Sometimes people complain they can’t afford to eat healthy.
They keep buying fast food, processed foods, and junk foods because – so they claim – fruits and vegetables cost too much.
You can pay a lot of money for fruits and vegetables, especially if they’re out-of-season and imported.
But if you calculated how much you were paying per pound for the junk, you’d be shocked at just expensive it is.
For Example: a pack of 3 Hostess Zingers costs $2 at my local gas station, and weighs 3.81 ounces.
1 pound = 16 ounces
16 ounces / 3.81 ounces = 4.199
$2 X 4.199 = $8.39
You can buy a lot of fruits and vegetables that cost less than $8.39 per pound.
To be nice, I’m not even mentioning the obvious: Zingers contain almost nothing you could call nutritious, but do have 440 calories of sugar, enriched flour, high fructose corn syrup, palm oil, salt and other highly processed ingredients.
So, to make things fair, let’s compare what really matters: nutrition.
We enjoy the taste of sugar, salt and fat, but our bodies need protein, complex carbohydrates, essential fats, fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and various phytonutrients.
Leading Contenders for Highest Nutrition for Your Money
For just 25 cents per cup, you get the same amount of sulphurophane as 27 cups of broccoli.
Broccoli sprouts also come with another big advantage:
They’re easier to eat than broccoli, at least to my taste.
You can also make your own with a Mason jar and screen top. Soak a tablespoon of seeds overnight. Drain them in the morning, then rinse twice a day.
By day four or five, you’ll have plenty of sprouts to add to a smoothie or a salad.
You can simply buy them in bulk at the store. They’re still quite inexpensive, and less trouble.
While I find them easier to eat than broccoli, I didn’t mean they actually taste good. They’re somewhat bitter, so you will want to mix them with other greens and flavorings
A Runner-Up in the Antioxidant per Cent Standing;
Red and purple cabbage.
Regular green cabbage is great too, but red and purple cabbage contains even more antioxidants.
And it’s rich in anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are not only poweerful antioxidants, but are also anti-inflammatory.
Red/purple cabbage contains plenty of Vitamins C and B, and also the least well-known nutrient, Vitamin K.
Thanks to the Vitamin C and anthocyanins, red cabbage boosts your immune system.
It also provides important minerals, including magnesium, manganese, iron and potassium.
The potassium helps to balance out the sodium almost all Americans eat too much of, damaging blood vessels and leading in many cases to high blood pressure.
Red cabbage prevents and soothes indigestion.
Red and green cabbage, brccoli and broccoli sprouts are all cruciferous vegetables, one of the most nutritious families of plants. It also contains kale, horseradish and bok choy.
And they’re the only source of sulphoraphane, a powerful antioxidant that also helps to detoxify your body.
Many experts believe sulphoraphane plays a role in preventing cancer. According to population studies, people who eat more sulphoraphane tend to have less cancer.
It also may boost heart health by lowering inflammation.
And it reduces levels of blood sugar, making it important for people trending toward Type II diabetes.
The Cheapest Healthy Food – Officially
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the food with the most nutrients per unit cost is actually yams – sweet potatoes.
Another government agency has also closely examined sweet potatoes – NASA has chosen them for space missions.
You can tell just from the deep yellow-orange color, sweet potatoes are especially rich in beta carotene.
Their Special and Unique Protein – Sporamin – May Inhibit Cancer Growth
Sporamin makes up 80% of the protein in sweet potatoes, but is found in no other foods.
Sporamin is a protease inhibitor, which may have anti-cancer effects.
The darker the color of the sweet potatoes, the more antioxidants they contain.
When National Geographic interviewed people over age 100 for their “Blue Zone” special on Okinawa, they learned those people had consumed a large number of purple sweet potatoes in their lives.
Because of poverty, for many years purple sweet potatoes were the major staple of their diets.
Purple sweet potatoes aren’t easy to find in America, but yellow/orange ones are good too.
Ramp Up the Antioxidant Power When You Eat Them
After the yams are thoroughly cooked, just sprinkle them with cinnamon and – lightly – with cloves. Cloves have a strong taste because they too contain powerful antioxidants.
So, spice sweet potatoes to your taste – better than pumpkin pie.
And make sure you eat the skins, so you get all the nutrition.
They taste great, with their sweetness appealing to the craving for sugar.
But the nutritional value blows Zingers out of the water.
And you might pay $1 to $1.50 for an entire sweet potato – NOT $8.39 per pound!