In the last couple of years, the term "superfood" has gained increasing amounts of popularity. Trendy products like acai, wheatgrass, kefir and goji berries promise health, wellness and extreme weight loss. Consequently, companies bank on these exaggerated claims by slapping on a hefty price tag. While these overrated foods do reap a number of benefits, they are certainly not the only means to better health.
First, there is no evidence that eating these foods will instantly result in weight loss, reduce cancer risk, boost brainpower or increase fitness levels, at least not singlehandedly. Second, eating healthily doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg. By definition any food that contains a broad range of nutrients deserves the "superfood" status. We are surrounded by superfoods, but we just don't realise that's what they are. So before you shell out your hard-earned cash on trendy overpriced foods, go back to the basics and stock up on ingredients that tend to be overlooked despite their impressive nutritional content.
One egg contains a mere 70 calories but this brunch favourite is a rich source of protein and packs in essential nutrients including vitamin B12, selenium and choline. Although often shunned for their cholesterol content, egg yolks are actually one of the few natural foods that contain vitamin D.
Grains are among the cheapest, yet most nutrient-dense foods available. As oats are 100% whole grain, they rack in a variety of vitamins and minerals including manganese, copper, B-vitamins and chromium. Given their rich content of soluble and insoluble fibre, regular consumption of oats can help treat diabetes, lower LDL cholesterol levels, boost weight loss and improve digestive health.
There's some truth to the old saying, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." Apples are loaded with the powerful antioxidants quercetin and catechin, which protect cells from damage. That translates into a reduced risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, especially if you eat the skin.
Although hummus tends to be the chickpea's claim to fame, its nutritional profile surely deserves a mention. As one of the richest sources of amino acids tryptophan and serotonin, chickpeas could regulate your mood and sleep. They are also a fantastic source of plant-based iron, which is necessary for vegetarians and/or pregnant women.
While these natural superfoods may not exactly be buzz-worthy, they all offer plenty of essential nutrients at an affordable cost. More than concentrating on individual foods, start eating a "super diet". Aim to fill your diet with nutrient-dense foods in order to allow the nutrients to work together synergistically and ultimately create a super you!
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