Superfoods do not equate to making you a superhuman, but there’s more to be had in it than your usual food. While there are already tons of popular superfoods, there are those that are right under your nose, superfoods that are seriously underrated!
Forget kale, turmeric, and salmon for a bit, and go through this list of nutritious and delicious underrated superfoods!
While most health buffs rave about how salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, sardines remain an underrated source of the same nutrient. Sardines according to dietitians pack a good amount of omega-3 fatty acids as well as a variety of vitamins including vitamins A, D, B-6, and B-12; calcium; iron; folate; magnesium; zinc, and more. It’s a known fact that omega-3 fatty acid is essential for proper brain functions and protection against heart diseases.
And because sardines are relatively small in size, it usually lives off of small sea plants, which make it safer from heavy metal bioaccumulation. Sardines are cheaper than other rich aquatic sources of omega-3 fatty acids too!
More popular in Asian countries as a dinner and medicinal staple, moringa has yet to make its way through American households. In earlier studies conducted on the nutritional value of moringa, it was found that it contained a range of essential amino acids and some serious anti-inflammatory properties that could rival that of turmeric.
The leaves are the most nutrient-rich part of the plant. Aside from those mentioned above, it contains calcium, iron, zinc, and a host of vitamins. Moringa has been seen to help reduce blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol levels, improve thyroid function, and boost energy.
Low calorie; high mineral concentrates like iodine and calcium; proteins; indigestible carbohydrates; and high fiber, seaweeds help in detoxification and aid in cancer prevention. Its rich iodine content is very beneficial for thyroid functions. And it’s not only the seaweed used as a wrap in your sushi that’s nutritious but anything classified sea vegetables are nutritious too!
Seaweeds are part of the Okinawan diet, the diet consumed by most people in Okinawa, Japan where people live to be one of the longest in the world. In the realm of superfoods, seaweeds are not as popular, when it should be on the forefront of the best superfoods because of its powerhouse nutritional content.
Wheatgrass comes from the seed of Triticum aestivum, a type of plant from the wheat family. Although considered a superfood, wheatgrass is usually consumed in the form of juice or powder. While little clinical research and trials are conducted on wheatgrass’ benefits in various medical conditions, it comes packing with nutrients deemed valuable for overall well-being.
Wheatgrass is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, flavonoids, and chlorophyll. Vitamin C boosts the immune system, vitamin E acts as an antioxidant preventing cellular damage, while flavonoids provide cardiovascular health benefits. Its chlorophyll content boosts blood cell production. It is said that wheatgrass is just as nutritious as vegetables like broccoli.
While garlic is dubbed as a wonder food, onions are just as nutritious but not as popular. Aside from an assortment of nutrients, onions contain an abundance of anti-inflammatory flavonoids and prebiotic fibers. Both of these nutrients are crucial to prevent inflammation, as the prebiotic fibers also help propagate the gastrointestinal flora. Onion’s nutritional value is seen as a beneficial addition to a cancer-prevention diet.
There’s no glamour to this superfood appearance wise that’s why it’s extremely underrated despite all the nutrients it contains. However, beans are an awesome source of plant-based proteins and fiber! It has a good amount of complex carbohydrates, iron, and folate. It has been found to lower cholesterol levels, lower high blood pressure, boost energy without the associated bloated feeling, and help lose weight.
BONUS! Beans come cheap, so it’s definitely a perfect alternative to expensive superfoods! Plus, there’s a wide range of legumes for your daily menu plan – butter beans, chick peas, black-eyed beans, lentils, red kidney beans, and more.
While there’s been a flood of superfood discoveries over the last few years, the ones above have always been there most of the time. Superfoods need not to be high profile or even expensive, just that it should be nutrient dense with a lot of antioxidant properties!
By no means are the above underrated superfoods alternatives, but rather consider it as part of your food choices from now on, it may be underappreciated for now, but it’s never lacking in the vitamins and nutrients department!
My name is Sarah Burgess and I’m a health and nutrition specialist and enthusiast. I did my PhD at the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University and finished in 2015 and now I’ve been writing for Slowfoodnation since 2017. Apart from writing on blogs about health, superfood and nutrition, I love to exercise, running and pilates are two of my true addictions! I believe we create our own luck and everyone have the potential to reach true potential and be the best version of ourselves.