5 Alternatives to Trendy Superfoods That Are Just as Healthy
Eat sesame seeds instead of chia seeds
Chia seeds are everywhere these days: drinks, bars, crackers, jams, you name it! There’s no doubt they’re good for you, but if you can’t seem to jump on the chia bandwagon (or you’ve just grown tired of them), go for sesame seeds instead. While they don’t pack the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids as chia seeds, research has shown that they boost blood levels of antioxidants, plus lower overall and “bad” LDL cholesterol in people who have high levels.
And like chia seeds, sesame seeds are rich in magnesium—packing over 30% of your daily needs per quarter cup. This mineral is crucial for muscle, nerve, and immune function, along with regulating heart rhythm, blood pressure, and blood sugar. It also contributes to the structural development of bone, and is needed to make DNA.
Eat chickpeas instead of quinoa
These days it seems everyone is crazy for quinoa, a star of the whole grain family. But believe it or not, you can get similar nutritional benefits from chickpeas. Like quinoa, chickpeas are naturally gluten-free and provide a unique balance of fiber-rich “good” carbs and plant-based protein.
For the sake of comparison, here’s the breakdown: a half cup of cooked quinoa supplies about 20 grams of carbs, 2.5 grams of fiber, and 4 grams of protein, while the same amount of chickpeas has 17 grams of carbs, 5 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein. Both also contain minerals and antioxidants, and can be eaten hot, chilled, or in flour form.
Eat cranberries instead of goji berries
Goji berries became popular largely due to their exotic nature; the fact that they are used in Chinese medicine to enhance immunity; and because they reportedly have high levels of antioxidants. However, many people find goji berries to be too bitter. Additionally, since they’re a member of the nightshade family, some people avoid them for fear of inflammatory symptoms.
For similar immunity benefits, you can eat cranberries. One study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that polyphenol antioxidants from cranberries boosted cells’ immune response to cold and flu. Plus the classic advice that cranberries help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) is actually true. In one recent University of Wisconsin study, 20 womenprone to UTIs consumed one serving (about 1.5 ounces) of sweetened dried cranberries daily. Within six months, the mean UTI rate among subjects decreased significantly.
Eat kalettes instead of kale
Among my clients, I find that most who dislike kale have had unpleasant experiences with the raw greens, either in salads or green juices. Cooking, however, brings out an entirely different and sweeter flavor profile. The texture totally changes too: Kale becomes crispy when baked and softer when sautéed, added to soups, stir frys, or frittatas.
But if you’re still not loving kale, kalettes are a great alternative. A (non-GMO) kale-Brussels sprout hybrid, they have a sweeter, nuttier flavor. Less bitter and earthy than kale, kalettes offer similar protective nutrients, including ample amounts of vitamins K and C and antioxidants.
Eat cabbage instead of cauliflower
Cauliflower recently stepped into the limelight, with headlines like “Move Over Broccoli, Cauliflower is the New It Food!” and Pinterest posts galore dedicated to cauliflower pizza crust, cauliflower rice, even cauliflower buffalo wings. But if you’re just not into cauliflower, opt for cabbage instead. They are both cruciferous veggies, which are known to be potent immune supporters, natural detoxifiers, and defenders against both heart disease and cancer.
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