How to Grow Your Own Superfoods and Reap Greater Health

Did you know you can grow some of your own medicine?

It doesn’t come in a bottle or look like a pill. But it contains elements that your body can use to prevent disease and heal.

If you haven’t guessed, I’m referring to food.

Most people probably don’t consider food to be medicine. (Though, it seems that might be changing — some doctors now give patients “produce prescriptions.”)

Still, slews of studies have shown that eating certain foods can help manage blood pressure, lower bad cholesterol, boost immunity, and create other positive changes that we commonly rely on specific medications for.*

What Is a Superfood?

When it comes to health benefits, some foods have more to offer. These are known as superfoods.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a superfood as “a food…that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person’s health.”

In other words, superfoods contain an unusually high density of nutrients per serving.

17 Superfoods You Can Grow at Home

Though you’ll likely turn to the supermarket to source some superfoods, such as salmon or Brazil nuts, you can actually grow many of them yourself.

A quick disclaimer: This is an abbreviated list.

Truthfully, all fruits and vegetables have health-elevating effects. So I tried to narrow the options to a more manageable size and include only the superfoods that offer the greatest amount of nutrition per serving.

Let’s explore these foods and their benefits.

Bok choy

Loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, and folate, Bok choy is a boon for your eyes, immune system, heart, and bones.

All for only nine calories per serving!

Broccoli

Broccoli may help reduce the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke thanks to its rich supply of vitamin C and folate.

And when you grow your own, you’ll protect your budget along with your health.

Brussels sprouts

Just one cup of Brussels sprouts contains more vitamin C and vitamin K than you need in a single day (based on the daily values set by the Food and Drug Administration). So this veggie is great for your immune and cardiovascular systems.

Plus, one study found Brussels sprouts to contain more glucosinolates (bitter-tasting compounds that help fight cancer and detoxify your body) than any other vegetable.

Cauliflower

Like its close cousin Brussels sprouts, cauliflower is rich with vitamins C and K and may help fight certain cancers thanks to high levels of glucosinolates.

And eating white produce (like cauliflower) has been linked to a reduced risk of stroke.

Chard

Together with minerals manganese and magnesium, vitamins A, C, and K are responsible for making chard one of the healthiest foods you can eat.

And depending on which variety you choose to grow, the crop could add a bit of color to your garden as well.

Collard greens

A southern staple, collard greens come with a generous helping of vitamins A, C, and K, calcium, folate, and manganese.

The result? Healthier eyes, hearts, and bones.

Dandelion greens

Yes, it’s true: the weed that plagues lawns everywhere is actually edible. Not only that, it’s a superfood.

Two cups of raw dandelion greens deliver 10 times the vitamin K you need every day — 10 times! It also offers an abundance of vitamins A, B6, C, and E, calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, manganese, and much more.

Kale

Boasting more iron per ounce than beef, this fashionable food is brimming with antioxidants, fiber, and a number of other nutrients.

Fortunately, kale is also amazingly easy to grow.

Lettuce

For a long time, I believed lettuce was nutritionally lacking. And with some varieties, such as iceberg, that’s relatively true.

But — having high concentrations of vitamins A, C, and K (among other nutrients) — leaf and romaine lettuces hold their own against the other foods on this list.

Mustard greens

Can we just agree that greens are good for you?

Mustard belongs to the same family as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower. And like these foods, it’s saturated with vitamins A, C, and K, and fiber. But it’s got a few unique benefits to offer, too — such as calcium, vitamins B6 and E, iron, and potassium, to name a few.

Parsley

There aren’t many herbs on this list. But parsley definitely deserves a place here, as just one tablespoon of this powerful plant nearly meets the FDA’s recommended daily intake of vitamin K.

So whatever you do, don’t consider parsley to be nothing more than garnish.

Pumpkins

Ah, finally something that’s not green! Pumped full of vitamins A, C, and E, fiber, potassium, riboflavin, copper, manganese, and more, pumpkins are good for your eyes, skin, hair, muscles, brain, bones… pretty much everything, it seems.

And don’t forget about the seeds! They bring their own flavor of nutrition, offering protein, iron, and zinc. (That means eating pumpkin seeds may make you stronger and happier.) They also contain phytosterols, compounds believed to prevent cholesterol problems and cancer.

Red bell pepper

Did you know one bell pepper contains more vitamin C than an orange? It’s true!

Bell peppers also offer a hefty dose of vitamins A and B6, the latter of which influences important functions — sleep, appetite, mood, and more.

Spinach

Spinach can be a little tricky to grow. But it’s worth the effort.

After all, it’s got enough calcium and vitamin K to rival the bone-building effects of milk and almost as much iron as beef. Plus, it may even promote muscle efficiency. (Popeye suddenly makes sense.)

Strawberries

Beyond being a sweet treat, strawberries surge with vitamin C, manganese, copper, folate, and fiber. All this healthful stuff helps build body tissues, strengthen bones, repair free radical damage, and more. There’s even evidence eating the fruit may help manage cholesterol levels.

So what are you waiting for? Start growing your own strawberries!

Watercress

Ranked the number one most nutrient-dense food by Time, watercress contains a wealth of antioxidants and disease-fighting compounds.

Could watercress be the next kale?

Watermelon

High in vitamins A and C and low in sugar (especially for a fruit), watermelon offers a range of benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

It also contains lycopene, a carotenoid that may protect your body from UV rays.

Don’t See Your Favorite?

As I mentioned before, this list isn’t comprehensive. (In other words, tomatoes are still really good for you!)

But if you’re looking to pack your plate — and your garden — with as many nutrients as possible, the plants above won’t let you down.

A Super Easy Way to Grow Superfoods

Tower Garden’s fundamental goal is to help you grow good health. That’s why you can grow all of these 17 superfoods at once with a single Tower Garden — in less than three square feet! (Bonus: there’s no dirt involved.)

Want to learn more about how you can easily grow your own fresh, wholesome foods?

Discover Tower Garden »

 

*I’m not suggesting food can completely replace the need for medicine. You should always consult your doctor about medical decisions.

Sources
Vitamin- and mineral-related health facts: Harvard Health Publications
Food nutritional data: Sage Project

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