Healthy Eating

Budget-Friendly Superfoods

The word superfood may conjure up ideas of exotic foods with high price tags, but this doesn’t have to be the case. “It can be so overwhelming when you start reading about all of the magical foods that will transform your health and realise that not only are they tricky to find, but that they also cost the earth,” says nutritional health coach Lizzie King (lizzieloveshealthy.com). “However, don’t be put off by the idea of eating super healthily, and don’t simply look for buzzwords on packets, as there are humble foods everywhere that are just as good for you.” So, forget searching the health shops for the latest fad, as we’ve asked the experts for their cheaper superfood alternatives that still pack a nutritional punch.

    • Budget-Friendly SuperfoodsSwap: acai berries for blackberries “Blackberries have to be the cheapest superfood ever – they’re free!” exclaims Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at Nature’s Best (naturesbest.co.uk). “They contain a huge amount of health-promoting nutrients, and they are incredibly high in antioxidants. Simply pick them from the hedgerows and serve. You could even try freezing them for a steady supply throughout the year.” Lizzie agrees, adding that they’re high in vitamin C and the dark purple antioxidant anthocyanin which fights free-radical damage in the body.
      Saving: £18.75

      (when compared to acai berries in powder form)

    • Swap: maca for broccoli You might not think it, but both of these foods are from the same family. “While maca is rich in antioxidants, fibre, vitamins and minerals and can enhance mood, broccoli has a reputation as one of the healthiest of all the vegetables, and for good reason,” says weight loss coach and nutritionist Pippa Campbell (pippacampbellhealth.com). “It’s high in fibre, vitamin C, vitamin K and folic acid, and contains plant compounds known as glucosinolates, which help to balance hormones and support detoxification. And at less than 50p for a head of broccoli, it’ll be good for your bank balance too, unlike superfoods such as maca!”
      Saving: £3.87

    • Swap: spirulina for eggs “Spriulina is a great source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9, C, D, A and E,” Pippa explains. “It’s also a source of potassium, calcium, chromium, copper, iron, and magnesium. However, as a simple everyday food, you can’t get much better than eggs. They’re little nutrient bombs, especially the yolks, which are rich in B vitamins, vitamin A for your immune system, eyes and skin, and vitamin E to protect your heart. They’re also one of a few good sources of choline, a nutrient that’s vital for brain and memory. Try to choose free-range eggs when you can, of course.”
      Saving: £6.70

    • Swap: salmon for tinned sardines “Tinned sardines are cheaper than salmon, but both feature omega 3 essential fatty acids,” says Frida. “Omega 3 contains EPA and DHA which are beneficial for our cardiovascular system, vision, brain function and a multitude of other health conditions. A tin of sardines can cost as little as 50p and can be a great snack.” Pippa agrees, adding that they’re one of the few decent food sources of vitamin D too, and if you eat them with the soft bones, you’re also getting lots of calcium – more than a glass of milk!
      Saving: £2.63

    • Budget-Friendly SuperfoodsSwap: wheatgrass for spinach “Grown from wheat seeds, wheatgrass is seen as one of the ultimate superfoods, but according to the experts, spinach is just as, or even more, nutritionally beneficial. For example, one wheatgrass shot doesn’t count towards one of your five a day, but a handful of spinach does. And the comparisons don’t stop there: “While they are both high in of chlorophyll and antixodants, spinach has a greater level of protein and less of the strong flavour if used in cooking or smoothies,” says Lizzie.
      Saving: £6.10

      (when compared to wheatgrass in powder form)

    • Budget-Friendly SuperfoodsSwap: goji berries for blueberries “Goji berries are one of the fruits with the highest amount of antioxidants,” states Pippa. “As an alternative, blueberries are also high in antioxidants and are cheaper!” Additionally, they both contain similar high doses of vitamins C and E and fibre. Frida Harju, nutritionist at health app Lifesum (lifesum.com) agrees, telling us that these berries have been labelled a superfood due to their high levels of polyphenols, antioxidative and antiinflammatory compounds that positively impact the nervous system and brain function, helping to combat memory loss and enhance your mood. “Polyphenols found in blueberries also have the potential to prevent the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” she explains.
      Saving: £1

    • Swap: quinoa for red lentils “Both quinoa and lentils contain similar amounts of calories and carbohydrates, but lentils have the advantage in terms of fibre content, so Lizzie advises choosing them over quinoa. “They are a great plant protein with high nutrient levels, and they have almost twice the protein of quinoa,” she says. “Red lentils are one of the few that don’t need soaking.” Frida also recommends them – “lentils are incredibly inexpensive,” she explains. “They are a great source of iron and also high in protein. Additionally, they contain fibre, magnesium and B vitamins.”
      Saving: £0.48

  • Budget-Friendly SuperfoodsSwap: mixed nuts for chickpeas Mixed nuts are often touted as a healthy snack, but it turns out that chickpeas are even better for you – they have a nutritional profile akin to nuts, but with only a third of the calories. “These are a form of complex carbohydrate,” Shona explains. “This means that your body is able to slowly digest this food and use it for energy. They are also high in protein and fibre [containing a similar amount to nuts] and help to balance blood sugar levels, which will keep you feeling fuller for longer. They are incredibly cheap and ready to serve immediately.” Try roasting them for a tasty bite to get you through the 3pm slump!
    Saving: £1.17

Fast facts

While there are lots of swaps you can make to save yourself money, there are also certain superfoods that are worth splashing out on – so we asked nutrition expert Jenny Tschiesche, consultant at Indigo Herbs (indigoherbs.co.uk), what we should be investing in.

Moringa

Using moringa powder daily is a bit like taking a multivitamin and mineral. It’s packed full of vitamins and minerals including vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium. It provides you with protein which, when added to your smoothies and soups, can make you feel fuller for longer. Moringa is rich in plant compounds which makes it a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, especially helpful for active or stressed individuals.

Turmeric

Scientists in India found that turmeric helps the body stay healthy under stress. It’s believed that turmeric can support the body’s innate antioxidant function, decreasing inflammation and boosting immunity, as well as helping the body maintain healthy levels of stress hormone production. Turmeric can be added to soups, curries and in drinks as an infusion or as a latte made with coconut milk.

Liquorice root

Liquorice root has been found to help regulate cortisol, the stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Chewing on liquorice root can serve two purposes, as it gives our adrenals a break while also distracting us from anxiety by providing something to hold and chew. Liquorice can also be enjoyed as a tea by infusing the powered root in boiling water.

Health & Wellbeing