Quinoa. Cacao. Acai. Chia seeds. Goji berries. Spirulina.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that weird spellings (if in doubt, add vowels), expensive pricing and exotic homelands are all that’s required to transform a humble food into a SUPER-food. But in fact there’s a bit more to it. Even though there’s no scientific definition of the word, it’s generally accepted that a ‘superfood’ is exceptionally high in nutrients, particularly vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols.
And while the superfoods listed at the beginning of this article are jam-packed with nutrients, they’re in no way essential to a healthy and balanced diet – and often their price tag, and considerable risk of mispronunciation, tends to spark a groan from those around them.
Instead, check out my favourite ‘everyday superfoods’ as a cheaper alternative.
Cheap. Vegan-friendly. High in protein, fibre and complex carbohydrates. Cheap. Good plant-based sources of magnesium and iron. Did we say cheap? Beans really are nutritional powerhouses. On top of that, they go with everything. Throw them in salads, mix them through beef mince, mash them and mix them with herbs and spices for a healthy dip – it’s all good! Some people may find the raffinose (a carbohydrate present in all beans) can cause some bloating and discomfort, so start with small servings and listen to your body.
Except for the three weeks of the year where fresh blueberries are actually affordable, frozen blueberries are where it’s at. Blueberries (fresh or frozen) are jam-packed with fibre, vitamin C and other antioxidants, and are surprisingly low in calories. On top of this, the compound that gives them their blue colour (anthocyanin) may help improve memory and cognitive function.
Have you ever sat and stared at your eggs before eating them, marvelling at the incredible little parcel of nutrition they are? No, just me then?
The protein in egg whites has the highest biological value out of any whole food. The higher this biological value, the better it is absorbed and utilised by the body. Therefore egg whites = bigger guns and/or booty – Take your pick!
Egg yolks aren’t bad either, they’re loaded with good fats and fat-soluble vitamins – and dietary fat actually helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins. So basically, there are these things in egg yolks that actually help you absorb all of the other nutrients in the egg yolks. How’s that for teamwork?
As the ugly step sister of kale, baby spinach doesn’t seem to get the love that it used to. This is a shame, as it more than holds its own in a head-to-head match-up. Kale wins on fibre and vitamin C, but baby spinach has more magnesium and iron. It also doesn’t taste like trash, so there’s that. Use it in salads, toss it through pasta to look like you know what you’re doing in the kitchen, or hide it in smoothies.
So there you have it! some ‘everyday superfoods’ that may not sound as impressive as an acai bowl, but they’ll save the bank every time!
If you’re keen to check out some other funky foods, ever tried bugs? We have! Plus, there’s more than one way to shake up your protein intake so try these unique recipes and mix up your daily intake today.