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9 real superfoods you can actually afford

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Cheap superfoods

There’s no getting around it: a healthy diet is more expensive than an unhealthy one. But that doesn’t mean your food choices should be limited to the dollar menu at your favorite fast food joint. Add some cheap superfoods to your diet and you’ll be making healthy choices that also fit within your grocery budget.

“You’ll get more bang for your buck,” says Angela Ginn, registered dietician nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Superfood is just a catchy term that’s being thrown around to refer to foods that are “nutrient-rich” says Ginn.

Here’s are some cheap superfoods to add to that unhealthy diet of refined carbohydrates and processed meats you’ve got there, with average prices and Ginn’s rundown of the nutritional benefits for each.

1. Spinach

Spinach is a cheap superfood
(Photo: National Cancer Institute)
Average price: $2.64 per 1 pound package; $0.99 per bunch (U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Fruit and Vegetable Retail Report).

Nutritional benefits: This vegetable contains vitamins A and K, folate, and antioxidants. It can help prevent cancer and can help aging women maintain bone health.

 

2. Walnuts

Walnuts are a cheap superfood
(Photo by DJ_Noddy / CC BY)

Average price: $0.83 per serving (1 ounce), with a price range of $0.41 – $0.93 (prices from an informal review of prices on grocery websites).

Nutritional benefits: They contain omega-3 fatty acids that can lower bad cholesterol, thereby lowering your risk of a heart attack.

 

3. Beans (particularly black beans)

Black beans are a cheap superfood
(Photo by Paul Goyette / CC BY)

Average price: $1.45 per pound (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Nutritional benefits: One cup contains 15 grams of fiber. Beans help you stay fuller longer and better regulate your blood sugar.

 

4. Oranges

Oranges are a cheap superfood
(Photo by Atamari / CC BY)

Average price: Navel oranges, $4.09 per 4 pound bag; Valencia Oranges, $2.91 per 4 pound bag (USDA).

Nutritional benefits: This fruit is loaded with vitamin C. It supports immune health, lowers cholesterol, and lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.

 

5. Oats (rolled or steel-cut)

Oats are a cheap superfood
(Photo by Markus Hagenlocher / CC BY)

Average price: $0.64 per serving (1/2 a cup), with a price range of $0.44 – $0.88 per serving (prices from an informal review of prices on grocery websites).

Nutritional benefits: Consuming just one bowl every morning can lower cholesterol up to 1%. The fiber in oats creates sludge in your gut that attaches to bad fat and carries it out of the body.

 

6. Eggs

Eggs are a cheap superfood
(Photo by Gmoose1)

Average price: $2.02 per dozen grade A eggs (BLS).

Nutritional benefits: They are a complete source of protein and B vitamins. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids, and can be beneficial to pregnant women because they stimulate brain development in the fetus.

 

7. Kale

Kale is a cheap superfood
(Photo by Evan-Amos)

Average price: $ 0.99 per pound; $0.67 per bunch, according to the USDA).

Nutritional benefits: Besides the cardiovascular benefits, Kale helps you detox by removing harmful chemicals from your body. It can help prevent colon and breast cancer.

 

8. Avocados

Avocados are a cheap superfood
(Photo by Nikodem Nijaki/ CC BY)

Average price: $0.94 apiece, according to the USDA report.

Nutritional benefits: The nutrients in avocadoes can lower homocysteine levels in the body. High homocysteine levels can contribute to inflammation in joints, and conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

 

9. Green tea

Green tea is a cheap superfood
(Photo by Sean Winters / CC BY)

Average price: $0.15 per bag, with a price range of $0.08 – $0.31. Numbers came from an informal review of prices on various retailers’ websites.

Nutritional benefits: It contains antioxidants that protect cells from damage. Research has shown that green tea consumption can improve blood flow and brain activity and help you stay awake and alert.

(Top photo by Scott Rubin / CC BY)

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11 Responses to “9 real superfoods you can actually afford”

  1. All excellent suggestions except I respectfully differ with you on eggs. There are much better sources for the positive nutritional aspects of eggs that don’t have the negatives, propaganda from the Egg Council notwithstanding. :)

  2. Stephanie says:

    I’m lucky enough to raise free range chickens and I guarantee they are fed the best and cared for to make sure they have the best vitamins and food you can buy plus they love avocados and generally get the goodies of left over salad from the night before.
    Try egg white omelets if you’re afraid of yolks but unless you have a cholesterol problem there’s no need. They are a pure source of excellent food. Mine are more expensive than that report, even doing them myself.

  3. libertyanne says:

    Well I like all this stuff but oatmeal is a hard thing to digest in the summer time. I eat cheerios then.

  4. Kirk says:

    Oats a superfood?

  5. Jane says:

    Along with Spinach and Kale I’d like to add Collard Green’s they have the same high nutritional value of the other 2.

  6. Mark Ross says:

    Nice list! I only eat or consume 5 of those because I’m not fond of eating vegetables.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Cheap superfood is parsley! High in vit K, C, and A. Very inexpensive too. Another one is pearl barley. It’s very inexpensive and can be served like oatmeal or mixed in with it. Here’s a quick crockpot recipe: 1/2 c oats 1/2 c barley 4 c water add brown sugar( maple syrup or agave nectar) cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, vanilla, dried or fresh fruit and nuts to taste. Cook about 4 hrs on low in crockpot.

  8. Mary Ellen says:

    About beans…if you check various nutritional sources on the web about beans…you will discover that RED KIDNEY BEANS are the highest source of antioxidants and nutrients. Black beans actually are at the bottom of that list. And usually kidney beans are less expensive than black beans.
    Almonds are usually less expensive than walnuts and offer the same, if not more, nutritional value.

  9. Emilio P says:

    Actually, an unheallthy diet is far more expensive because it increases healthcare costs; and reduces the lifespan and efficiency of a productive adult.
    It also reduces stamina so you’re less productive and compensation would likewise be affected.
    So invest in a healthy diet and enjoy the benefits (economic and otherwise) of a healthy diet.

  10. Rona says:

    Great list, but I would also like to add in sweet potatoes. They are a great source of so many vitamins and minerals, in particular Vitamin A. They are also high in fiber and extremely affordable. What I also like is that they are on EWG’s list of “clean” foods. They have lower levels of pesticide residue on them as compared to other fruits and vegetables, meaning they are safer to eat non-organically.

  11. Excellent list, but I would also like to add in yams. They are an excellent resource of so many nutritional supplements, in particular Vitamin A. Thanks for your nice post.


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