There’s a lot of debate over the best superfoods on the market, but many of these foods are quite pricey. For example, pomegranates and pomegranate juice can get pretty expensive, especially if you want to consume them on a regular basis. Fortunately, there are still ways to boost your immune system and improve your overall health on a budget with cheap and healthy foods that are actually superfoods.
Get ready for a lot of information about good nutrition, and maintaining a healthy body for the long-term with some seriously cheap and healthy foods! From fruits and vegetables to whole grains, nuts, beans, and legumes, this power-packed nutritional inventory will take you into the best years of your life and beyond!
So, here is our list of the top ten cheap & healthy super foods that health experts agree on! And Guess what, each of them costs less than 50 cents per oz!
Not all fruits qualify as cheap superfoods, but cantaloupe is definitely an affordable superfood that has dozens of health benefits. Only a quarter of cantaloupe provides almost all the vitamin A you need in a day. Since the beta-carotene in a cantaloupe converts to vitamin A, you get both nutrients at once. These vision-strengthening nutrients may help reduce the risk of developing cataracts.
Like an orange, cantaloupe is an excellent source of vitamin C, which helps our immune system. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, folate, niacin, and potassium, which help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and metabolism. This power fruit may also reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and cancer. As you can see, cheap foods can’t get much more efficient than cantaloupe!
These mildly sweet (and sometimes tangy) berries have the capacity to destroy free radicals that cause cancer. Low in calories, blueberries offer antioxidant phytonutrients called anthocyanidins, which enhance the effects of vitamin C. Blueberries may help prevent cataracts, glaucoma, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, peptic ulcers, heart disease, and cancer.
Tomatoes help us fight heart disease and cancers like colorectal, prostate, breast, endometrial, lung, and pancreas. They are also good sources of vitamin C, A, and K. In a 2004 study, it was found that tomato juice alone can help reduce blood clotting. However, if you’re looking for tomatoes as superfood, always go organic.
Fresh, organic tomatoes deliver a huge supply of the cancer-fighting carotenoid lycopene. If you’re not a fan of tomatoes, even organic ketchup is better for you than regular ketchup (though it doesn’t make the list of superfoods)! Look for tomato pastes and sauces that contain the whole tomato (including peels), because you will absorb 75% more lycopene and almost two times the amount of beta-carotene.
These cheap and really healthy foods are an excellent source of vitamin, A, C, and manganese. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium, and iron. Smokers may benefit from this root vegetable as well, as it helps protect against emphysema.
For a unique dessert, cube a cooked sweet potato and slice a banana. Then pour maple syrup over the top and add a dash of cinnamon. You can add chopped walnuts for an even healthier kick! Remember, cheap foods can be healthy and tasty at the same time!
Spinach and Kale
As cancer-fighters, spinach and kale top the list as far as green leafy vegetables that double as cheap and healthy foods. Much like broccoli, they provide an excellent source of vitamin A and C. Kale is a great source of calcium at 25% per cup (boiled). Vitamin K is abundant in spinach as well, with almost 200% of the recommended daily value.
Whole Wheat Bread
For example, look for the exact phrase “whole wheat flour” as one of the first ingredients listed in whole wheat bread. If it’s not listed as such, then it’s not whole grain. Wheat bran is a cancer-fighting grain that also helps us regulate our bowel movements, so it should always be on your list of cheap superfoods.
Whether it’s bread or rice, you need to make sure that you’re buying 100% whole grain products. They won’t count as cheap or superfoods if they’re processed! Remember to check the list of ingredients on the package before making any purchases.
Brown rice is a better choice than refined grain (white rice) for the same reasons. The process of turning whole wheat flour or rice into white flour or white rice actually destroys 50-90% of vitamin B3, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese, phosphorus, iron, and dietary fiber.
Even when processed white flour or white rice is “enriched,” it is not in the same form as the original unprocessed kind. In fact, 11 nutrients are actually lost and are not replaced during the “enrichment” process! Don’t let clever marketing fool you. To get the best nutrition, you should always read the ingredients and packaging carefully.
In other words, white flour and white rice are neither cheap, nor superfoods while brown flour and brown rice are both cheap and superfoods.
Walnuts are packed with omega-3 fats, which are some of the “good” fats. A quarter cup of walnuts would take care of about 90% of the omega-3s needed in one day. Walnuts provide many other health benefits including cardiovascular protection, improved cognitive function, and anti-inflammatory. They can even help the fight against cancer and support the immune system.
Black Beans and Lentils
While black beans are a good source of fiber that can lower cholesterol, so are lentils. The high fiber content in both black beans and lentils helps maintain blood sugar levels. Also, they offer a fat-free source of high-quality protein. With additional minerals and B-vitamins, black beans and lentils actually fill you up but don’t expand your waistline.
A complete, one-stop source of superfoods comes when you buy a 15-bean mix bag (these include black beans, lentils, navy, pinto, red, kidney, etc). Consider making a delicious soup with the addition of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and your favorite spices!
Skim milk (or low-fat milk) helps promote strong bones, offering an excellent source of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin K. These nutrients help protect colon cells from cancer-causing chemicals. They also reduce bone loss, migraine headaches, premenstrual symptoms, and childhood obesity. Recent studies also show that overweight adults lose weight, especially in the midsection, when consuming low-fat dairy products like skim milk and yogurt.
Yogurt includes a few essential nutrients like phosphorous and vitamin B2, vitamin B12, vitamin B5, zinc, potassium, and protein. Yogurt’s live bacterial cultures also provide a wealth of benefits that may help us live longer and strengthen our immune system. In short, yogurt should be on everyone’s superfoods list!
Salmon, often considered one of the best superfoods if not the best is certainly not the cheapest superfood on this list. But it can be affordable if you buy in larger quantities. Salmon is high in protein, low in saturated fat, and high in omega-3 fats (the essential fatty acids found in the walnuts we mentioned earlier). Salmon is a heart-healthy food and is recommended to eat at least twice a week. It is also a great protein replacement for red meat.
When choosing fish, it’s best to stay away from farm-raised fish. Research shows that farmed salmon may cause cancer because it can carry high levels of chemicals known as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). So, choose wild salmon as part of your cheap healthy diet!
As you can see, the top ten cheap superfoods are worth every bite (or sip). Despite the “Cheap” tag, these foods can greatly improve your health. Now that you know which foods can help save your life, what are you waiting for? Make a quick trip to the grocery store and start working on a healthier lifestyle for the long-term!