Most people think they need a large garden to grow fruits and veg. But, even if you have limited space, such as an apartment, you can still grow some really great superfoods. Moreover, not only can you opt for growing your own fruits and veg organically, it often works out to be much cheaper than buying them at the store! So, what exactly is a superfood? Read on to find out.
A superfood is defined as “a food (such as salmon, broccoli, or blueberries) that is rich in compounds (such as antioxidants, fiber, or fatty acids) considered beneficial to a person's health,” according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Many superfood plants don’t require massive amounts of space to be cultivated, and don’t necessarily require full sun, meaning that many can be grown indoors. This means that, even if you only have a limited space available, you can still grow many superfoods (for example in pots inside your house or on a balcony, if you have one).
Most herbs grow extremely well in pots, can be harvested frequently, and are packed with nutrients. They’re great to have nearby when you’re cooking. You don’t necessarily need to plant them from seed (although you can if you want to), so if you don’t have the patience, buy a starter plant at your local nursery. Depending on which plant you have, you might want to put them either in shade or full-sun. Water them regularly, but remember that most herbs prefer soil to dry in between waterings. Start with flavorsome (and versatile) basil, thyme, oregano, or parsley.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and vitamin K. By growing them indoors, you will always have these superfoods on hand. They grow well indoors, although they won’t grow as large as outdoor tomatoes. Nevertheless, they will taste ten times better than supermarket tomatoes and will be more nutrient dense too.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a compound not only responsible for the heat, but also linked to a host of health benefits (like fighting inflammation, clearing congestions, and boosting metabolism and immunity). Although somewhat dependent on the variety, most are perfectly suited for a windowsill. When harvesting, store your chilies for later use by drying or freezing them.
Surprisingly, swiss chard can also be grown indoors. The upside here is that it serves both as a food source as well as an ornamental plant (how’s that for value!). They’re also packed with fiber, iron, vitamin K, and beta-carotene. They don’t have a deep root system, so small or shallow pots will be suitable to use (just remember that their leaves are quite big). The plants are quite resilient, but remember that potted plants do need slightly more water than their outdoor counterparts.
Beets are considered a superfood because they’re high in potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. They are packed with nitrites which, when consumed, convert to nitric oxide, a compound beneficial to heart health. Beets also help to fight inflammation. Beets grow well in containers, and even tolerate a bit of shade. They’re usually ready for harvest 90 days after sowing. And their green tops are edible too!