My top affordable superfoods

Top affordable super foods

I love a good superfood. The idea that I’m eating something with almost magical properties, which is often how these things are touted, is enticing and alluring. However, I don’t always know how much is hype, good marketing or actual facts, so I’m a lot more wary of things labelled as ‘superfoods’ now than I used to be. I do still love trying out new products, but I’m a lot quicker to honestly access whether or not they do in fact make me feel super! I have my favourites including chia seeds, maca (when I’m not pregnant), coconut oil, coconut water, spirulina and chlorella, but the problem with these are that they generally come with a fairly hefty price tag. I’m the first person to invest in my health when I believe it’s worth it, but it’s good to remind ourselves that all ‘superfoods’ don’t come in posh packaging with a palpation inducing price tag.

So what even makes a food ‘super’? Generally they are foods that have an exceptionally high amount of vitamins, minerals or other compounds that are beneficial and easily assimilated by the body. Many of them are like natural supplements. As I said, not all of them have to be purchased online or from a specialist health food shop, and some of the most effective ‘superfoods’ can be found at a much more affordable price in our own local supermarkets. Here are my favourite affordable superfoods:

1. Kerrygold Butter

I’m bloody addicted to this at the moment! Butter may not seem like a superfood choice, but good quality grass fed butter like Kerrygold is packed with nutrients. Saturated fat is no longer vilified as it once was and some research has shown it can actually help raise levels of HDL (the good) cholesterol (source). It also has good levels of CLA and a better omega 3 to omega 6 fat ratio as too much omega 6 has been linked to inflammation. Butter is also a great source of vitamin K2, and often missing and overlooked nutrient that has a number of benefits. 

2. Lemons

Ah the simple lemon, we all know it’s great for adding to warm water in the morning for a metabolic kickstart and it’s detoxifying and cleansing effects. Although lemon is acidic, once ingested and assimilated by the body it has an alkalising effect, which is a good thing. I did a little more research on lemons especially with regards to your teeth, and apparently having a little squeeze in warm water each morning should not be an issue, although you can drink it through a straw if you’d prefer. 

3. Coconut

You don’t have to purchase expensive coconut water or coconut oil to get the benefits of coconut. Plain unsweetened and unsulpured desiccated or shredded coconut is also a great source of those healthy medium chain fatty acids which have been shown to support weight loss as well as having anti bacterial properties. 

4. Buckwheat

I have been on my little buckwheat kick recently but for good reason, this gluten free grain is definitely a superfood! You can get it from Tesco for £1.90 for 500g so it’s a reasonably cheap and versatile ingredient. It’s a great source of a range of minerals including magnesium. It’s particular benefits for the cardio vascular system come from a compound called Rutin which is a bioflavonoid with antioxidant abilities which have been shown to improve circulation and vascular health. When soaked and partially sprouted, it’s quite easy to digest too. Not sure how to eat it? Check out my Blueberry, feta and buckwheat salad with orange dressing or coconut buckwheat with chia cherry jam recipes. You can also purchase buckwheat flour which works well in pancakes.

5. Frozen berries

Some of the most antioxidant packed fruit, berries don’t have to be fresh to be healthy, and frozen can often make them more affordable. Antioxidants which are basically vitamins such as A, C and E, or compounds of them. These vitamins are especially useful in supporting the body to deal with free radicals which are cells damaged through oxidation. They can help protect against a range of diseases as well as supporting your skin, hair and nails to age better. Berries made my list, but any colourful fruit and vegetables are great sources.

6. Mackerel

Salmon is often the go to fatty fish for Omega 3’s but mackerel is a great alternative. When purchased tinned, it’s super cheap and tasty as well as being convenient. I love to eat mine in salads with beetroot which could easily have made this list as well. Omega 3 has been linked to numerous positive health benefits and due to the amount of omega 6 in the modern diet from vegetable sources, many of us will have an imbalance in these essential fats that can lead to inflammation. Mackerel in the UK is also not at as high a risk of mercury contamination as that which is sold in the states which is another positive (a titbit I picked up researching my pregnancy diet) So if you aren’t veggie or vegan, eat your mackerel! 

7. Green tea

Another antioxidant packed ‘food’, research has shown that green tea can support the metabolism, lower risk of cancers, help the body burn fat and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (source). 

8. Avocados

Avocados are just wonderful! A great source of heart and skin healthy vitamin E and monounsaturated oleic acid as well as being high in potassium (more than twice that in a banana). They are also high in lutein, a carotenoid that works as an antioxidant and helps protect against eye disease.

9. Walnuts

Walnuts have been shown to be one of the healthiest nuts with the highest levels of antioxidants. They also contain more omega 3 than other nuts so are particularly good for vegetarians and vegans.

10. Organic / free range eggs

Eggs are awesome as long as you eat the whole egg! With plenty of healthy fats, protein and compounds such as choline which has a role in brain development (one reason why I’ve been trying to eat lots of eggs while pregnant). Organic eggs are also higher in omega 3, but at a minimum it’s worth getting free range ones.

