Superfoods You Should Be Growing
As a gardener and one who strives for eating healthy, I wondered if it would be a practical idea to grow your own superfoods?
So would it be a good idea to grow your own superfoods? If you enjoy gardening and like the idea of eating fresh and healthy here is a list of easy superfoods you should grow in your garden:
- Sweet potatoes
Which Superfoods Actually Work
Let’s understand that there is no magic bullet here. Of and by themselves the above selections are not going to cure a common cold. However, just the fact that they are healthy, and you’re going outside to physically work (exercise) in your garden on them, will have a definite up-tick on your health.
And not to mention the control you are going to have on the quality of growing something truly organic and the satisfaction of the harvest leaves little to argue about.
Superfoods can be somewhat controversial due to the fact that the Food and Drug Administration basically dismisses it to a marketing claim:
Superfood is a marketing term for food assumed to confer health benefits resulting from an exceptional nutrient density. The term is not commonly used by experts, dietitians and nutrition scientists, many of whom dispute that particular foods have the health benefits claimed by their advocates.
Marketing term or not, it’s hard to argue about the proven health benefits of those foods I listed plus some. That is a short list. I choose them because they are all easy to grow just about every where in the country.
Superfoods You Can Grow At Home
On starting to grow your own superfoods, you might want to consider starting real easy with an easy to grow item that works well in containers or a square foot garden.
Either by planting seeds directly into the soil or getting starter plants from the nurse, you can’t go wrong.
And those instructions apply to all those listed above except maybe the microgreens which I will discuss next.
One food that has received a high amount of attention time is spinach. Thanks to Popeye, it was touted as one of the first superfoods, and it’s had a stellar reputation ever since.
Spinach is hot in the natural health world with more and more people turning to help enhance their overall health and cure a number of ailments.
Superfoods And Their Benefits
Let’s look further at the benefits that nutrient-dense spinach provides so you can see why this is one food that you don’t want to be missing out on.
Low in Calories
One cup of cooked spinach provides a mere 41 calories, and there will be even fewer calories if you eat it raw. Spinach fits any diet perfectly.
Since losing weight is going to require you to decrease your overall calorie intake, adding plenty of lower calorie foods into the mix will be very important for success.
High in Antioxidants
Second, spinach is also loaded with antioxidants. It’s one of the best foods to eat to help combat free radical damage in the body, which can increase your risk for a number of different disease states.
The more antioxidant protection you have, the healthier you will feel overall.
Rich in Vitamins
If you want a nutrient-dense food, you simply cannot go wrong with spinach. This mighty green is a good source of vitamin K (providing a whopping 1110% of your daily recommended intake), vitamin A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B2, calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, tryptophan, vitamin E, copper, vitamin B1, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin B2, and selenium.
Basically, eating spinach is like taking a multivitamin.
This superfood will go a long way towards preventing you from hitting any nutritional deficiencies and making sure that you are doing your part to achieve optimal health.
Given that most people are short in iron intake, spinach is one great alternative to red meat. One cup of spinach provides over 35% of your total daily requirement for iron.
Another nice thing about spinach is that it will also promote bone health.
If you aren’t taking in much dairy products, perhaps because you are lactose intolerant or vegan, you are likely falling low in calcium intake.
Spinach is an all-natural source of calcium and vitamin K, which is also important for maintaining bone health. These two nutrients work together with vitamin D to maintain skeletal system integrity and help defend against breaks or stress fractures.
Most people only think about calcium in terms of maintaining strong bones but don’t realize that other nutrients are involved.
The greatest thing about spinach is that it can be used in so many different ways. You can use it in the most traditional way as part of a salad, or you can cook it in omelets, pasta sauces and stir fry dishes.
It’s good on a sandwich in place of lettuce, and spinach is also a popular blender addition when preparing healthy smoothies.
With a very mild flavor, spinach won’t be all that noticeable in whatever recipe you choose to include it in, making it that much more versatile of a health booster.
What Are Microgreens Good For?
Microgeens are baby plants, however they are not sprouts which contain no leaves. they are young vegetables taht are about 1-3 inches high.
They come in a variety of colors and textures and can have an aromatic flavor and are a concentrated nutriant source.
Microgreens are more similar to baby greens in that only their stems and leaves are considered edible. However, unlike baby greens, they are much smaller in size and can be harvested whole, cut up, and stored alive until ready to use.
What Microgreens Can I Grow?
Microgreens are very convenient to grow, as they can be grown in a variety of locations, including outdoors, in greenhouses and even, as I prefer, on your windowsill.
Microgreens are grown from the same seeds from which we grow herbs, vegetables or edible flowers. The only difference is that we harvest them a lot earlier in the life cycle, just before they become baby plants. Usually 7-21 days after germination.
As I mentioned above you can grow microgreens from any regular superfood seeds out there. However, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get the great results from seeds which are particularly sold for microgreens as compared to regular seeds.
In my opinion, you should only go for the seeds which are particularly sold for growing microgreens. You’ll have a better quality crop.
I use these tasty microgreen superfoods as a salad topper or on a sandwich other that bland leaf lettuce.
Growing Superfood Tips
From the above list, I mentioned blueberries. I have a post on planting those here. Remember that you have to plant two different varieties of blueberries to produce fruit. I found that out the hard way.
However, once you get going with these plants you will find yourself saving money because blueberries can get quite expensive at the market.
I also listed sweet potatoes. Don’t be afraid of growing potatoes at your place regardless of the space you have. I have a post on homegrown potatoes here and the instructions are good for sweet potatoes also.
Microgreens are easiest to grow when you buy some of the ready to use ‘kits’ available at various markets and big box stores.
Get growing and get healthy doing it!