7 Economical Superfoods for Everyone
The media and food marketers often make a big deal out of the latest superfoods. Take goji berries or pomegranates as two recent examples. But trendy superfoods are usually pricey, unfamiliar, and unavailable locally, making them inaccessible to the masses.
In a post appearing in Food, Nutrition & Science, food expert Sharon Palmer, RD, suggests more familiar, readily available, and affordable superfood options. The best part? You can snag many of these items in organic form and on the cheap at a local farmer's market (or in your own backyard garden!)
Here's here list of affordable superfood choices:
1. Oats. Oats are rich in avenanthramide, an antioxidant that protects the heart. Other oat accolades? The superfood lowers cholesterol and has been shown to possess disease-zapping antimicrobial activity, making organic oatmeal the perfect affordable breakfast item for cold and flu season.
2. Dry beans. Forget expensive steak and sausage. Dry beans and dry lentils pack a healthy low-fat, plant-based protein punch. Known as a "perfect food," just one cooked cupful can provide as much as 17 grams of fiber. Beans are also loaded with protein and dozens of key nutrients, including a few most people fall short on—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. Studies tie beans to a reduced risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and breast and colon cancers.
Soak beans overnight and rinse them well to eliminate most of the flatulence-causing compounds.
3. Garlic. This onion relative contains more than 70 active phytochemicals, including allicin, which studies show may decrease high blood pressure by as much as 30 points. High consumption of garlic lowered rates of ovarian, colorectal, and other cancers, according to a research review in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. To boost garlic's health effects, be sure to crush the cloves and let them stand for up to 30 minutes before heating them.
4. Cayenne pepper. If you can handle the heat, this powerhouse pepper is worth your while. The heat in cayenne peppers come from a phytochemical called capsaicin, which can help clear congestion, fight cholesterol, melt away body fat, and jump-start your metabolism. Sprinkle it over veggies and beans to sneak it into your diet.
5. Celery. Eating four sticks of celery a day can produce modest reductions in blood pressure, thanks to the vegetable's rich supply of phthalides, phytochemicals linked to cardiovascular health.
Bonus: Celery is loaded with androstenone and androstenol, pheromones that help attract women.
6. Tomatoes. Tomatoes are our most common source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may protect against heart disease and breast cancer. Avoid canned tomatoes when possible: The epoxy can coating usually contains the harmful plastic chemical BPA. Instead, load up on in-season, organic tomatoes in bulk and preserve them for year-round enjoyment.
7. Onions. This bulb boasts far-reaching health benefits, including immunity-boosting compounds that can help prevent everything from the common cold to cancer. Onions are also rich in quercetin, a flavonoid shown to keep your blood healthy. It's also a must-have for natural allergy prevention.