So you want to eat healthy but the acai berry is just too expensive. I agree! Honestly, there are plenty of nutrient-dense “superfoods” out there that don’t require you going broke. We try eating all of these foods every week.
Here are my top 7 low cost superfoods -
1. Eggs | Cost: $0.66/serving (2 eggs)
When eating an egg, eat the whole egg, especially the yolk. Egg yolks are one of the most nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich and vitamin-laden foods on the planet!
Egg yolks are high in calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, thiamin, B12, folate, pantothenic acid and B6. In addition the yolk contains magnesium, all of the fat-soluble components, such as vitamins A, D and E, and the heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
Egg yolks are also high in choline, an essential nutrient for cardiovascular and brain function. Including eggs in your diet can reduce inflammation, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimers, and more.
Egg whites have nutritional value too. They are rich in protein and are an energy-sustaining food that helps stave off fatigue and hunger.
As mentioned in a previous post, go for pastured eggs, which have been shown to contain up to 19 times more omega-3 fatty acids than supermarket eggs! Organic is your second best option.
2. Lemon | Cost: less than $1/lemon
Not only are these loaded with the immune-boosting vitamin C (1, 2), they’re low in fructose, the sugar that you want to minimize because when consumed in excess, it can damage your liver and make you overweight. Plus, there’s no need to buy organic.
The citrus flavonols found in lemons may also help aid digestion and cleanse the liver. (3)
The vitamin C in lemons demonstrate anti-inflammatory effects, and can be used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms. (4, 5) Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant (link), which combats free radicals that are responsible for early aging, such as wrinkles and damage to the skin. Vitamin C also enhances iron absorption in the body which plays an important role in immune function. (6)
3. Sardines | Cost: $2/serving (1 can)
Where do I start? Not only are sardines high in calcium, phosphorous, have more iron than spinach, more potassium than coconut water and bananas, but they also have as much protein as steak. They’re a great source for omega-3s, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and selenium. They also contain Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10), which is a potent antioxidant and supports the immune system.
And it goes beyond nutrition. They have a long shelf-life, are usually sustainable, wild-caught and are low in mercury and other heavy metals. Plus, they taste good on salads. Get all this for less than $2 a can!
4. Beef Liver (Grass-Fed) | Cost: $1.00/serving (4 oz.)
Liver is considered the multivitamin of food. It is loaded with a broad-spectrum of nutrients, many that are difficult to get elsewhere. Organ meats in general are between 10 and 100 times higher in nutrients than typical muscle meats. In fact, beef liver has exceedingly higher levels of nutrients than apples and carrots.
It’s important to go with grass-fed/pastured rather than commercially-raised cows which are much higher in nutrients than cows that come from commercial feedlots. Additionally, hormones, antibiotics and commercial GMO feed are typically avoided with grass-fed cows.
Many people believe that the liver stores a lot of toxins but Chris Kresser, L Ac. reveals that “While it is true that one of the liver’s role is to neutralize toxins (such as drugs, chemical agents and poisons), it does not store these toxins. Toxins the body cannot eliminate are likely to accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues and nervous systems. On the other hand, the liver is a storage organ for many important nutrients (vitamins A, D, E, K, B12 and folic acid, and minerals such as copper and iron). These nutrients provide the body with some of the tools it needs to get rid of toxins.”
Liver may seem gross to some people, but if prepared right, you can hardly notice its distinct flavor. We like to grind a little bit of it up and add it to ground beef. Marinate it in lemon juice for 20-30 minutes for a milder taste.
5. Himalayan Sea Salt | Cost: $4/18oz. bag
Typical table salt is "chemically cleaned" sodium chloride – really a chemical rather than a food, void of the vital trace minerals naturally present in salt. And it’s found in abundance in almost all processed food.
Himalayan sea salt, also known as “white gold”, is probably the purest salt available on earth because it is uncontaminated by toxins or pollutants and free of bleaches and chemical additives. It contains 84 minerals and trace elements, including potassium, calcium and magnesium.
The benefits of Himalayan sea salt include:
1. Sleep regulation
2. Prevention of muscle cramps
3. Regulation of blood pressure
4. Regulation of water content throughout your body
6. Garlic | Cost: $1/bulb
Garlic is our go-to food when we feel the onset of a cold. It has antimicrobial activity which helps fight viral, fungal and bacterial infections. (7, 8, 9, 10, 11)
Garlic has been linked to cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, and cancer prevention. (12, 13, 14)
Garlic shows some promise for gut health as well. It contains prebiotics (inulin) that help feed the good bacteria in your digestive track. Research is revealing that prebiotics may actually be more important than probiotics for digestive health.
To use garlic for medicinal purposes such as when you feel a cold coming on or to treat foodborne illness, take a clove and cut it into four or more capsule-sized pieces, let them sit for 10-15 minutes, and then swallow them whole without chewing. Sounds gross but it works!
For our kids who aren’t able to swallow sliced garlic, we mince some, put in on a spoon and cover it with a little raw honey. This is what we call “medicine” in our house.
7. Sweet Potatoes | Cost: $0.50/serving (1/2 potato)
People from Okinawa, Japan, some of the longest living humans in the world, enjoy a purple sweet potato they call imo with almost every meal.
Boasting 150% more antioxidants than blueberries, sweet potatoes are super high in heart-healthy vitamins A and C.
Sweet potatoes are also on the Clean 15 list so you can go with conventionally grown if your budget is tight.
Make sure you’re subscribed to the evolved Life Blog. We’re sending out the recipe for our favorite post-workout breakfast recipe: sweet potato hash!
QUESTION: What’s one of your favorite superfoods?
I’d love to hear from you! Share your questions, thoughts and stories.