Get supercharged on the cheap
We all want to stay healthy and the key to good health is a good diet, but what exactly is a good diet?
Each year a new gang of ‘Superfoods’ rise to fame and are hailed as the answer to everything, from staving off cancer to making you smarter.
The problem is that when a food’s popularity rises, so does its price tag. The truth of the matter is though, that there are plenty of alternatives which are just as beneficial to your health as these ‘now’ foods – and they can be up to ten times cheaper.
Don’t waste your wages on wheatgrass.
Hannah Gunn presents some of this year’s most fashionable foods and their equally healthy, yet far less pricey, alternatives;
KALE FOR SPINACH
Kale: £6.00 per kg
Spinach: £4.00 per kg
Ditch: Kale. Kale sales have shot up by 60% since 2006 and we can be pretty certain that isn’t because it’s become better for our health.
In fact its sprout in popularity is the result of a clever marketing campaign when ‘The American Kale Association’ – it’s a thing – asked a PR agency to big up its product.
Now here we are, in a world where people wear t-shirts which simply state ‘Kale’ on the front.
Ok, kale is good for you but so are most other green leafy vegetables.
Pick Up: Spinach. It might be so five minutes ago but its many healthy properties have never changed.
You can do all the same things with spinach that you would with kale; put it in salads, smoothies, whatever you feel like plus it has just as many antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as its cooler cousin.
COCONUT FOR RAPESEED OIL
Coconut oil: £2.00 per 100ml
Rapeseed oil: 13p per 100ml
Ditch: Coconut oil. Lately, everyone is all about the coconut; we’re drinking its water, frying with it even putting it in our hair.
But while coconut oil is highly beneficial to health, there are other oils out there which can do exactly the same and at no extra financial cost.
Pick up: Rapeseed oil, which in fact has better credentials than coconut in terms of health, with nearly 15 times less saturated fat (the fat you don’t want) and double the monounsaturated fat (the fat you do want) than coconut oil.
It also does a better job of burning off bad fats, lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease.
Tick, tick, tick! It’s far cheaper too. Tick!
COCONUT WATER FOR PLAIN WATER
Coconut water: £3.49 per Litre
As a quick side note, while we’re on the topic of coconuts, let’s just dispel a myth.
Coconut water claims to be better for you and more hydrating than boring old water (who needs it?).
And despite the fact that this has some truth behind it, unless you are an athlete or someone who regularly participates in strenuous exercise, water will suffice.
In truth, the claims that coconut water has any real benefits over water are extremely lacking.
Just turn on the tap.
QUINOA FOR LENTILS
Quinoa: £6.00 per kg
Lentils: £4.00 per kg
Ditch: Quinoa, an ancient crop once grown by the ‘Inca’ people is another food which has been labelled ‘super’.
The high levels of plant protein it contains have been said to be able to make you super-charged, providing an endless bout of energy.
Though it would be a dream come true if this was the case, sadly it isn’t.
A handful will probably provide you enough energy for a small run rather than turning you into Forest Gump.
Pick up: A handful of lentils, which have double the protein, iron and more Vitamin B.
So if you’re seeking endless energy they are a better bet – ok you probably won’t make it round the world armed only with your strong spirit and a cup of lentils but you can save about £2 and that’s something.
GOJI BERRIES FOR BLACKCURRANTS
Goji berries: £17.50 per kg
Blackcurrants: £7.50 per kg
Ditch: Goji Berries, native to China and used in Chinese medicine for 6000 years, are also known as ‘Wolf Berries’ – no explanation as to why though, perhaps just to make them a bit more mysterious?
These little berries have been branded as the cure to most things you can think of – boosting your immune system, helping with weight loss, they’re even said to help with erectile dysfunction (again no real explanation for this one).
Unfortunately once again these claims don’t seem to have much basis – most trials which have been done have been inconclusive and there’s no concrete evidence for the benefit of these expensive ‘miracle’ berries.
Pick Up: Just when you thought all hope was lost, enter blackcurrants! There are actual studies which prove that they help with a variety of illnesses including asthma and urinary tract infections.
They can also improve digestion and contain four times the vitamin C of oranges, as well as astonishing levels of antioxidants which help with everything from preventing cancer to fighting off ageing.