Photography by Romona Robbins
It seems like everywhere we look these days, there are new fad diets. They’re hyped in television commercials and online advertising; they’re even being peddled by our friends on Facebook. While many of these trendy health and fitness plans have merit, they are often no match for good, old-fashioned food. Plenty of healthy and delicious choices are available at your local farmer’s market or in the produce section at the grocery store, and many of these can offer additional benefits to your body and mind. Check out these seven superfoods that are easy to find, are inexpensive, and can guarantee a boost for your system—no sign-up or monthly fees required!
According to experts at the Mayo Clinic, research suggests that the nutrients found in blueberries can help fight chronic diseases. Blueberries are rich in nutrients and health benefits: phytonutrients, which reduce blood pressure and fight inflammation; vitamin C, which helps repair tissues and protects against heart disease; and fiber, which is essential for a healthy digestive system. Not to mention they’re a yummy addition to yogurt, muffins, and pancakes.
These delicious oval-shaped nuts are a great source of calcium for those looking to get more into their diets. In fact, the almond is the nut richest in calcium, with about 23 milligrams per serving. It is also valued among nutritionists for its high level of vitamin E, with one serving of almonds containing 15 percent of the recommended daily amount. As any vegetarian or vegan will attest, almonds are also a valuable source of protein, which is especially important for those avoiding meat.
Go ahead and order that fancy avocado toast at brunch! The popularity of this delicious fruit, which is native to South America and Mexico, is on the rise—and for a good reason. Avocados are loaded with the healthy unsaturated fats that many of us need, thanks to the popularity of no-fat and low-fat diets. Plus, they’re delicious—and they’ll look great on your next Instagram post!
Spice up your life! Many high-quality studies show that turmeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow color, has major benefits for your body and brain. The active substance in turmeric is curcumin, which is proven to treat inflammation, depression, blood clots, diabetes, digestive problems, arthritis, and much more. No wonder it’s been used as a medicinal substance as well as a spice in traditional Indian dishes for millennia.
No longer just a spice for livening up your holiday baking or your favorite coffee, cinnamon also has widespread health benefits. Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. It is rich in antioxidants, fiber, manganese, calcium, iron, and vitamin K and contains no fat or sugar. Like turmeric, cinnamon is also a natural anti-inflammatory substance and can reduce high cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, and high blood pressure that may cause heart disease.
What some people may not know is that some fats are good for you, specifically omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that your body cannot produce itself. Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which promote pain relief and quicker healing due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the risk of cancer and chronic diseases, promote better cognitive functions and mental health, and treat high blood pressure. For vegetarians and vegans, some alternative sources of omega-3 fatty acids are kiwis, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and pecans.
Like in beets and spinach, the vibrant colors of this leafy green plant are a good indication of its nutrients, which include vitamins K, C, and A. This makes Swiss chard one of the healthiest greens and ideal for those who love to create salads, juices, and smoothies at home. Its phytonutrients can naturally treat anemia, osteoporosis, vision problems, immune deficiencies, and even the common cold. So, in addition to the other superfoods listed here, be sure to add this to your shopping list!