Whenever you’re grocery shopping for healthy foods, it always seems to be an overwhelming bounty of overpriced organics.
But if you know where to look, your supermarket is a haven of hidden treasures and untold adventures, a place packed with new sights, flavors, and textures.
Many supermarkets are loaded with cool foods you’ve never heard of, from exotic fruits found in the Amazon, to spices, herbs, and ancient grains from Asia.
If you’re looking to shake up your shopping list, these five superfoods are phenomenally nutrient-dense and nutrient-diverse, meaning they bring potent quantities of the vitamins and minerals we need every day.
Gram for gram, almost no grain can match amaranth’s nutritional resume. It’s higher in fiber and protein than wheat and brown rice, it’s loaded with vitamins, and its been shown in studies to help lower blood pressure and harmful LDL cholesterol.
How to Eat It: It cooks just like rice, so use the same approach here. It’s actually more versatile than rice, so you can throw it in with grilled vegetables and chicken, or in a seriously healthy salad.
Native of South America, the tangy, dark yellow berries are sold fresh or as preserves in its native land. In North America, you’ll usually find them dried and bagged, which takes nothing away from its nutritional content. They’re a great source of vitamin A and disease-fighting antioxidants.
How to Eat It: They can be a casual snack, subbing in for raisins, or toss a handful on a salad or your favourite breakfast cereal.
A classic example of ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.’ This lumpy winter root vegetable makes up for its lack of appearance with a pleasant, celery-like flavor. Not to mention celeriac is loaded with bone-building vitamin K, and is a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
How to Eat It: It goes well with other root veggies, so soups and stews are natural fits. You can go all out and sub them in for half your mash potatoes if you want to trick your family into healthy eating. Treat it the same way as the spuds—peel, boil, mash; it’ll add a hint of earthy sweetness, while cutting carbs.
A popular herb from India, also known as tulsi, it’s a fantastic ingredient to integrate freshness and flavor into almost any meal. Studies have shown holy basil may help fight diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
While you can find the other superfoods at your regular supermarket, you’ll need to make a special trip to Asian specialty stores and farmers’ markets to acquire the elusive spice.
How to Eat It: Always fresh, just chop it up and serve. Scatter them over eggs, soups, stir-fry dishes, and any other basil-friendly meals.
Very common in China and India, mung beans are tender with a sweet, nutty flavour. They’re high in potassium, iron, and fiber, but they’re also 24 percent protein! Pure value. And unlike many others in the legume family, they retain their high vitamin-C content even after boiling.
How to Eat It: Boil until tender, then add them to your salad. The natural sweetness will go well with your already nutritious meal, without adding extra sodium or calories.