The best and most coveted (re: most nutritious) foods in today’s top diets may already be sitting in your kitchen.
Even with ‘superfoods’ superseding regular foods, there are many superfoods that are still criminally overlooked.
“[These superfoods] don’t come with an exotic back story like a Himalayan pedigree,” explains Desiree Nielsen, a registered dietitian from Vancouver.
“However, the more common — and less expensive — they are, the more likely it is that we will eat them in the meaningful amounts necessary to produce a benefit.”
Check out some of the most underrated superfoods that experts recommend you consider for your diet. They’re inexpensive, tasty, and are widely accessible in most grocery stores. They may not have the flashiness of next-gen organic foods, but are full of nutrients that’re beneficial to your long-term well-being.
“Garlic gets all the press… but onions are truly superfoods in their own right. [With] anti-inflammatory flavonoids, in addition to sulphur-based molecules like diallyl disulfide, make them an important part of an anti-inflammatory and cancer-prevention diet,” Nielsen says.
Onions also contain prebiotic fibres (fructans) that nourish helpful gut flora, Nielsen adds.
Kyle Byron, a Toronto-based nutritionist, advocates for the high-fibre, psyllium husk. The gluten-free grain is mostly used in smoothies to keep you…uh, regular.
“It also will reduce cholesterol, the same way they advertise oatmeal and beans — it’s the soluble fibre. Soluble fibre also keeps us full longer which helps control body composition,” he says.
Nicole Fetterly, a registered dietitian based in Vancouver, opts for sardines as her fish of fancy. The little fish are a premium source of omega-3 fatty acids, and is much, much more affordable than something like salmon.
“[They are] also high in protein, vitamin B12 and D, and a host of minerals. Being a small fish, they only eat plankton and do not have the levels of heavy metals as some large fish [like some tunas],” Fetterly explains.
Byron believes broccoli’s cousin – cauliflower – is “the chameleon of foods.”
“It’s basically an empty vessel. Any flavour you add to it is going to taste amazing. You can make it into a mash, pizza crust, stir fry, you can bake it, make biscuits with it, deep fry it, or eat it raw.”
Tempeh is a fermented superfood that’s ideal for vegetarians:
“[It is] more nutritious than tofu as the whole soybean is present, and is higher in protein, fibre, and minerals. The fermentation process makes the nutrients more bio-available to us,” Fetterly says.
Even with Halloween on the horizon, it’s never too early to get a fix of high-iron pumpkin seeds. They’re also loaded with other useful minerals, like zinc and magnesium.
“[They are also] a source of protein, fibre, phytosterols [for heart health] and antioxidants,” says Fetterly.
This type of sauerkraut is comprised of three simple ingredients: cabbage, salt, and probiotic bacteria.
“Make it yourself for an easy and affordable fermented food to include each day,” Fetterly says.
“Cabbage is a great cancer-fighting cruciferous veggie. Cabbage itself is a superfood, but becomes even more super once fermented.”
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