10 affordable liver-loving superfoods

By Nutrition Consultant, Jess Robinson

So, what is it that allows certain foods to be labelled superfoods? Essentially, a food is considered super if it is extremely nutrient-dense and has many health benefits. Different superfoods promote heart health, protect your liver, boost your metabolism or increase bone density. There are many superfoods that are being advertised in the food industry that cost an arm and a leg, but thankfully there are also an array of inexpensive superfoods available that offer the same benefits as their more expensive counterparts. Here are the top ten affordable superfoods:

1. Green tea

While not exactly a food, green tea definitely deserves a mention as for thousands of years it has been known for its many health benefits. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants that can protect against free radicals, lower cholesterol and reduce clot formation. Green tea also boosts your metabolism, protects the heart, fights diabetes, aids weight loss and reduces depression. Green tea is readily available in all supermarkets, we recommend picking an organic brand and enjoying up to three cups each day.

2. Beetroot

This deep purple vegetable is loaded with antioxidants, fibre, minerals like iron and potassium, and vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. Incorporating this powerful food into your regular diet will improve brain function, lower blood pressure, protect against cancer and reduce inflammation throughout the body. It also protects against cataracts, boosts energy levels and supports detoxification by helping to purify the blood and liver.

3. Ginger

This oddly-shaped root, has had a long reputation for aiding health conditions. You can have it in your tea, juices, or added to stir-fry dishes. Ginger is great for the gut and digestive tract as it relieves nausea, supports digestion, heals ulcers, and boosts immunity. It also acts as an anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory, helps diabetes, lowers cholesterol, aids weight loss and reduces arthritic pain.

4. Spinach

This leafy green vegetable should be consumed in abundance as it is rich in calcium to support strong bones, and high in iron to reduce anaemia and increase energy levels. It is also high in zinc, protein, fibre, vitamin A, C, E and K, magnesium and several others. The flavonoids in spinach reduce cholesterol levels and protect your body against damage from free radicals. The folate in spinach supports heart health and magnesium helps to ease muscle spasm and cramps.

5. Chia seeds

It should be no surprise that chia seeds are a nutritional powerhouse, but surprisingly they are also very affordable and available in the health food section of most supermarkets. These little miracle seeds are loaded with fibre, antioxidants, calcium and iron. They also qualify as a complete protein source and are rich in omega-3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation, prevent blood clots, support brain function and keep your heart healthy. Chia seeds can be easily added to smoothies, muesli, trail mixes and salads to beef up the nutritional value.

6. Quinoa

This gluten-free grain definitely qualifies for this list as it contains twice as many proteins as rice and 9 amino acids. It is also rich in fibre, magnesium and riboflavin. Magnesium is a powerful mineral that helps to promote healthy sleep, promotes relaxation and is required for a healthy nervous system. Quinoa also lowers cholesterol, aids weight loss, improves memory and regulates blood sugar levels. Quinoa pairs well with root veggies, such as sweet potatoes and also lentils. It is a great replacement for rice, as it’s nutritional value is far more superior.

7. Turmeric

This powerful yellow spice commonly used in curry dishes, has been the talk of the town lately, and for good reason. It originates from ancient China and India where it has long been known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. It also aids digestion, relieves arthritic symptoms, inhibits growth of cancer cells, and supports healthy brain and heart health. There is always new information coming out about the many health benefits of this powerful spice, so make sure to pick some up on your next shop.

8. Avocado

The all mighty avocado has garnered a lot of attention in recent years, and it’s fair to say it is well deserved. Avocados are high in good monounsaturated fat which helps to curb cravings, stabilise blood sugar levels, protect against heart disease and lower blood pressure. They are also a rich source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant to keep the skin and eyes healthy during the ageing process. Avocado also contains oils such as oleic acid and linoleic acid which are effective for preventing high cholesterol. If you suffer from high cholesterol, check out Dr Cabot’s book ‘Cholesterol – The Real Truth’.

9. Flaxseeds

Also known as linseeds, flax seeds can be eaten whole or ground down to make meal (LSA is a meal made up of linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds). Flaxseed also happens to be one of the most concentrated plant sources of omega-3 fats. They are also rich in antioxidants, B vitamins, fibre, protein and potassium. As they are high in omega-3s they help to lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, prevent clot formation and reduce inflammation. These powerful little seeds can be easily sprinkled on fruit, vegetables, yoghurt, granola or added to smoothies.

10. Salmon

Like other oily fish such as mackerel, tuna, sardines and herring, salmon has several health benefits due to being such a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. These benefits include improving memory and brain power, supporting healthy bones, skin, hair and nails, preventing glaucoma, aiding digestion and supporting cardiovascular health. Aim to consume oily fish at least 3 times a week to reap the many health benefits.

So, there you have it, 10 superfoods that do not break bank. Do yourself a favour and add these powerful foods to your shopping list, you will not regret it. To support healthy liver function and overall health, there is an excellent eating plan in Dr Cabot’s book I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why.

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