Health & Fitness

5 superfoods under $5

Simple supermarket foods that’re so good for you, they damn well deserve a cape.

By Louise Cheung

Quinoa, freekeh, moringa, shmoringa (all right, we made that up). Sick of the ever-growing list of superfoods that are impossible to pronounce, let alone find at your supermarket? Cosmo hears you, so we asked five nutritionists to name their number-one food that costs less than $5. And whaddayaknow? To eat well, you don’t have to spend a week’s wages at the farmers’ market.

Tumeric – Coles Ground Tumeric, 36g, $2.05.

“Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory and protects against weakening
or destruction of brain cells,” says nutritionist Cyndi O’Meara. It also contains a powerful antioxidant called curcumin, thought to prevent cancer and heart disease. Turmeric can also help prevent a build-up of “bad cholesterol” in blood vessels, and some studies indicate the spice can reduce symptoms of bacterial and viral infections.

Eggs – Pace Farm Eco Organic Free Range Eggs, 6pk, $4.75 from Woolworths.

Not only are eggs a whole food, they’re high in omega-3 fatty acids – essential for good brain function. “Eggs are a complete source of protein too, so snacking on them can help put a stop to sugar cravings,” says nutritionist Lola Berry. “They also contain inositol and choline, which can improve memory and even promote better hair growth.

Chia Seeds – Scoop&Weigh Chia Seeds at Coles, $2.69/100g.

Compared to the others here, chia seeds could be classified as a new-on-the-scene superfood. Even so, they’re inexpensive and available in most major supermarkets now – and their nutritional benefits are hard to ignore. “Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, protein, calcium, potassium, fibre and vitamin B complex,” says nutritionist Moodi Dennaoui. “They can help you to retain moisture, prevent cramps, regulate blood sugar, and aid the body’s ability to absorb nutrients.”

Oats – Coles Rolled Oats, 1kg, $3.24.

You can’t do better than oats for a heart-healthy, budget-friendly food, says Kathleen Alleaume, nutritionist and author of 10 Days to a Healthier You. “Oats contain beta-glucan – a type of fibre – phytosterols and phytates, which have cholesterol-lowering properties,” she explains. Oats are also low-GI, so they help regulate appetite. “Go for rolled oats,” says Alleaume. “The ‘instant’ varieties tend to be processed and digest a lot faster.”

Yoghurt – Chobani Plain Yoghurt, 170g, $2.10 at Coles.

A British study has shown that people who consumed a large amount of low-fat fermented dairy products – including yoghurt – were up to 24 percent less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. “Yoghurt is also low-GI and an excellent source of complete protein and calcium,” says nutritionist Ai Jerome. Go for varieties that contain cultures and acidophilus.