the bagged, organic, chopped kale, because it’s all ready to go for soups, smoothies, and making kale chips. And it freezes well if you don’t use it up before its expiration date. Frozen kale makes for delicious and frothy smoothies! And it’s only a few dollars, whether fresh or bagged.
- Coconut Oil. Coconuts are one of the healthiest foods on the planet. You can eat just about every part of the coconut – shredded coconut, coconut water, coconut manna, and coconut oil! The oil is full of medium chain fatty acids, which actually help your body burn fat for fuel. Coconut oil is also anti-bacterial and anti-microbial, so it is a boon for your immune system. It has a medium to high heat smoke point, which makes it perfect for stir fry and other high heat cooking. You can also add it to smoothies or baked goods for a dose of healthy fat. You can purchase organic coconut oil at Costco, Trader Joes, and other grocery chains for a very reasonable amount, typically from $5 to $12 depending on the size of the jar.
- Avocados. Avocados are loaded with healthy fats, fiber, potassium, vitamin K, and folate. Studies have shown that they can even lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. And they are truly a delicious and creamy treat! You can add them to salads, smoothies, and puddings, or you can make a big batch of healthy guacamole. At just a few dollars a pound, this superfood is a real bargain.
These are just 5 of my favorite superfoods, but there are many more. Adding budget-friendly superfoods to your diet is an easy, inexpensive, and delicious way to eat foods that will nourish your body and help in the prevention against disease.
Do you have a favorite superfood?