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The 4 Most Affordable Superfoods

What is a superfood? How can you affordably add superfoods to your diet?

What is a superfood?

A superfood does not have a legal definition but are rather foods that are considered especially healthy for their nutritional properties. Superfoods often have high levels of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and other compounds that may help reduce your risk of certain diseases or act in protective and preventive ways in the body.

Phytonutrients are plant chemicals that promote health by supporting body processes that reduce the risk of some diseases or help your body to fight some diseases.

However, some super foods can be very expensive or hard to find like Acai or Gogi berries. So here are a few some affordable choices for superfoods that you will find in your local grocery store. These choices are on the lower end of the cost spectrum but will still add nutritional benefits to your diet!

1. Oats

You want to make sure that when you buy oats or oatmeal that you are buying a 100 percent whole grain. Oats contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. This means that oats can help aid in digestion because the insoluble fiber helps to move waste through the intestinal tract. Insoluble fiber further helps to add bulk to stool, prevent constipation and add soften stools. The soluble fiber in oats dissolves to a gummy texture that helps to bind to fatty substances and excrete them. Soluble fiber is also associated with lowering blood cholesterol levels and help your body to regulate sugar. Oats may help to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease!

2. Kale

Kale is now accessible and very affordable at almost every grocery store. The reason for the popularity of this food is because in addition to having fiber it also has phytonutrients like sulphoraphane, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and others. These phytonutrients have many functions including acting as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells, bolster cell defenses, and support healthy vision. One cup of kale has 206 percent of your daily vitamin A needs and 684 percent of your daily vitamin K. It also provides high amounts of vitamin C and is a high source of manganese.

3. Blueberries

When you purchase these seasonally, blueberries can be quite affordable. Other options include buying frozen blueberries or picking them yourself during the summer and freezing them for the rest of the year. Blueberries are full of vitamins and minerals and are a high source of vitamin c, manganese, and vitamin K. They also contain fiber and phytonutrients like ellagic acid and anthocyanidins. This means that the nutrients in blueberries help to protect your body by working as an antioxidant to neutralize free radicals that can lead to diseases like cancer. They may also help maintain healthy brain and immune function.

4. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are some of the most commonly found and affordable vegetables- or fruits for those who prefer that classification! Tomatoes contain phytonutrients like lycopene, which may help to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene falls under the category of carotenoids, or phytochemicals that work as antioxidants to help protect the body from free radicals that could damage cells. Tomatoes are also a high source of vitamin A and C and a good source of vitamin K and potassium. Canned, pureed and dried tomatoes still contain much of the nutritious benefits, so affordable options are available!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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