Have you ever looked at the price of a health food item... and nearly fainted in the middle of the store? If you're like, well, pretty much every other health nut on the planet, you probably have.
Most of us simply can't afford to buy all of the supplements and health foods that we would like to bring home. The good news is, you don't need to! So many of the world's superfoods are extremely inexpensive and can provide you with months of food for only a few bucks. So, in an effort to help you (and your wallet) get as healthy as possible, I've compiled a list of the most affordable superfoods available.
Flax Seed (Linseed)
Flax seeds are an incredibly rich source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), fiber, protein, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus. Just a tablespoon of ground flax seeds each day can make a big impact on your health.
Simply put a tablespoon or two into a clean coffee grinder or food processor and grind into a powder. I prefer to sprinkle it over yogurt or in smoothies, although there are a million ways to eat it!
Freshly pressed wheatgrass is so, so incredibly good for you. Full of vitamins and living enzymes, one shot of wheatgrass juice can provide a significant amount of the nutrients you need in a day.
Wheatgrass stimulates your metabolism and your thyroid gland, both of which will help you stay fit. It also cleans your blood and your liver, which is great for detoxification and improved energy.
Do your kitties love cat grass? Because I'll let you in on a little secret- it's the same thing! You can purchase a small container of mature wheatgrass at most health food stores for less than five dollars. Stick the tray in a bowl of clean water and place it in a sunny window. The roots will "drink" through the holes in the bottom of the container, so all you have to do is top up the water.I personally like to purchase bags of organic wheatgrass seeds every year or so. This is truly the most economical method, although you'll need to wait a week or two for the grass to mature.
If you plan to do a lot of juicing you can certainly invest in a quality juicer-which typically run about $200-$300. However, it isn't completely necessary. There is another way!
How to Juice Wheatgrass without a Juicer
Studies have shown that a vegetable's vitamin levels are at their highest when the plant is only a seedling (or microgreen)- it is more mature than a sprout, but still only has one set of leaves.
According to this NPR article, researchers at the University of Maryland
"looked at four groups of vitamins and other phytochemicals – including vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta carotene — in 25 varieties of microgreens. They found that leaves from almost all of the microgreens had four to six times more nutrients than the mature leaves of the same plant. But there was variation among them – red cabbage was highest in vitamin C, for instance, while the green daikon radish microgreens had the most vitamin E."
Microgreens are packed with vitamins and living enzymes that we need daily to protect us from disease, help us stay trim, and give us energy. They are super easy to grow (I just throw them in trays on my windowsill, or outside in temperate months) and they are ready within a week or two of planting. And no, you don't have to have a green thumb!The part I love about microgreens is that almost any organic vegetable seeds can be grown this way. Lettuce, arugula, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, mustard, carrot, rutabaga, and on and on. Each one contains different kinds and amounts of nutrients, so its a good idea to grow a few varieties and eat them daily. Plus, they taste amazing in a fresh salad roll with peanut sauce!
Forget about those expensive probiotic pills you see lining the local supplement shop. Most of the strains within them have long since died during transportation or on their un-refrigerated shelf.
Before water bath and pressure canning became mainstream, families fermented their fruits and veggies in jars to lengthen their shelf life. Fermented foods have been a staple diet for thousands of years among many cultures, and for good reason. Hefty doses of live probiotics will clear up acne, help you start digesting properly, heal your gut, fight off "bad" bacteria and yeasts, and keep a healthy balance of good bacteria in your digestive tract. Over the long term, this can help with weight loss, prevent disease, reduce inflammation, and increase your energy.
Fermented vegetables are made by placing the veggies in a glass jar and covering them in a salt brine. Within a few days, a process called lacto-fermentation takes place. This process increases the nutrient content of the produce, as well as saturates them with gut-boosting beneficial bacteria. Just one fermented carrot stick or green bean per day is often enough to maintain healthy gut flora- and they taste great!
Crunchy fermented radishes, "dilly" beans, carrots, and many others make for a great side at dinner. In the morning I often eat fermented cinnamon apples drizzled with raw honey. It tastes just like apple pie, and it is truly good for you.
All you need to ferment your produce is the produce itself, some water, sea salt or pink Himalayan salt, and a glass jar with lid. I frequently reuse glass jars that used to have pickles or sauces in them to cut down on the costs of Mason jars. Of course, once you buy a set of jars you'll have them forever.
Healthy eating doesn't have to be expensive!