Superfood is an often tossed-around word to describe nutrient-packed natural foods.
Most of these foods, however, seem to hail from some far off forest or jungle and come neatly packed in containers that need to be thrown out or recycled—they also sport a lofty price tag. Many of the whole foods found at our local farmers’ markets offer up enough dense nutrition to earn the superfood status while being more sustainably reasonable.
Below are five farmers’ market superfood finds and a few easy ways to incorporate them into our diet. Of course, the availability of these foods at our local market will vary depending upon location. Enjoy!
Raw honey is honey that has not been heated or processed in any way. It is an alkaline-forming food containing several beneficial nutrients and enzymes. Many of these nutrients are harmed or altered when processed honey is exposed to heat.
Raw honey has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It supports digestive health, strengthens the immune system, helps to ease or eliminate allergies and is helpful when applied topically to skin wounds and infections. A few ways to enjoy:
Use as a sweetener in desserts
Mix in with nuts or seeds and a pinch of sea salt for an instant sweet & salty treat
Eat by the spoonful if your body can handle concentrated sugars
For store-bought organic egg status, the laying hens must only have access to outdoors, while not actually being outdoors. These hens are typically raised in confinement and their eggs simply cannot offer the array and depth of nutrients that hens feeding on natural outdoor goods can produce.
Eggs are a storehouse of nutrients all contained in one convenient, natural package. Their yolks contain an abundant supply of many nutrients, including Vitamins A, B12 and D, riboflavin and folate and choline. We can:
Hard boil for convenient use in salads
Use for baked goods
Use to hold together homemade veggie burgers
Kale is loaded with health-promoting sulfur compounds and it has an impressive amount of antioxidants. It’s a sound source of vitamins K, A and C, as well as manganese and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, iron and potassium. All varieties of kale can be easily used in kale-strewn recipes.
Use instead of lettuce as a salad base
Sauté with garlic, olive oil and sea salt
Bake into crispy kale chips
Add to smoothies
Stir into soups and stews
True, I can’t find avocados at the local markets where I live; yet, depending on where you’re located, there’s a good chance that local markets stock plenty of them. Avocados are high in protein, enzymes, fiber, potassium, vitamin E and beautiful, mostly monounsaturated fats. They are rich, creamy and lush.
Smashed and spread on other foods
Add to smoothies for added richness
Dice on top of salads, eggs or veggie dishes
Stir in with chopped tomatoes and spices for an easy dip
Again, where you’re living will determine whether sea veggies are an easy market find. Coastal area markets are naturally going to be able to offer an array of sea veggies while inland markets won’t. Seaweed contains a phenomenal concentration of minerals. They are an excellent source of B vitamins, magnesium, iron and calcium.
Several varieties contain high levels of iodine, which is important for maintaining thyroid health. A few different varieties are Nori, Kelp, Arame, Hijiki and Dulse.
Use in sushi rolls
Crumble on top of salads or in soups
Sprinkle with sea salt and roasted for a crispy snack
Here’s to superfoods!
Apprentice Editor: Melissa Horton/ Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons