Acai, quinoa, goji berries, bee pollen, chia: you might not know what they actually are, but chances are you’ve heard them bandied about as the bold new face of superfoods. But are they all that?
These exotic products do pack a nutritional punch – and they also come with a heart-stopping price tag. So, if you don’t want to shell out for superfoods, are you missing out?
“If you don’t have the finances to splurge on some of these trendy superfoods, you can get plenty of the same nutrition from commonplace foods,” says 12WBT nutritionist Lisa Donaldson.
Here are Lisa’s top picks for super products you’ll find in the humble grocery aisle:
• Sardines are super cheap and a rich source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, says Lisa. These fatty acids are powerful anti-inflammatories that help keep your heart healthy. “Sardines are delicious served on wholegrain toast with tomato and pepper,” Lisa adds.
• Blueberries have one of the highest anti-oxidant contents of all fruits and veggies, containing both cancer-fighting anthocyanins and memory-boosting flavonoids. “Use frozen blueberries with skim milk and natural yoghurt for a fabulous protein-packed smoothie,” Lisa suggests. As a bonus, blueberries help fight signs of premature ageing.
• The humble egg contains 11 vitamins and minerals, and nature’s perfect protein-heavy snack keeps you fuller for longer. Don’t be afraid of the yolk – it contains choline, which is thought to help prevent age-related memory loss.
• Avocados aren’t just delicious, they’re packed with stress-busting B vitamins, help lower bad cholesterol, raise good cholesterol and keep you full with their high healthy-fat content.
• “Broccoli is one of my favourite foods – it’s a green dream,” says Lisa. “It’s packed with multi-tasking folic acid, immune-boosting vitamin C and cancer-fighting carotenoids. Broccoli is a perfect dinner vegetable that can be added to stir-fries and curries or you can enjoy it simply steamed.”
• Kick anxiety and stress to the kerb with mushrooms – they’re a good source of B vitamins, as well as cholesterol-lowering beta-glucan. Bonus: they help boost disease-fighting white blood cells.
• With as much as 300mg of calcium per 250ml serving, skim milk is the ultimate bone-building food. “It’s an excellent, fat-free rehydrator and also contains leucine, a powerful amino acid that helps repair and replenish muscles after exercise,” says Lisa.
• Comforting sweet potatoes make you feel good. They help increase the happy-mood chemical serotonin, and they’re low-GI to boot.
Lisa’s Budget-Smart Swaps
Instead of: A bowl of quinoa porridge with acai berries, chia seeds, coconut yoghurt and almond milk.
Try: A bowl of rolled oats with blueberries, crushed almonds, natural yoghurt and skim milk.
Instead of: An organic gluten-free wrap with curly kale, golden grape tomatoes, kangaroo prosciutto with tapenade spread.
Try: A wholegrain mountain bread wrap with baby spinach, beetroot, tomato, grated carrot, lean turkey and a spread of avocado.
Instead of: A grilled piece of organically farmed game meat with broccolini, purple cauliflower, fennel and adzuki bean mash.
Try: A grilled salmon steak with broccoli, corn, beans and sweet potato mash.
Instead of: A cup of coconut yoghurt with chia seeds and dried goji berries, and one cup of organic kale chips.
Try: A cup of strawberries with a generous dollop of natural yoghurt, and one cup of air-popped popcorn