If you’re like us you are always hearing about the next big Superfood and how great they are for our health. If you have not heard of superfoods before the term simply refers to foods that are nutrient dense, meaning they are packed with good-for-you compounds. Superfoods are great and we completely agree we should eat more of them, however, sometimes these foods are so obscure we’ve never even heard of them, or they are hard to find and can only be found in a powdered version somewhere, if we’re lucky. (I’m lookin’ at you Acai, Maca, and Mangosteen!) So what can we do to get superfoods into our daily routine without spending a fortune and/or settling for a powdered, and potentially more processed, alternative to the fresh stuff? We GROW THEM OURSELVES. That’s right, we’ve got a great list of Superfoods that can be grown, by you, in your own backyard!
Before we get into the superfoods themselves let’s talk gardening. There’s 2 ways to start growing your plants: either from Seed Packets (cheaper, but more work) or from a Seedling (more expensive, but better chance of success) and both can be purchased at most hardware stores with a gardening section as well as plant nurseries and gardening specific stores. Both will typically come with instructions telling you where to plant (full sun, partial, shade), how much space it will need, what zone it grows best in (a quick google search will tell you your zone) and any other important instructions. Other than that it’s just keeping your garden watered and keeping the weeds at bay until it’s time to harvest your very own SUPERFOODS!
Parsley – This guy is so much more than a garnish, add it to salads, smoothies, and summer pestos. An all-time favorite use for parsley is Chimichurri sauce, an herb heavy sauce that is amazing on steak, veggies and just about anything from the grill this summer. Parsley is full of Vitamin C, B12, A, & K and can help relieve joint pain, strengthen bones, and the aids the nervous system.
Kale – There’s always recipes popping up for new things to use kale for so why not grow your own? Kale is loaded with fiber and antioxidants and even helps to fight cancer and absorb free radicals.
Pumpkins – These guys are harvested a little later in the season so we can continue to reap our homegrown benefits well into the fall! Pumpkins contain fiber, potassium, and vitamin C which all support heart health. Potassium is especially helpful in regulating healthy blood pressure and reducing hypertension. They can be roasted like any other squash and as we all know they make a great pie!
Rainbow Chard – Any variety of Chard is great but in terms of WOW-factor Rainbow Chard is the winner, hands down with it’s gorgeous multi-colored stalks. Chard is packed with Vitamins A, C and K as well as magnesium, potassium, iron and dietary fiber. Prepare chard any way you would kale it is very similar in taste and texture just less bitter.
Microgreens – Those of you that don’t have a backyard garden or simply want to keep things indoors can give growing microgreens a try. These are usually a mix a greens and herbs and are harvested in just 14 days! The short grow period means the vitamins and minerals are more concentrated in the teeny plants (up to 6X more good stuff!) compared to the full size plant. These are delicious in salads and are best raw.