So, what makes a food super? Not much. The bar is pretty low. Truthfully, “superfood” is little more than a term created by the food industry.
But that doesn’t mean the term is completely without merit. Any food that’s earned the title of “superfood” did so because it packs a major nutritional punch that may provide some health benefits. But the truth is that even many of the most humble foods contain phytonutrients with a long list of therapeutic and nutritional benefits.
Despite their title, superfoods aren’t magical. While some have anticancer properties, for example, they won’t cure cancer. In fact, these superfoods won’t even make a significant difference to your health if your overall diet and lifestyle are unhealthy. You can’t eat a few pomegranates to make up for eating fast food and sitting around all the time.
Superfoods generally get their title because they are high in antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radicals. Free radicals can damage your cells and boost the risk for conditions such as heart disease. Superfoods can’t cure the effects of cell oxidation, but they may limit the effect of free radical damage.
Another common feature of most superfoods is cost. They’re generally imported and expensive. So, are any of them worth the money? Are there alternatives? Let’s take a look.
Berries: Some berries are easily accessible and affordable. Raspberries and blueberries are both heavy hitters that are rich in antioxidants, fiber, and other nutrients that are associated with better health. Acai and goji berries are great, but good luck finding them for a reasonable price.
Chia seeds: Chia seeds are a versatile way to boost omega-3 fatty acid intake. They’re also higher in fiber than most other grains and feature a good protein profile for a plant-based food.
Hemp protein: Hemp protein, like quinoa, is one of the few plant-based complete proteins. That means it features all nine essential amino acids. It’s also a good source of fiber and important minerals like magnesium and potassium.
Garlic: Garlic is affordable, versatile, and rich in antioxidants that may help battle inflammation.
That’s just a small list of some common affordable superfoods that can help boost your diet. But the truth is if you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and regularly consuming a healthy diet, you’re probably already getting the benefits you seek.
Mat Lecompte is a health and wellness journalist. This article was first published on Bel Marra Health.