The term “superfoods” has been flying around for some time, motivating people interested in a healthy lifestyle to buy expensive and fancy foods like kale, acai, spirulina, and others.
But did you know that according to various sources, “superfoods” is actually a marketing term that is used to drive sales and profits up? That’s because often such products can be unjustifiably pricy. In fact, a study shows that the number of products marketed as “superfoods,” “superfruits,” or “supergrains” has increased with 202% for the period 2011-2015. And until 2020, the growth has been continuous and steady. 
Of course, the fact that a certain aliment is listed as a superfood doesn’t mean that it’s a complete lie. The majority of popular superfoods indeed have high nutritional value and supply you with great micronutrients. However, simpler, more affordable, and accessible foods are forgotten by the superfood industry, because of their small potential to generate profit to the companies.
That being said, this article will reveal 10 budget-friendly superfoods (that are not actually marketed as such), which you can find in almost any supermarket.
But first things first, what exactly is the term “superfood” from a nutritional perspective?
Let’s get started!
What are the benefits of superfoods?
Cambridge dictionary characterizes superfoods as foods that are considered to be very good for your health.  Such products are often from plant origin (e.g., fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds,etc.), have low-calorie load and very high nutritional value: vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber, etc.
The vitamins and minerals ensure that the body tissues and organs function properly, and no micronutrient deficiencies occur. 
The fiber supports a healthy digestive tract: from keeping you full and supporting stable blood sugar levels, to improved bowel movement and water absorption in the intestines. Besides, fiber may protect you from chronic disease development (e.g., diabetes, heart disease), and may support weight loss. 
The antioxidants in superfoods may prevent chronic disease development. Besides, they are essential when it comes to cell protection from free radicals damage and oxidative stress. 
The free radicals are external and internal factors (byproducts of different chemical processes in the body), which impact our body cells. Those factors may include UV light, pollution, radiation, smoking, poor nutrition, overeating, stress, alcohol, drugs, etc. 
Are all superfoods expensive?
Not all superfoods are expensive! In fact, many underrated superfoods are all around us! Maybe you even include some superfoods in your diet without knowing their nutritional value.
List of budget-friendly superfoods
Here’s a list of 10 underestimated, yet affordable and delicious superfoods that you can most definitely find in your local grocery store.
Rich in antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E, as well as K and B group vitamins. Also, blueberries contain significant copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc, and fiber content. 
This blend of micronutrients in blueberries is related to multiple health benefits, including :
- Reduced risk of chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease and type 2 diabetes)
- Weight management
- Improved memory and cognitive function
- Reduced inflammation
- Improved gut health
Rich in fiber, B group vitamins, as well as vitamin K and antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E. Broccoli contains plenty of minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc. 
The health benefits of broccoli are mainly associated with strong antioxidant effects on the body cells, as well as potential prevention of certain types of cancer. 
You can find our favorite 4 easy broccoli recipes in the dedicated blog post!
Garlic contains high doses of B group vitamins, as 100 grams of raw garlic can supply you with 95% of the recommended daily value for vitamin B6. Besides, the same amount of garlic gives you 35% of the daily recommended vitamin C. In addition, garlic is rich in phosphorus, selenium, copper, manganese, and more! 
Evidence suggests that the consumption of raw garlic may reduce the risk of heart disease and tumor development, as well as balance blood sugar levels. It is associated with anti-microbial, anti-cancerogenic, and immune supporting properties, as well as reduced free radicals damage and oxidative stress in the body. 
Beets are rich in vitamins A, B and C, and in various minerals, including copper, manganese, potassium, and zinc. 
The benefits of red beets consumption include :
- Strong antioxidant effect that fights oxidative stress
- Reduced inflammation and prevention of inflammatory diseases
- Protection against heart disease
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved metabolism
Oily fish (e.g., sardines, salmon, trout, herring, mackerel)
Those are packed with vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as selenium copper and phosphorus. But what is more interesting about oily fish is that it has high long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids content.  That being said, the consumption of those fatty acids is associated with various health benefits, including reduced risk of obesity, suppression of extreme appetite, improved nutrient delivery, and efficient blood circulation. 
Besides, regular and moderate consumption of oily fish plays a role in promoting heart health, improving cholesterol profile, and balancing blood pressure. 
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Walnuts are rich in vitamins B, C, E, and K, as well as copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, selenium, and iron. Besides, walnuts are packed with omega-3 and 6 fatty acids. 
The micronutrient availability in walnuts is the cause for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Evidence suggests that the consumption of walnuts can also be associated with improved cholesterol profile, improved heart health, as well as prevention of some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and neurological diseases. 
Cocoa (and at least 80% dark chocolate)
Rich in iron, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and flavonoids, which can have strong antioxidant effects.
Evidence suggests that when eaten in moderation, cocoa (and as a result, dark chocolate) may play a role in reducing high blood pressure, improving heart function, supporting proper cognitive and brain functions, as well as protecting the nervous system. 
Another interesting study, featuring 1458 European adults, suggested that dark chocolate consumption may be associated with lower BMI and total body fat. 
Rich in vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, spinach is one of the most nutritious leafy greens. It also has high manganese, magnesium, iron, potassium, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids content. 
Due to the presence of those micronutrients and dietary compounds, spinach is associated with potent antioxidant properties. It can also play a role in supporting heart and bone health, as well as preventing eye diseases, and brain dysfunction (e.g., some studies suggest that regular spinach consumption may be used for decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease). 
Are all superfoods plant-based?
If you think about it, almost all the superfoods are plant-based. However, a balanced and diverse diet is important for our wellbeing. For example, moderate and controlled consumption of high-quality meat, poultry, and dairy products can supply you with macronutrients, which can hardly be received from plants (like HEME iron, vitamin B12- cobalamin, and vitamin D).