11. Cocoa powder

It might not be raw cacao powder, but regular cocoa powder still contains a shit tonne of antioxidants as well as tasting damn good! Mix with a little honey (another near contender for this list) and some water to make a rich chocolate sauce.

12. Kale

What kind of super food list would be missing kale? It’s a kind of obvious one but for good reason. Full of beta carotene the pre cursor to vitamin A, vitamins C and K it’s also high in fibre which binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.

13. Organic chicken liver

This one might be a bit of a leap for some of you but liver is a real super food and extremely good for you. You might as well get organic as that is still cheap and then you know you are getting the best quality. Liver is rich in pre formed vitamin A. I decided to air on the side of caution while I’ve been pregnant, although I don’t really think it’s that much of an issue, however I’ll definitely be adding a little liver to my beef dishes after the baby has been born for an added nutrient boost. 

Nothing on that list is over £5, most of them are more around £2 or less. They aren’t super low budget friendly, but in comparison to other super foods they are vastly cheaper. 

Do you believe in the concept of superfoods? Do you eat any of these foods on a regular basis? Which cheap and cheerful foods would make your list?  

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Comments

  1. Cat says

    I’m a new convert to Kale – it makes great crisps when rubbed with a little olive oil and smidge of sea salt then baked quickly. I’ll have them a couple of times a week as they give me that crisp hit with none of the guilt :) I throw what’s left of the Kale into a thai curry to bulk it out and make it “greener”. A £1 packet goes a long way!

  2. says

    I totally agree that our health is worth an investment in with some superfoods. A pot of spirulina might be 11 pounds, but that is the same as a bottle of wine. That is the way I look at it. I also agree there are so many superfoods that are not classed as “super” foods, like all the ones you have mentioned! All whole foods are superfoods!

  3. Rachel says

    I’ve been making a lot of chicken liver pâté lately – not much more to it other than chicken liver, butter, shallot and garlic so a super food packed lunch! I feel quite squeamish about liver but it’s a lot less scary this way!

  4. Nicky says

    Love this list and agree with all of them :) I’m not entirely sold on the whole ‘superfood’ term simply because a lot of foods aren’t classed as a superfood but should be! It just seems to be a way to make something more expensive in my eyes. My mum treated me to a bag of acai the other day and whilst I absolutely love it after trying it for the first time, I wouldn’t go out to buy it with my own money because I love blueberries and many other antioxidant type foods already which are far cheaper!

    Fave ‘superfoods’ for me have to be broccoli, eggs, coconut, frozen berries, cocoa powder and cinnamon all of which I eat on a regular basis :)

    • says

      Yep totally with you on that, things like blueberries just don’t have the same marketing hype but at least that means we can enjoy them a little cheaper! Oh cinnamon, I’m already starting to add that to loads of things in anticipation of the autumn!
      Laura Agar Wilson recently posted…My top affordable superfoodsMy Profile

  5. says

    I think that aiming for a variety of natural foods is important- yes things like blueberries are great for you, but so are strawberries, and any berry is better than a bag of sweets. I think the term superfood has been a bit misused by the media and of course it is a marketing persons’ dream to be able to use that term. But there are some foods that are jam packed with nutrients so are worth including regularly in your diet.
    I agree you can get really good value when you start to look though- I often buy frozen berries as they are pretty reasonable (Sainsbury’s often do deals like 3 bags for £5 which lasts ages).
    I think I would swap kale for spinach, as I just can’t get myself to like kale, it is always so bitter. I would also love sweet potato to be on the list- but mainly because I love it!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…New EnglandMy Profile

  6. says

    I think a lot of our regular everyday foods are superfoods and are particularly easy to buy or incorporate if anyone is worried about cost. Like you say kale, coconut, berries, avocados etc are easily and readily available. I’m a big fan of maca/spirulina/chlorella/chia and they would be the ones I would be willing to splurge on.
    Lauren (@PoweredbyPB) recently posted…Berlin Marathon Training Week 10- Rest is BestMy Profile

  7. Rachael Isherwood says

    A great list Laura and a good reminder of how superfoods come in different shapes and sizes and are not all super expensive! I would say my 2 absolute favourites are maca and coconut oil and agree mackerel and beetroot is a fabulous combination! I also love my frozen berries and kale in smoothies :) I am keen to try out buckwheat as I am gluten-free, it sounds great!

  8. says

    Brilliant post Laura!! Many of the things in consider superfoods are not expensive – especially not per serving. I love dark leafy greens and smoked salmon trimmings, a good olive oil can be picked up relatively cheaply and lasts forever. Kombucha is less than £1 per day as are my fermented cod liver oil butter blend capsules (I take them three times a week).
    I think it’s a real misconception that eating well is super pricey, shopping around for the best deals and making decisions about what most matters makes it affordable.

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