Superfoods are the hottest ticket in your quest for health. But what is a superfood? According to Google, a superfood is “a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being.”
So quinoa, raw cacao, acai berries, kale, goji berries, and spirulina are the only superfoods – right? All of these foods are, in fact, incredibly nutrient-dense and good for the body, but they usually come with a hefty price tag thanks to food companies being able to toss the ‘superfood’ label on the front of packages. The word ‘superfood’ has become synonymous with overpriced foods, so we wanted to give you a list of 10 undercover superfoods you may already have in your fridge or pantry and that won’t run your wallet too thin.
Eggs truly are little powerhouses when it comes to their nutritional value. One single egg contains 6% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin A, 15% of the RDA of riboflavin (vitamin B2), 9% of vitamin B12, and they also contain calcium, choline, selenium, folate and potassium. Eat your eggs! Remember: pastured, fresh eggs from free-roaming chickens have an entirely different nutrient profile than generic eggs, or even free-range eggs! Look for the ‘pastured’ label. The yolks should be a deep orange, and the outer shells might vary in colour, too. These are an incredible source of omega-3 fatty acids to keep your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio in check. Plus, the taste is out of this world!
Sounds silly categorising simple water as a superfood – right? Well, at the end of the day, we’ve gotta give props to the stuff! Fun fact: water is THE most common nutrient deficiency. If you’re looking to take your health and nutrition to the next level, getting your hydration levels on point is a fabulous starting point. It is cheap, easy and we are made up of water, so we need to be hydrated if we want our body to function properly. Proper hydration ensures our organs are functioning to their full capacity, it keeps our joints lubricated for more efficient movement and less pain overall, it fills us up, it aids the body in detox, and it helps us prevent dehydration symptoms like headache, fatigue, dry skin, and more.
Broccoli contains phytochemicals such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol which help to keep your liver detox systems ticking along nicely. When our liver is working right, our body can properly flush out the ‘bad’ stuff. As little as half a cup of broccoli contains 56% of the RDA for vitamin K and a whopping 65% of the RDA for vitamin C. Broccoli’s many minerals include calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. Plus, it’s a good source of folate. Finally, it’s fibrous which helps keep us full for longer, and keeps things moving smoothly in the digestive system. Broccoli really is a little hidden superfood in your fridge!
Pot set yoghurt
Fermented foods are ALL superfoods if you ask us here at Happy Body Formula. The good bacteria is a cornerstone of proper gut health which impacts everything from digestion to mood balance. Yoghurt is a great way to get additional nutrients and probiotics in your diet if you can tolerate dairy. Make sure to buy yoghurt that is ‘pot set’ – this means that the yoghurt has been allowed to naturally ferment in the pot, which produces the highest count of beneficial bacteria. Don’t fall in the trap of buying the ones that are loaded with sugar and flavours! Stick to a natural flavour and add your own berries and a little honey if you need some sweetener. One cup of natural yoghurt can contain 30% of the RDA for calcium and 20% of the RDA for vitamin B2! If you’re feeling brave, try out making your own at home with some quality probiotics for a starter.
Don’t discount your regular old little tomato in the superfood stakes! Tomatoes are a great source of vitamin C and cooked tomatoes are a particularly good source of lycopene, which is a brilliant antioxidant, and arguably the most powerful of the carotenoids. One single cup of cooked tomatoes will give you 91% of the RDA for vitamin C! They are also a good source of vitamin A. Try to use tomatoes when they’re in season as both nutrient profile and taste profile is better. Check out this sheet pan meal featuring spiced cod, brussels sprouts, and blistered cherry tomatoes.
Who has a tin of sardines hiding in the back of the pantry? I know we always did when I was growing up as a kid. If you haven’t given ’em a shot since childhood, don’t be put off! Sardines are a fabulous source of the beneficial omega 3’s – EPA and DHA. EPA and DHA are considered essential fatty acids because the human body cannot produce them. They are an essential component in cell membranes, promote a healthy immune response, and regulate inflammation. Tinned sardines are also a rather rare food source of vitamin D, and a single 92 gram tin has 63% of the RDA for vitamin D! Besides sunshine, this might be the best way to get your vitamin D levels up – a very common deficiency!
Beef and liver
Beef and liver are great sources of zinc. Zinc is essential to the body and is used in over 200 enzymatic reactions. If you want to have good health, make sure you are getting adequate levels of zinc as it is needed for everything from good digestion to glowing skin. A tiny 100 grams of beef will give you 26% of the RDA for zinc. Moreover, they’re both good sources of iron! Finally, grass-fed beef and liver both contain a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids – a very important “forgotten” nutrient. When it comes to omega-3s, it’s all about balance and quality over quantity. Make sure you choose grass-fed AND finished beef, as its nutrient profile is far more impressive than conventional beef. That’s where its superfood status stems from!
Fresh and dried herbs
Don’t underestimate herbs as a superfood! They contain large amounts of phytochemicals such as caroteniods, which help to boost the immune system. They are also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals – particularly vitamin A and C and manganese. Dried herbs will also add a little extra calcium to your diet. Herb gardens require little space, effort, and money to begin. Take advantage of the warmer months and grow your own. You can easily blend them into olive oil and freeze in ice cube trays for easy, off-season use, or dry your own to bottle up. Fresh herbs are tastier and more nutritious than old herbs. Clean out the spice cabinet and keep it stocked with new herbs to get the most bang for your buck!
Foods like garlic (and onion) are rich in sulphur which helps to keep your liver in top shape and assists your phase II liver detox pathway. Garlic also contains allicin which has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Get some garlic regularly in your diet if you want to keep the colds at bay and boost your immune system. In fact, one of the best immediate remedies for a sore throat or respiratory infection is a raw clove of garlic. Skip the harsh cough medicine for this bitter ‘pill.’
Lemon is such a versatile food in the kitchen and it also has some impressive nutritional properties. One lemon contains 139% of the RDA for vitamin C and good levels of calcium, copper and vitamin B6. Lemon juice in water is a perfect way to start the morning before breakfast to get the digestive juices going – and this way you are getting two superfoods at once! Skip OJ for a fresh squeeze of lemon in the AM and forgo the sugar rush. In fact, this is one of the most important healthy habits we stress in our 30-day Happy Body Formula program!
The point of this little exercise is to show you the nutritional power of all healthy whole foods. You don’t need to buy expensive hip foods to obtain good health – just stick to the real, whole foods. They are all superfoods in their own right and you can be eating them every day. Share this blog post on Pinterest from here.