Superfoods are foods that are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can benefit your health in various ways. However, many superfoods are also expensive and hard to find, especially in developing countries. Fortunately, there are some affordable superfoods that you can easily add to your diet without breaking the bank. Here are 12 of them:
Pulses are the edible seeds of legumes, such as beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas. They are high in protein, fiber, and minerals, and can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels. They can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Pulses are versatile and can be used in soups, salads, curries, burgers, and more. A can of chickpeas costs around 80 cents and can provide you with 15 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
Mushrooms are not only delicious but also nutritious. They contain selenium, niacin, copper, and vitamin D, which are essential for your immune system, nervous system, and bone health. They also have a unique antioxidant called ergothioneine, which may protect against aging, inflammation, and neurodegenerative diseases. Mushrooms can be used to replace or complement meat in dishes like stir-fries, pasta, pizza, and burgers. An 8-ounce package of button mushrooms costs around $2 and can give you 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
Eggs are one of the most complete sources of protein, as they contain all nine essential amino acids. They also provide choline, iodine, iron, and lutein, which are important for your brain, thyroid, blood, and eyes. Eggs can be cooked in various ways, such as boiled, scrambled, poached, or baked. They can also be added to sandwiches, salads, wraps, and casseroles. A dozen eggs costs around $1.50 and can supply you with 72 grams of protein and 12 grams of healthy fats.
Pork is often overlooked as a superfood, but it is actually leaner and more nutrient-dense than many other meats. It is rich in protein, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and selenium, which support your muscle growth, energy production, immune function, and thyroid health. Pork can be prepared in different ways, such as roasted, grilled, fried, or stewed. It can also be used to make sausages, bacon, ham, and ribs. A pound of pork loin costs around $3 and can offer you 112 grams of protein and 16 grams of fat.
Watercress is a leafy green vegetable that has a peppery taste and a crunchy texture. It is loaded with vitamin K, vitamin C, calcium, and antioxidants, which help strengthen your bones, skin, teeth, and immunity. It also has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and detoxifying properties. Watercress can be eaten raw or cooked, and can be added to salads, sandwiches, soups, and smoothies. A bunch of watercress costs around $1 and can provide you with 4 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber.
Oats are one of the best sources of soluble fiber, which can lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels. They also contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that boosts your immune system and fights infections. Oats are rich in magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and zinc, which are essential for your metabolism, nerves, bones, and immunity. Oats can be eaten as oatmeal, granola, muffins, or cookies. A pound of oats costs around $1 and can give you 68 grams of protein and 40 grams of fiber.
Yogurt is a fermented dairy product that contains probiotics, live bacteria that improve your gut health and digestion. They also enhance your immune system and protect against infections. Yogurt is high in protein, calcium, potassium, and vitamin B12, which support your muscle growth, bone health, blood pressure regulation, and nerve function. Yogurt can be eaten plain or flavored, or mixed with fruits, nuts, seeds, or honey. A quart of yogurt costs around $2 and can supply you with 44 grams of protein and 16 grams of calcium.
Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in the world and for good reasons. They are sweet, filling, and convenient to eat. They are also packed with potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, which help regulate your heartbeat, boost your immunity, promote bowel movements, and fight free radicals. Bananas can be eaten as a snack or dessert, or added to smoothies, cereals, pancakes, or breads. A pound of bananas costs around 50 cents and can provide you with 4 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
Cabbage is a cruciferous vegetable that belongs to the same family as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale. It is low in calories but high in vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and antioxidants, which help protect your cells, blood clotting, DNA synthesis, and cancer prevention. It also contains glucosinolates, compounds that have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying effects. Cabbage can be eaten raw or cooked, and can be used to make salads, coleslaw, sauerkraut, or kimchi. A head of cabbage costs around $1 and can offer you 8 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber.
Carrots are root vegetables that have a sweet and crunchy taste. They are famous for their high content of beta-carotene, a pigment that converts into vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is vital for your vision, skin, mucous membranes, and immunity. Carrots also contain vitamin C, vitamin K, fiber, and antioxidants, which help support your overall health and prevent oxidative stress. Carrots can be eaten raw or cooked, and can be added to salads, soups, stews, or cakes. A pound of carrots costs around 70 cents and can give you 4 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber.
Sunflower seeds are the edible kernels of sunflower plants. They are crunchy and nutty and can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, granola, bread, or trail mix. They are rich in protein, healthy fats, vitamin E, selenium, and magnesium, which help build your muscles, lower your cholesterol, protect your cells, boost your immunity, and relax your muscles. Sunflower seeds also contain phytosterols, plant compounds that can lower blood pressure and improve heart health. A quarter cup of sunflower seeds costs around 50 cents and can provide you with 7 grams of protein and 14 grams of fat.
Dark chocolate is not only a delicious treat but also a superfood. It is made from cocoa beans, which are high in flavonoids, antioxidants that improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and protect your brain. Dark chocolate also contains iron, magnesium, copper, and manganese, which are important for your blood, bones, nerves, and metabolism. Dark chocolate can be eaten as a dessert or mixed with nuts, fruits, or yogurt. An ounce of dark chocolate costs around $1 and can offer you 2 grams of protein and 9 grams of fat.
These are some of the affordable superfoods that you can add to your diet to improve your health and well-being. They are easy to find, cheap to buy, and delicious to eat. Try to include them in your daily meals and snacks and enjoy their benefits.