Guest Post: Yummy superfoods that don’t break the bank

With everyone talking about how “superfoods” can accelerate weight loss, improve digestion, enhance mood, and boost your overall health, it’s no wonder we’re all looking for ways to incorporate these seemingly magical ingredients into our own diets. However, the hefty price tag that often accompanies these superfoods can make them somewhat inaccessible for most of us – and usually, they’re not the tastiest options out there.

The idea that these foods are “super” is mainly just a marketing term. Generally, these foods are nutrient-dense foods that are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties – but a lot of these can be found in everyday foods. This means that there are some delicious superfoods that you can pick up at your own grocery store – without breaking the bank.

Quinoa
This complex carbohydrate is slightly pricier than rice or barley, but can be found at nearly every supermarket – and is getting more and more affordable. With a higher protein and fibre content than many other grains, quinoa is a great alternative to other carbohydrates that may cause your blood sugar to spike due to increased levels of glucose.
Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a perfect substitute for butter or vegetable oils, providing a substantial amount of healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties. Use it in cooking, use it as a salad dressing, and use it in sauces – this superfood is versatile, delicious, and relatively inexpensive.
Oats
Not only are oats low on the glycemic index, but they contain plenty of soluble fibre – which helps keep you satisfied as they are digested more slowly to stabilize your blood sugar and keep cravings at bay. Oats also contain plenty of beta-glucan, which studies show can help lower cholesterol.
Legumes
Incorporating legumes like kidney beans*, chickpeas, and lentils into your regular diet can contribute to steady weight loss. With plenty of protein, fibre, iron, magnesium, potassium, and folate, legumes make a perfect addition to salads, casseroles, and soups. You can also mash them for an alternative to potatoes.*[NB: Please note that it’s important to cook legumes, in particular kidney beans, by boiling in water for at least 10 minutes before eating to destroy the toxins present in the beans. After cooking, they can safely be eaten cold in salad. Canned beans are already cooked, so can be used straight out of the can. ed.]
Avocado
The healthy fats in avocados makes this superfood great for your heart, brain, and skin. The smooth, satisfying texture of avocado makes it perfect to use on whole grain bread instead of margarine or butter, and you’ll be getting plenty of monounsaturated fatty acids, potassium, fibre, and vitamin E.

Walnuts

Toss a handful of walnuts on cereal, salads, and even in desserts for a little extra vitamin E, folate, antioxidants, and polyunsaturated fats. They’ve also been studied for their effect on emotions and mood, making this superfood especially essential for people who struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.
Apples
Full of antioxidants and fibre and low on the glycemic index, apples are one of nature’s perfect superfoods – but be sure to leave the skins on to receive this fruit’s full health benefits. They’re great in desserts, in salads, and even in savoury recipes, but nothing beats the satisfying crunch of biting into a fresh apple for a mid-day snack.
Oranges
Everyone knows oranges are a fantastic source of vitamin C, but these delicious superfoods also pack a hefty amount of fibre, folate, potassium, and thiamin. Citrus fruit in general can help protect against stroke and heart disease thanks to the impact it has on blood vessel function – so mix it up and incorporate some grapefruits and lemons in your diet, as well.
Blueberries
You don’t need to hunt down pricey acai berries to boost your health with a superfood – regular blueberries will do the trick! These potent antioxidants are rich in manganese, copper, and fibre, as well as vitamins K and C. They’re an easy snack, but they’re also great in salads, yogurt, or even blended into a smoothie.
Fresh herbs
You can find all kinds of different herbs at the supermarket, and none of them will break the bank. Not only will they add all kinds of delicious flavour to your meals, they’ll add a ton of antioxidants, too.

You don’t have to spend a fortune at the health food store to eat a healthy, nutritious diet. Instead, take this list with you to your regular grocery store and look for some of these ingredients. Remember that the main key to a healthy diet is variety, so feel free to mix it up and try a different superfood each day. These yummy options will keep you looking forward to your next meal – and your next helping of a nutrient-dense, antioxidant-packed superfood.

This article was written by Sam Socorro from Clearwells. She has over 10 years’ experience in writing health related topics and specializes in the health benefits of saunas and hydrotherapy.


Green glass bottle, 10ml with pipette

Guide to aromatherapy carrier oils

Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy

Green glass bottle, 10ml with pipette

You will need at least one mixer bottle made of colored glass

This guide to aromatherapy carrier oils (also called base oils) explains the differences between the most popular oils to help you choose the right one when creating a blend for massage or any other use where it will be applied directly to the skin.

There are many carrier oils available with which to dilute your essential oils. They range from the inexpensive, such as grapeseed and sweet almond oils, to the costly, such as apricot kernel and avocado oils.

Some carrier oils have properties in themselves and are used on their own outside aromatherapy. Sweet almond oil is sometimes used as a basic massage oil, for example, and avocado oil is used to treat dry skin.

Although single carrier oils are normally used, sometimes you may wish to mix them, for example, avocado oil works well mixed with one of the lighter oils, which will also help to reduce the cost.

Some of the carrier oils are:

Sweet almond oil, available in many drug stores, though you may have to ask for it at the counter. This is the oil used by many beginning aromatherapy and is a good general purpose carrier oil with a pleasant neutral scent. It’s the best oil to use on young children and babies. Good for relieving itching, soreness, dry, inflamed or wrinkled skin and for nourishing, softening and revitalizing all skin types. Organic sweet almond oil is also available.

Grapeseed oil is cheap and cheerful. My local supermarket sells big bottles of it alongside the other edible oils. Grapeseed oil is fine for general use, but as it has a short shelf life, it’s best to reserve it for blends which are to be used up within a few weeks.

Wheatgerm oil has a strong smell of its own unless you buy the refined variety and should never be used on its own; add a small quantity to a lighter oil to make a blend when treating premature aging of the skin, eczema and psoriasis. Not suitable for children or anyone suffering from Dermatitis herpetiformis, celiac disease, Lyme disease or any auto-immune condition.

Olive oil is another oil which can be used; use the lightest variety to avoid the overpowering aroma of olives in extra virgin and other full strength olive oil. Olive oil is particularly useful for scalp and hair treatments.

Jojoba oil is a good choice. It is in the expensive range, but has a long shelf life. It does give a lovely finish to the final mixture, so is worthwhile using if you are creating a gift for a friend, perhaps. Jojoba oil is good for any skin, even inflamed, dry or mature skin and can safely be used on skin affected by eczema, psoriasis or acne.

Avocado oil is another of the more expensive oils, available in two types: refined and unrefined. The refined oil is odorless and has a longer shelf life than the unrefined. Avocado oil is particularly useful for dry and dehydrated skin.

Finally, apricot kernel oil, and in particular organic apricot kernel oil is used for anti-ageing. It used to be very expensive but has come down in price in recent years. It can be used on all types of skin, especially elderly, inflamed and dry skin. Because it is light and easily absorbed, apricot kernel oil is particularly good for use on the face.

All of these are available in my online store, along with a few more!

There are other oils, but this is a good representative selection.

Having chosen your carrier oil, you should pour a measured quantity into a dark colored bottle and add the right quantity of your chosen essential oil/s.

As a broad rule of thumb the amount of essential oil to be added is calculated by dividing the quantity in ml by two. So if you had 10ml of carrier oil, you could add a total of up to 5 drops of essential oil – using a single oil or more than one to make a blend.

Even if you are using more than one essential oil, the total number of drops added should not be more than you have calculated (1 drop for every 2ml of carrier oil or as specified if you are using a published recipe). Having added your oil, replace the cap and shake to mix the essential oil with the carrier oil before use.