When we think of superfoods, it tends to be in the context of celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow (and her lifestyle website Goop), or expensive smoothie mixes that claim to enhance everything from sex life to skin. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune when it comes to superfoods, as some of the best, and most effective, are right under your nose every time you go to the supermarket.
One of the cheapest of superfoods, peanut butter is packed full of resveratrol, which is a plant compound that has impressive anti ageing properties. Research has also shown that peanut butter could have a part to play in reducing insulin sensitivity too. Eat it off a teaspoon or spread it onto your favourite toasted bread.
When it comes to fish, it’s normally salmon that gets all the superfoods press but salmon can be pricey to buy. Anchovies are also cold water, fatty fish that contain similarly high levels of good Omega-3 fats and are much cheaper and, arguably, easier to cook with too. Just make sure you buy them in a jar or a pouch rather than a can (which can have dangerous chemicals in the lining). Add to salads and sauces or simply eat straight from the jar on a piece of toast.
It’s a spice that most of us have just sitting around and pay very little attention to but cinnamon is comparative to (much more expensive) dark chocolate when it comes to antioxidant rich polyphenols. It’s particularly good for sufferers of Type II Diabetes as it can be an effective way to lower glucose and lipids levels. Sprinkle over your morning coffee or an indulgent hot chocolate for a delicious and super healthy treat.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and getting more of this nutrient is one of the reasons why we are always being told to eat more greens such as baby spinach. However, spinach can be pricey so if you’re looking for a vitamin E boost take a look at the (cheaper) wheatgerm instead. Wheatgerm has even higher levels of Vitamin E, great for boosting your immune system and keeping skin glowing. Sprinkle it over your muesli or, if you don’t like that taste, add it to anything that requires a crust such as macaroni cheese or lasagne.
Eggs are an immense source of protein and one of the cheapest superfoods on the supermarket shelves. If you can’t afford to splash out on something like chia seeds (one of the current superfoods trending for protein building) then eggs are a great alternative. The protein in eggs will help you build muscle, fill you up and at least half the fat in eggs comes from heart healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids – plus they taste pretty fantastic too. One egg a day is considered to be a healthy intake. Soft boil and enjoy with soldiers or hard boil and add to a salad.
Quinoa has been hailed as the superfood source for fibre and slow release energy but it’s a pricey option for anyone on a budget. Coming in at a much lower price, but with excellent levels of fibre and complex carbohydrates that will help keep you fuller – and more energy filled – for longer, are sweet potatoes. These veges are also packed with beta-carotene (which you can see in the bright orange colour) and this is great for helping boost skin protection from UV rays. Use them as a topping for a shepherd’s pie instead of regular potatoes, bake them into brownies or simply roast and enjoy with soured cream.
You might associate green tea with healthy superfoods more than your average Java but actually both have a pretty significant serving of polyphenols – which help prevent degenerative and cardiovascular disease. Plus, a daily dose of coffee costs less than green tea. Just be careful to watch what you add to the coffee – avoid the sugary syrups and whipped cream if you don’t want to outweigh the health benefits. Add a splash of milk for the best results and don’t drink more than a couple of cups a day.
Sauerkraut is essentially fermented cabbage, which doesn’t sound appealing, but is actually rather tasty. Plus, it provides a huge serving of probiotics, which help to keep your digestion healthy and gives your immune system a boost, particularly in winter weather. Best of all, sauerkraut is significantly cheaper than drinks that are marketed as probiotics. Enjoy as part of one of Germany’s favourite dishes with a delicious, meaty frankfurter!
Alex Hartley is a keen advocate of improving personal finance skills. She's worked at Solution Loans since 2014 and written hundreds of articles about how people can manage their money better. Her interest in personal finance goes way back to...Read more about Alex Hartley