Marketing agencies tend to go overboard with the word “superfood”. While “superfoods” like acai and goji berries are beneficial for your health, you do not have to spend $15 on a 6oz bag of goji berries or $25 on a bottle of acai juice to receive antioxidants and powerful health properties from food. Here are ten inexpensive healthy foods that can easily be found in most supermarkets.
One cup of cooked sweet potatoes with skin intact contains 769% of the recommended daily value of vitamin A. It also contains 65% vitamin C, 50% manganese, 29% vitamin B6 and 27% potassium. Smaller amounts of the vitamins E, K, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid are found in sweet potatoes. Minerals found in sweet potatoes include calcium, iron, phosphorous, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Sweet potatoes are fat free and contain 7 grams of fiber.
Green leafy vegetables such as kale, bok choy and spinach are packed with nutrients. They contain calcium, iron, folate, potassium, magnesium, lutein, fiber, and vitamins C, A and K. Enjoy greens in a salad with an olive oil vinaigrette dressing, lightly steamed or in a blended fruit smoothie.
Raw broccoli contains more than your recommended daily value of vitamins C and K. It is very low in calories, with just 31 calories per cup. To obtain the most nutrition, eat broccoli raw or lightly steamed.
There are several varieties of sprouts, including alfalfa, clover, buckwheat, garbanzo, lentil, mung bean and radish. Sprouts pack in protein, vitamin C, iron, folate, manganese, phosphorous and copper as well as smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Sprouts can be very inexpensive when purchased in bulk as a seed and sprouted in your own kitchen. The sprouts only take a few days to mature.
Blueberries have a very high antioxidant capacity. They are rich in anthocyanin (an antioxidant), vitamin C, B complex, vitamin E, vitamin A, copper, selenium, zinc and iron. Some studies state that blueberries have the highest antioxidant rating of any fruit and they also fight free radicals that can affect disease and age the body. A recent study at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center suggests blueberries may help reduce belly fat and lower cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome risk.
One kiwi, in just 45 calories, contains all the vitamin C you need in a day.
Flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 is very beneficial to heart health and cholesterol levels in your body. Flaxseeds also contain lignans, anti-cancer compounds and fiber that enhances digestion. Throw ground flaxseeds in a smoothie or sprinkle them on a salad.
Beans are a healthy, cholesterol-free source of protein. One cup of great northern beans contains 15 grams of protein, 46% of the daily recommended amount of manganese, 45% folate, 29% phosphorus, 22% copper, 22% magnesium, 21% iron, 20% potassium and 19% thiamine, in addition to smaller amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Beans have also been known to raise good HDL cholesterol levels.
Cherries are full of anti-inflammatory properties, and they are high in antioxidants that help the body fight off free radicals.
Although you may have to make a special trip to Whole Foods or buy raw cacao powder online, it is still a substance worth looking into. Raw cacao powder is made from cocoa beans, but it is cocoa before it has been heavily processed and had sugar added to it to form chocolate. Raw cacao powder is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. It also contains 42% of the recommended daily value of magnesium and 22% of iron.