For optimal health, aim to include as many “superfoods” in your diet as possible. What are superfoods? Foods that are jam-packed with beneficial nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, that help your body perform at its best.
While many vegetables and fruits may be considered superfoods, opt for organic produce whenever you can to reduce your exposure to harmful herbicides and pesticides. Of course, my top recommendation is to grow at least some of your own foods in your own garden. Why not start with some popular superfoods? Here are 5 you can grow in your backyard, and 2 of them you can even grow indoors if you have a sunny spot near a window:
Sprouts are some of the most nutritious vegetables you can find. Popular varieties include alfalfa, broccoli, and sunflower. Don’t be fooled by their small size… inside that tiny plant are tons of vitamins, including C, E, and K, B-vitamins, and minerals like iron, copper, and potassium.
Along with being incredibly nutritious, sprouts are easy to grow. You can use sprouting trays indoors, which take up very little space, or you can plant them outdoors, depending on the weather conditions where you live. The best thing about sprouts is that they can be grown indoors any time of year, and only need a small amount of sunlight to grow.
As always, look for organic sprouts for optimal health benefits.
If leafy greens aren’t already a staple in your diet, I suggest you take the plunge. Adding greens is among the most powerful changes you can make in your eating. One of the healthiest green foods, kale, is rich in vitamins A, C, and K, iron, protein, calcium, omega-fatty acids, and antioxidants to support your stomach, liver, and immune system health.
Kale thrives during the cold temperatures of winter because it’s hardy and crisp in texture, making it the perfect fall crop for an outdoor garden.
Another leafy green to add to your diet is spinach, a real powerhouse when it comes to antioxidants. Not only is it packed with B-vitamins, vitamins A, C, and E, minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium, and plant flavonoids for brain function, memory, and mental clarity, it’s one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin for eye health.
An outstanding garden staple, you can start planting spinach in the fall, or whenever the cooler weather starts.
Even though tomatoes are technically a fruit and not a vegetable, they are far more nutritious than most fruits. Tomatoes are rich in flavonoids and phytochemicals that promote cellular health. And they are an excellent source of eye nutrients like lutein and zeaxanthin as well as vitamins A, C, E and B-complex and minerals like magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper.
Tomatoes thrive during the long, warm summer months. If you want juicy, ripe tomatoes, make sure to plot them as early as possible during the season. Plant a couple of extra plants to harvest enough tomatoes for your own homemade tomato sauce to can or pack away in your freezer.
Fresh herbs aren’t just for flavoring dishes – they are nutritional powerhouses, many with unique medicinal properties.
- Basil, a tasty herb that’s easy to grow, provides vitamins A, C, and K, along with iron, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. It’s also loaded with flavonoids, which help promote cellular health.
- Oregano, an essential for a well-stocked, healthy kitchen, contains a strong antioxidant that’s valuable for your immune health.
- Rosemary is extremely hardy and easy to grow both indoors and outdoors. Touting a long history of potential benefits for memory, its flowering tops yield important essential oils with health-promoting benefits.
Just like sprouts, you can grow herbs in containers both indoors and out. Keep in mind, they do need large doses of sunlight to grow strong and healthy.
About the Author
Cheryl Malcham is a writer for Mercola.com. With a background in Clinical Nutrition and a driving passion for natural health, she’s always looking for ways to let nature be the guide towards a toxin-free, healthy lifestyle. Recently she wrote about how to grow your own live superfood sprouts in as little as 5 days.