I feel like people think of superfoods and imagine a wealthy housewife’s cupboards overflowing with Himalayan goji berries and exotic powders that get mixed into fat-burning, wrinkle melting smoothies. In fact, there are foods just about anyone can afford who’s benefits have somehow been tossed aside by all this new-wave health stuff. Here are some inexpensive common superfoods that you should pick up today:
Bananas ($0.25/each): These delicious, easy transportable goodies have a ton of fiber and potassium, making them perfect for a pre or post work-out snack. They get a bad rap because they’re high in sugar, but this is a much better sweet snack then any other cheap quick food item you pick up on the go.
Eggs (about $3.50 for a dozen organic): I personally love eggs because they are so easy to make, and you can eat them in so many different ways. They are super inexpensive and a great source of protein. Although eggs have been blasted in the past for having high cholesterol – eggs actually raise HDL (the good) cholesterol, and have been linked to heart health and fat loss. Eggs also contain large amounts of the antioxidants Lutein and Zeaxanthine, which dramatically lower your risk of age-related eye disorders.
Carrots ($1 for a bunch): Buying a bag of regular carrots usually costs around $1, and you can cut them up into easy to eat snacks – shred them into salads and cook them as a side dish for dinner. Carrots have a ton of beta-carotene, a pigment that converts vitamin A in the body and helps improve vision. The beta carotene in carrots is also an antioxidant that can help reduce the risk of certain cancers. In addition to the beta carotene, carrots are a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin C.
Apples (about $1/each for organic): Although the organic version is much more expensive, apples are important to buy pesticide-free. This is my absolute favorite snack, because it’s sweet and easy to carry around with me all day. Apples contain phytochemicals, which destroy the free radicals that can cause disease and signs of aging. If that’s not enough to reach for one, apples also contain flavonoids and pectin, which may help reduce the risk of heart attack by lowering cholesterol.
Sweet Potatoes (about $.30/lb): Potatoes are well known as the poor mans food because of their super low price. They may be a starch, which people watching their weight may run from – but preparing them without a bunch of salt and butter and being sure to also eat the nutrient-dense skin means you’ll get a ton of fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, potassium and manganese. Bonus is that studies have shown it also neutralizes wrinkle and sun spot-spurring damage from the sun and helps generate new, healthy glowing skin cells – sign me up.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa & about $1.50/lb): This super grain is a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids. It also contains large amounts of iron, potassium, calcium and dietary fiber. I have no idea why it took us so long to catch on to this amazing little superfood which goes great cold in salads and makes an amazing side dish warm.
Broccoli (about $3/bunch): This amazing and delicious gem is available all year long. It’s a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K, and has plenty of fiber to fill you up and help control your weight. You may want to pick up some gas-ex or go home alone after eating too much of it, though.
Beans (black beans $1.75/lb): The more you eat, the more you… lower cholesterol? Loaded with insoluble as well as soluble fiber, which fills you up and helps rid your body of waste – these are another big overlooked superfood. They’re a good, low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium and potassium. Nutritionists favor edamame (whole soybeans) because they also contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. If you absolutely have to buy the canned variety – make sure you choose a low sodium option – too much sodium will not help you look good in a bikini (or speedo).
What are you waiting for? Go pick up these amazing inexpensive superfoods that will keep you looking and feeling great (even if you’re broke).