5 of the best budget superfoods

Staying healthy doesn't have to cost a fortune. BBC Good Food brings you our favourite budget-friendly superfoods to give your body a boost.

Beetroot falafel wrap

There's no need to splash the cash to pack goodness into your meals. We've compiled a list of everyday ingredients that have a similar nutritional profile to certain costly ‘superfoods’ with the help of nutritionist (MBANT) Kerry Torrens.

Swap wheatgrass for... rocket

Both these leafy greens are rich in chlorophyll, amino acids and vitamins C, E, B and K. They also contain beta-carotenes, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin (for eye health). But rocket also provides glucosinolates, which help to protect against cancer. Try our roasted carrot, rocket & lentil salad.

Swap maca powder for... purple sprouting broccoli

Maca root powder and purple sprouting broccoli both come from the cruciferous vegetable family (as do cauliflower and cabbage) and are rich in anti-cancer compounds, as well as calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin E. Including cruciferous veg regularly in your diet will help to balance hormones, especially oestrogen, and support energy levels. 

Treat yourself to a vibrant side of purple sprouting broccoli with almonds or make a meal out of it with our vibrant sesame salmon, purple sprouting broccoli & sweet potato mash.

Swap pomegranate for... beetroot

Beetroot falafel

These are both rich in antioxidants, which protect us from the damaging effects of day-to-day stressors and also help to regulate blood pressure and boost circulation. They are a source of fibre, potassium, vitamin C and B vitamins, including heart-friendly folate. The beetroot leaves are also a good source of vitamin K.

Try our recipe for these bright pink beetroot falafels and fill up on heart-friendly folate.

Swap goji berries for... cranberries

Squash salad

Both berries contain protective antioxidants, including anthocyanins, which are good for your heart and have anti-ageing properties. They also supply carotenoids, including beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A for healthy skin, eyes and a strong immune system; and lycopene, which protects the skin against UV damage.

Try this healthy cranberry and butternut squash salad, which boasts four of your five-a-day.

Swap coconut oil for... butter or ghee

Buttered squash and sweetcorn

These saturated fats are stable at high temperatures, making them good choices for cooking. However, like all fats, they should be consumed in moderation. Butter supplies some of the useful fats (medium-chain triglycerides) that coconut oil is famed for, although at lower levels.

Try our buttered sweetcorn & squash recipe to get your dose of useful fats.

This article was updated on 29 July 2020 by Tracey Raye.

Kerry Torrens is a qualified nutritionist (MBANT) with a post graduate diploma in Personalised Nutrition & Nutritional Therapy. She is a member of the British Association for Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine (BANT) and a member of the Guild of Food Writers. Over the last 15 years she has been a contributing author to a number of nutritional and cookery publications including BBC Good Food.

All health content on bbcgoodfood.com is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you have any concerns about your general health, you should contact  your local health care provider. See our website terms and conditions for more information.

How do you use your budget superfoods? Let us know in the comments below...

Comments, questions and tips

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11th Feb, 2017
- butter is loaded with cholesterol which causes heart disease, strokes and many other serious health problems. - 60% of Brits have abnormally high levels of cholesterol clogging their arteries. - cholesterol is only found in animal derived products. according to the NHS, in England 61.7% of adults are either overweight or obese and the government recently warned people to halve their dairy consumption to no more than 8% of their daily calorie intake. dairy UK was obviously appalled! so before you grab a spoon and start tucking into this "superfood" maybe question what you read, or write Miss Lienard. as the Pope recently said journalists have a moral responsibility to go the extra mile to seek the truth. spreading misleading information only harms people in the end, regardless of the story.
24th May, 2018
Reading this comment made me cringe! I'm glad WarrenJB & GoodFood's nutritionist were here to put you & your frantic rant back in their place!
26th Apr, 2017
To be honest I'm sweating more about what polyunsaturates break down to when heated, than about the saturated fat content of butter. As the Good Food team hints, you can exercise and run off fat - but can you run off benzenes? I don't think it's right to accuse the writer here of being misleading and irresponsible when they simply present recommendations (including moderation) based on updated information. I think the worst crime here is perhaps the assumption that every reader is aware of said info. Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol have been medical bogeymen for decades; but while the pendulum hasn't swung in completely the other direction, as with many situations it's turned out there are more complexities than originally thought. For a more general response to the article: you might tell I've thought a lot about heat-stable fats lately. I coincidentally bought a pot of ghee today, because I'm coming to the end of a jar of coconut oil. (used in moderation!) So... that's good. Although I'm also looking with interest at groundnut oil, and the high monounsaturated fat content of goose and duck fat, now that supermarkets seem to sell it year-round, not just for Christmas roasties. I wonder if that sees much use as a general frying fat? I'm fond of rocket and cranberries so pleased to see those up there. I've never heard of maca powder, so I won't miss it. Though when it comes to crucifers I still prefer sprouts over broccoli!
goodfoodteam's picture
15th Feb, 2017
Thank you for your comment. We have discussed this with our nutritionist who offers the following response: Although cholesterol gets a lot of bad press we should remember that it is essential for the normal functioning of the body – for example it’s important for hormone manufacture and for vitamin D synthesis, for maintaining a sharp memory and for the production of bile acids which help us digest the fat we eat. It’s thought that 75% of our cholesterol is actually made by our liver, but, as you say, it can also be found in some foods. That said, dietary cholesterol as the NHS site http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Cholesterol/Pages/Causes.aspx says “has little effect on our blood cholesterol”. Rather it is thought to be the saturated fat in our diets that may influence cholesterol levels combined with poor lifestyle factors like a lack of exercise, being overweight, consuming too much sugar and refined carbs, smoking and drinking too much alcohol as well as our genetic disposition – some families being prone to hypercholesterolaemia. So although, as you rightly say butter supplies dietary cholesterol, this is not considered an issue for blood cholesterol; rather it’s the saturated fat it contains which is thought to be more relevant. That said butter actually contributes less saturated fat per 100g (52.1g) than the superfood, coconut oil (86.5g), we have suggested you swap. And as Sarah rightly advises, “like all fats, these saturates should be consumed in moderation.” With regards, Public Health England halving the amount of dairy foods represented on the Eatwell Plate two main reasons have been cited for this change – firstly, it was in recognition that we obtain calcium from other foods in our diet and secondly it ties in with the sustainability message of choosing more plant-based protein foods for environmental reasons. Finally, you may be interested to know that there are additional advantages to butter over coconut oil - it’s a good source of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and D and is a source of gut-friendly butyrate. Finally, it’s fair to say that our knowledge and understanding of dietary fat and its impact on our health appears to be undergoing advancement. As this interesting study concludes there is more for us to discover about the health effects of dairy fats including butter https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27355649
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