Get superfoods in your diet without draining the bank, with these 10 everyday items you can afford.
Rolled oats are one of the cheapest, healthiest breakfasts around. They are rich in beta-glucans, a type of soluble fiber that helps lower your “bad” LDL cholesterol.
Black beans get their color from anthocyanins — the same phytochemicals that make blueberries blue, and that are good for your heart. Black beans are also an amazing way to get both lean protein and fiber in your diet, making them a superfood for your heart.
Don’t knock the staples of the produce section. Oranges are a standout fruit, offering 100 percent of the vitamin C you need in a single serving. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, one that’s good for your heart as well as your skin.
Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli and bok choy have lots of carotenoids (which help ward off age-related macular degeneration), plus vitamins C, E, K and folate, and fiber. They also have glucosinates, which are compounds that are being studied for their cancer-preventing effects.
You know that salmon is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (the fats that are linked to brain and heart health), but tuna is another good option, and it won’t break the bank. Opt for light tuna — the smaller skipjack tuna fish used in these cans has less mercury than white albacore tuna.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is a good adage for overall health. In addition to having lots of cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber, apples also contain quercetin — a phytochemical that acts as an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory and may help lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.
While nuts like walnuts and almonds get a lot of the health hype, peanuts — which are nutlike legumes — offer many of the same benefits. They’re a great plant protein (swapping animal proteins for plant proteins can be good for your heart), and are also full of healthy fats and fiber.
Probiotics — those “friendly” bacteria that help keep your gut healthy and improve immunity — are one of the best things about plain yogurt. Calcium, potassium and protein round out the benefits, making yogurt a must-have for your fridge.
While fresh herbs are great for flavor, buying whole bunches can add up. Fortunately, dried herbs deliver the same great flavor plus concentrated nutrition. Dried thyme, parsley, mint and marjoram pack a lot of iron and vitamin K in their fragrant leaves.
Brewed coffee is rich in antioxidants and potassium, and it’s linked to lots of health benefits, including lowered rates of stroke, diabetes and dementia. Of course, you can negate a lot of those benefits by ordering coffee drinks that are more “cake in a cup” than superfood, so drink it black for the biggest boons.
By Kerri-Ann Jennings, M.S., R.D.
© 2015 Television Food Network G.P.