Superfoods are considered to be expensive due to their image. But the truth is that not all superfoods are expensive. If you choose superfoods like spirulina, acai berries, or goji berries, you will end up with a hole in the pocket. And that is not the kind of start we want in 2021. Incorporating superfoods into your everyday diet will enhance your immunity, mental health, and make you stronger. All you have to do is find inexpensive, local, and easily available foods. It is not a tiring task. Superfood is basically a marketing term for foods with exceptional nutrient density. If you are completely new to the idea, here are some easily available superfoods you must add to your diet in 2021.
Chia seeds are known to pack a bunch of nutrients and very few calories. This makes it one of the most popular affordable superfoods. Adding one serving of chia seeds to your breakfast, which is about 30 grams, will provide your body with calcium (18% of the RDI), manganese (30% of the RDI), magnesium (30% of the RDI), and phosphorus (27% of the RDI). It is also loaded with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. If you want more fibre, add a serving of flax seeds as well. They contain similar nutrients along with smaller amounts of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, folate, and good fats. Adding pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds into the mix once in a while is also good for your body.
Nuts are known to be full of good fats and vitamins. While you cannot eat a lot of nuts in a day, moderate consumption can help your cognitive health. Some of the healthiest nuts to try are almonds, pistachios, walnuts, brazil nuts, and cashews. Some nuts are expensive, but you will only be eating less than five of them in a day. It is better to stay away from peanuts because regular consumption may harm kidneys. Walnuts are especially great for your mental health.
There is no doubt that avocados are here to stay. This is a unique fruit brimming with carbs and healthy fats. It is also rich in nutrients like vitamin K (26% of the RDI), folate (20% of the RDI), vitamin C (17% of the RDI), potassium (14% of the RDI), and vitamin E (10% of the RDI). Being a carb friendly plant food, it is popular among vegans. Eating avocados 2-3 days a week will low cholesterol and triglyceride levels by 22% and 20%. This is a great find for someone living at risk of heart disease.
Broccoli is a widely available popular vegetable that can be enjoyed both raw and cooked. It is full of nutrients and antioxidants. Experts say that eating a serving of broccoli a few times a week will promote bone health and blood clotting due to the presence of vitamin K1. It is also rich in folate, potassium, manganese, and iron. However, broccoli has been placed on a pedestal due to the plant compounds like sulforaphane, indole-3-carbinol, carotenoids, kaempferol, and quercetin. Most of these lower the risk of cancer.
Quinoa is one of those foods that became popular in the past decade. It replaced rice and other grains because it is gluten-free. This modern grain is not only rich in fibre and antioxidants, but it also has all nine amino acids as well as manganese (58% of the RDI), magnesium (30% of the RDI), iron (15% of the RDI), potassium (9% of the RDI), phosphorus (28% of the RDI), and zinc (13% of the RDI). Many desi breakfast items and snacks like upma and poha can be prepared with quinoa. You can also make a scrumptious salad with it.
Beetroots are incredibly nutritious for something that consists of 87% of water. It is packed with essential nutrients like folate, manganese, potassium, iron, and vitamin C. The high content of inorganic nitrates in them imparts health benefits like improved blood flow, lower blood pressure, and increased endurance. It also contains plant compounds like betanin and vulgaxanthin. However, it is important that you buy organically grown beetroots to get these benefits.
Spinach is one of the most commonly grown leafy vegetables in India. As its dark green colour suggests, spinach is rich in iron. Other nutrients found in abundance are vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K1, folic acid, and calcium. It is also rich in insoluble fibre. Plant compounds found in spinach are great for your body's health. Some of the important ones are lutein (enhances eye health), kaempferol (lowers the risk of cancer), nitrates (improves heart health), quercetin (anti-inflammatory), and zeaxanthin (good for vision).
Wheatgrass is a superfood that you can easily grow at home and freshly harvest right before consuming. Wheatgrass is most popular for detoxing the body. It is high in antioxidants, chlorophyll, 17 amino acids, and nutrients like calcium and iron. Regular consumption of it will prevent cell damage caused by free radicals and lower oxidative stress. It will help the body to regulate cholesterol and blood sugar. Wheatgrass can also curb inflammation and help the digestive system. You must consume it in the morning on an empty stomach. It may take about a week for the body to adjust to the wheatgrass and overcome side effects like diarrhoea or nausea or headache.
These three ingredients are commonly used in Indian cuisine. Hence they are not popularly known as superfoods. However, all three of them possess the power to boost your immune system. The major component in ginger, gingerol, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Garlic contains a compound called allicin that can fight viruses causing flu and cold. The medicinal properties of curcumin, the major compound in turmeric is known to reduce pain and inflammation. Even if you are following a western diet, incorporating these ingredients into the salad dressing or smoothie or soups will strengthen the immune system.