While the term “Super Food” does not have an exact definition, it has generally come to be understood as any highly nutritious food that is full of antioxidants, heart-healthy vitamins, and immune-boosting qualities. At first, you may think that these foods must be exotic like sea kelp and quinoa, or that they must be expensive. But the truth is that many superfoods are inexpensive and common. Some can be grown right in your backyard! With that in mind, here are some of our picks for superfoods you can grow at home, as well as some gardening tips for growing them.
Super Foods You Can Grow in Your Backyard
Kale, bok choy, mustard greens, and collards are not only commonplace, but they are also easy to grow in temperate climates. Some you can even grow during the winter months. These dark greens are rich in vitamin A, C, and K as well as containing antioxidants. These tend to grow best in early spring and early summer in well-drained, light soil.
These tasty little morsels are not only delicious — they also pack a mighty punch when it comes to nutrition. They are ridiculously nutritious! Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, zinc, collagen, and so much more. They can help with inflammation, high blood pressure, and skin health all while tasting great. Blueberries do best in slightly acidic soil, and if you plant them at the optimal time in early spring, you could be munching happily by mid-summer!
These more nutritious substitutes for white potatoes may be the easiest thing on our list to grow. They are full of vitamins and minerals and can help to quell your sweet tooth with something healthy. Even though they like the heat, sweet potatoes can be grown just about anywhere and only require watering regularly to thrive.
These purple wonders are rich in fiber as well as high in antioxidants and folate. They’ve also been recognized as an anti-inflammatory and provide a decreased risk of heart disease. These hardy beauties are also easy to grow anywhere and can even stand winter climates.
This member of the cabbage family is rich in vitamins and minerals as well as beta-carotene. One great thing about broccoli is that it can be grown during the winter — although it does prefer spring and fall. An interesting note about broccoli: You can cut the florets from the plant while leaving the stalk, then go back at a later time and find that more florets have grown!
Not only are pumpkins chock full of beta-carotene, which has been used to help prevent certain diseases, but their seeds are super healthy as well. Pumpkins and winter squash are easy to grow and they thrive in full sunlight.
Because of depleted soils, and the fact that many commercial tomatoes are grown hydroponically, most tomatoes you can buy at the grocery store don’t have the full flavor compared to when you grow your own. These beauties contain Lycopene and essential C, A, and B6 vitamins. You’re going to need to put in a little extra effort because tomatoes grow on a vine. So you need to provide them with stakes or fencing to grow on, lots of sun, and well-drained soil.
Because they are so high in protein, they can be considered either a vegetable or protein. Peas are also rich in iron, which is why many experts suggest you make them part of your daily diet. These are also easy to grow and only require that you water them sparingly.
If you have space and want to add to your landscaping with something beautiful and nutritious, then planting an apple tree is a great investment. Yes, it will take a while to grow, but once the tree starts producing its vitamin-rich fruit, the average tree will create more apples than most people could eat in a year.
While we’re on the subject of plants that will enhance your landscaping, how about sunflowers?
Not only are they gorgeous and help attract pollinators, but they are also incredibly hearty with seeds that are full of magnesium, copper, and vitamins E and B1.
Figs are another superfood that grows on trees but is often overlooked because they have such a short shelf-life. This is why you can only usually find them dried or canned. Figs survive better in the mid to southern regions of the United States.
Cabbage contains high levels of sulfur, which is beneficial for fighting inflammatory conditions. The red and green varieties are hearty and do well in most climates.
Carrots are another vegetable that is easy to grow and is high in carotene which, among other things, fights the natural effects of aging. The great thing about growing carrots is they are a cold-season crop and can be harvested well after the first frost.
Zucchini is another one of those vine plants that require a stake or fencing on which to grow. However, the fact that they are high in several key vitamins and full of antioxidants makes them worth the effort. Once you get them started, they are extremely easy to grow, and a mature plant will crank out hundreds of fruits each season.
Like them or not, Brussels Sprouts are good for you and they are packed with sulforaphane and vitamin C. These are easy to grow and produce sprouts in about 90 days. They like minimal heat, so they are good if you live in a cool environment. If you’re not in a cool environment, you should plant them in early spring. Also, plant them at least 24 inches apart, because Brussels Sprouts can grow quite large.
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