5 Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is a treat packed with antioxidants to help lower blood pressure and keep your immune system revved up. To trick is to eat dark chocolate made up of at least 60 percent cocoa. One 1.4-ounce bar is all you need daily to garner the antioxidant effects, flavonol and polyphenols. So indulge in this inexpensive super food, but note that drinking alkalized hot dark chocolate will not give the same health benefits.
Omega-3 rich salmon eaten twice a week provides potent protection against chronic disease and fights heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids are not produced by the body and have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Salmon combines antioxidants like vitamin D, E and beta-carotene with omega-3s to enhance the immune system, fight cancer, heart disease and aid in neurological and musculoskeletal health. Salmon is fairly inexpensive, especially if you live around coastal areas where it is plentiful.
Dark, leafy green vegetables like kale provide inexpensive nutrition year round. One cup of kale adds calcium, vitamins A, C and K, copper, iron, phosphorus and manganese into your diet to help fight cancer, lower cholesterol and help with blood clotting. Although kale is highly recommended as a super food, it is important for those taking the anticoagulant drug warfarin and those with high-oxalate kidney stones to avoid kale, since it can interfere with your medication as well as raise your blood oxalate level.
U.S. blueberry consumption has nearly tripled since 2000. A cup of blueberries has about 80 calories. This miniature, blue, powerhouse super food is both high in fiber and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. It’s also a great resource for manganese and vitamin C. Studies show that blueberries not only keep your immune system healthier, but also may keep cholesterol down and your cardiovascular and digestive systems in check. Blueberries keep well refrigerated and are relatively inexpensive, especially when you buy them in bulk or grow or pick your own.
Long touted as one of nature’s perfect foods, fiber-rich bananas are low-glycemic, meaning that they digest slowly for sustainable energy. One cup packs 800 mg of potassium that aids nerve impulses and keeps your muscles from cramping. Your gut also benefits from the probiotic fructooligosaccharide and the water-soluble fiber and pectin, which aid in digestion. Got heartburn? Eat a “nana.” Bananas are natural antacids, costing an average of 59 cents a pound, making it truly an affordable super food.