From kale to quinoa, so many foods are stealing the spotlight. Just take a look at social media! It seems like there’s a new health trend every day. And while it’s easy to reach for what’s popular, there are so many underrated foods that everyone forgets about.
Obviously, it doesn’t mean those trendy health foods are less important. They simply overshadow the goodness of other nutritious grub. Start by learning about these seven underappreciated foods. By adding them to your diet, you’ll expand the potential (and tastiness) of your meals.
Low-Tier Foods That Are Very Healthy
1. Watercress Contains Calcium And Potassium
In the world of leafy greens, watercress deserves more love. One cup of chopped raw sprigs offers 41 milligrams of calcium and 112 milligrams of potassium. You’ll also get vitamins A, C, and K.1 To top things off, studies have found that watercress has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant superpowers.2
Watercress Recipe Ideas
- Mix chopped watercress into pesto.
- Add to a green smoothie for a nutritional boost.
- Toss into your favorite salad.
- Stir into soups for a vibrant touch.
2. Sesame Seeds Are Rich In Potassium And Zinc
Sesame seeds are easy to brush off. They might be tiny, but they pack a punch. Eating sesame seeds will increase your intake of folate, vitamin A, potassium, zinc, and even calcium.3
Sesame Seed Recipe Ideas
- Use to coat meatballs, fish, or chicken.
- Sprinkle onto toast.
- Stir into homemade dips, hummus, or dressings.
- Mix into bread dough or cookie batter.
- Sprinkle on top of rice dishes.
3. Dates Contain Loads Of Fiber
Many people confuse prunes with dates, but the latter is something special. Known as “nature’s candy”, dates are often used as a sweetener. They also offer fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamin A.4
Date Recipe Ideas
- Combine dates and almonds in a food processor. Add coconut oil and make a pie crust.
- Toss into a smoothie or salad.
- Blend with nut butters.
- Add to a cookie or pancake batter.
4. Liver Contains Loads Of Vitamin A
In America, organ meats are usually overlooked. It’s all about the thighs, belly, and ribs. Animal liver, however, is a highly nutritious food. One chicken liver has 5,864 IU of vitamin A, or 1752 micrograms. It also offers iron, potassium, and zinc.5
Liver Recipe Ideas
- Pair with cooked veggies and wild rice.
- Chop and mix into a hearty stew or chili.
- Slide onto skewers for tasty kebabs.
- Mix with lean ground meat and bake into a pie.
5. Parmesan Is Rich In Calcium
Hard cheeses like parmesan get a poor reputation. In moderation, they can be part of a healthy diet. One tablespoon of shredded parmesan offers 63 milligrams of calcium! And since the flavor is strong, you won’t need to use a lot. Of course, this isn’t about the stuff that comes in the bottle. Go for “real” parmesan from the artisan cheese section.6
Parmesan Recipe Ideas
- Sprinkle on top of soups and salads.
- Knead into bread dough.
- Add to breading for meat.
- Mix into hummus, homemade dressing, and dips.
6. Kimchi Is Loaded With Probiotics
Unless you regularly eat Korean food, kimchi probably isn’t on your radar. Yet, as fermented veggies, it’s jam-packed with probiotics. These “good” bacteria will keep your gut healthy. One cup of cabbage kimchi has 50 milligrams of calcium, 226 milligrams of potassium, and 65.4 micrograms of vitamin K.7
Kimchi Recipe Ideas
- Use in place of sauerkraut on burgers and sandwiches.
- Use a veggie burger ingredient.
- Top off scrambled eggs or tofu.
- Mix with rice for a simple dish.
- Stir into soups.
7. Onions Contain Folate And Niacin
Onions are so common that we forgot how healthy they are. Most people use them for flavor, without a
second thought! Yet, onions can help prevent and treat heart disease,8 the top cause of death in America. They also have potassium, folate, and niacin. Plus, with such a strong flavor, it’s less tempting to use salt.9
Some foods, like watercress and liver, might be harder to find. Keep an eye out at your local grocery. If not, you might have more luck at the health food store.
|↑1||Basic Report: 11591, Watercress, raw. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑2||Shahani, Somayeh, Farzaneh Behzadfar, Danial Jahani, Maryam Ghasemi, and Fatemeh Shaki. “Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of Nasturtium officinale involved in attenuation of gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity.” Toxicology mechanisms and methods 27, no. 2 (2017): 107-114.|
|↑3||Basic Report: 12024, Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, roasted and toasted. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑4||Basic Report: 09421, Dates, medjool. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑5||Basic Report: 05028, Chicken, liver, all classes, cooked, simmered. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑6||Basic Report: 01146, Cheese, parmesan, shredded. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑7||Basic Report: 11118, Cabbage, kimchi. United States Department of Agriculture.|
|↑8||Tang, Guo-Yi, Xiao Meng, Ya Li, Cai-Ning Zhao, Qing Liu, and Hua-Bin Li. “Effects of Vegetables on Cardiovascular Diseases and Related Mechanisms.” Nutrients 9, no. 8 (2017): 857.|
|↑9||Basic Report: 11282, Onions, raw. United States Department of Agriculture.|