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The Superfood Showdown: Which Superfood is the Best Bang for Your Buck?

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When I was at a gourmet grocery store recently, I was surprised by a woman holding a pink Birkin bag demanding a return, in a high-pitched tone, for her $2.99 pomegranate because it was “too sour.” So, I thought, “Demanding, isn’t she?” But as I approached the cashier counter, the total of my groceries came out to be $278.80. What? I only bought a pound of Chinese goji berries, freeze-dried acai powder from Brazil, lucuma powder from Peru, Aceto Balsamico from Modena, organic blueberries, kale, spirulina, chia seeds…well, okay, maybe a bit too much gourmet “superfoods” for my pantry. After deeper thoughts, perhaps that $2.99 pomegranate was a bit too sour for the price. While the cashier was giving me the look as I was hesitantly pulling out my credit card, one thing came to mind:

I was spending too much on “superfoods.” I needed to streamline my groceries.

Rather than spending $17.49 on freeze-dried acai powder, why don’t I spend $4.99 on fresh organic blueberries instead? With my new-found inspiration, I selected 5 top superfoods in terms of nutrients and usability in recipes and narrowed down to the final winner, which you could easily use at home and at work while staying sane with your grocery budget. Each superfood will receive a rating out of 5 for its attributes, until we narrow it down to the very best superfood of all!

Kale

Nutrition and Benefits (5/5):

  • Strong cancer preventive benefits given high concentration of carotenoids and flavonoids.
  • High in Vitamin K and C, just 1 cup of kale includes more than your RDA of vitamin K, promoting bone growth, and vitamin C, protecting free radicals and helping our body produce collagen.

 Usability (4/5):

  • Very Versatile. You can use kale in salads, bake it as kale chips, cook it in soup, or use it in yummy strawberry & kale smoothies.
  • If you’re in the office, you can pre-pack a kale salad before work. Or you can whip up a smoothie with kale before your commute.

Verdict:

  • Arguably the best superfood, but you may need a bigger container, hence bigger bag, to carry kale with you if you’re commuting. You also have to prewash your greens.
  • You can’t easily use kale, like you can with the other superfoods on the list, in desserts. Read on…

Spinach

Nutrition and Benefits (4/5):

  • High in vitamin K and A, though kale contains a higher amount of such nutrients.
  • High in minerals such as manganese, folate, magnesium and iron, more so than kale.
  • Supports bone health given high manganese content, which works together with vitamin K to bind calcium ions in the bone.
  • Kale still wins, though spinach comes very close.

Usability (4/5):

  • Very versatile. You can also use spinach in dips, salads, and smoothies. I haven’t tried spinach chips, though I presume kale chips may taste better given its crunchy texture.
  • Like kale, storage and transportation needs pre-planning and some effort, hence, 1 star.

Verdict:

  • Comes close enough to kale as a superfood, but still not the best.

Blueberries

Nutrition and Benefits (5/5):

  • High in vitamin K, manganese and C, also contain anthocyanins, antioxidant (beautifying and healthy) pigments that give the fruit the blue shade.
  • Termed The Vision Fruit to prevent age-related macular degeneration.
  • Prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Regulate blood sugar.
  • Assist in muscle recovery after exercise given cardiovascular benefits.

Usability (5/5):

  • Very Versatile. You can use blueberries in smoothies, many desserts, and salad.
  • Easy to carry, store, and eat at work – you can just pop a few in your mouth when you’re driving!
  • In terms of storage and transportation, blueberries beat kale and spinach hands-down.

Verdict:

  • If you love desserts, blueberries win! But…they’re still not the best of the best superfoods because blueberries do not contain much protein.

Avocados

 Nutrition and Benefits (4/5):

  • High oleic acid and omega-3 content, great for cardiovascular health
  • Low-sugar while containing high amount of dietary fibre, pantothenic acid (to regulate metabolism), and vitamin K (for bone health)

 Usability (5/5):

  • Extremely Versatile. You can use avocado in many dessert recipes, salads, and main courses. Better yet, eat avocados raw with a drizzle of olive oil, grape must, and a pinch of Himalayan salt – great post-workout treat!
  • Easy to store and transport. It beats kale because you can’t always use kale and spinach in desserts like pudding, raw cakes, or mousse.
  • Easy to eat. You don’t really need to thoroughly wash the avocado like you have to for other greens. You can just peel off the skin and you can eat the meat. What if you have toothache and can’t munch? Avocados win.

Verdict:

  • Nutritional powerhouse but can be dense in calories given avocadoes’ high fat content. Even though avocado fats are great for us, you don’t want to eat too much if you’re watching your weight.
  • Arguably best superfood, but avocadoes are not complete protein.

Chia Seeds:

 Nutrition and Benefits (5/5):

 Usability (5/5):

  • Extremely versatile. You can eat chia raw, or use chia seeds in almost anything, be it in desserts, main courses, salads and smoothies!
  • Extremely easy to carry and transport. You can keep a box of chia at work, at home, and your car!
  • Extremely easy to eat. You can eat the seeds straight out of the bag, swallow the seeds with water if you’re in a hurry, or sprinkle the seeds on your meals, desserts, smoothies last minute with no pre-planning.

Verdict? Chia wins! Chia is:

  • A complete protein source – Beats avocados.
  • Easy to carry and store. No need to wash. It is effortless to incorporate the seeds in your diet daily.
  • Extremely versatile. Most of the other superfoods are only applicable to desserts or salads/main meals, and hardly any are versatile across snacks, main courses, salads and desserts.
  • Easy to eat. You can swallow the seeds without chewing them. You don’t need to peel them; you can just eat the seeds straight out of the bag. Perfect if you’re in a hurry.
  • Not needed in excess. 1-2 tablespoon per day will do the trick.

So, what about you? What’s your pick for the most super of all superfoods?

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0 comments on “The Superfood Showdown: Which Superfood is the Best Bang for Your Buck?”

Click to add comment
Evan Wellens
3 Years Ago

How is flax seed not here ?


Reply
Nicole Lana Lee
20 Apr 2014

Evan,

Great point. I thought chia seeds were a better choice since they are a complete protein. They also have higher fiber, calcium, and phosphorus content I believe



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