Whether you want to save yourself from those high price tags some superfoods can tote, or are just looking to grow more of the food you eat, this guide gives you a description of some of our favorite superfoods and how to grow them at home, some in as little as seven days!
From easy plants that you can grow without any gardening knowledge, to a couple green thumb club options for the avid gardeners out there… these superfoods are perfect to grow at home!
*Find detailed instructions for planting in the link below each paragraph.
(Gardening degree of difficulty: Easy, sprouts in 1-2 weeks)
Remember as a kid when you’d come home and check your Chia pet, to see if any green “hair” had started to sprout? Well as it turns out, you can enjoy them just as much as an adult, and as a bonus… You get to eat them! Chia seeds have been around since Aztec times and have been used all over the world. Chia translated means strength and that’s exactly what the Aztecs used them for. Food, medicine, oil, and even supernatural powers were some of the different ways this culture utilized the seed.
Today, we recognize them as a superfood containing high levels of fiber, Omega-3 fatty acid, and supercharging your immune system. Most people eat them as a seed, but they also grow as sprouts that have more nutritional value. To plant Chia seeds you can either order a fun Chia pet (the company does not use any pesticides or fertilizers), or buy seeds and use a non-glazed terracotta planter. With little maintenance and a quick grow time, these sprouts are perfect for the busy athlete who wants fresh greens without any hassle!
(Easy, sprouts in 1-2 weeks)
Microgreens have popped up on the scene in recent years as a trendier alternative to sprouts. They pack quite the flavor punch and the variety is huge! Ranging from veggies like broccoli, radishes or beets, to leafy greens such as arugula and kale. They are filled to the brim with nutrition as well. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture concluded that, “In general, microgreens contained considerably higher levels of vitamins and carotenoids—about five times greater—than their mature plant counterparts.” The best part is, these micro plants can grow just about anywhere, perfect for that empty spot on your window sill. They can grow in small containers and only require sun and a bit of water to sprout up extremely quickly. If you’re looking for an easy way to grow a variety of flavorful greens, micro greens should be your go to!
(Difficult, 3-5 months)
To grow these at home will require a bit of planning, so make sure to get started early into the gardening season! Sweet potatoes can help with bone strength, stress relief, anti-inflammation, and a plethora of other ailments. Hailed by some as the most delicious superfood in the world, you can use these pretty potatoes in sweet and savory dishes, making them one of the most versatile superfoods.
You can start planting either indoors or outdoors, depending on location. Sweet potatoes like it hot, so if you start planting outside making sure to plant four weeks after the last spring frost. If you’re starting indoors you will keep the plants inside for 12 weeks before moving them outside to mature fully. With health benefits galore and a great range of cooking options, (sweet potato fries anyone?) these are definitely well worth the wait!
(Easy, 6 weeks for seedlings 3-5 yrs fruit)
We are a country obsessed with avocados. There’s avocado toast, egg rolls, ice cream, and now there is even an entire Brooklyn restaurant dedicated just to avocados! Superfood may be an understatement for the avocado which boasts 20 different vitamins in only a single ounce, a good source of healthy fat, and one of the best natural foods for your skin. It’s pretty easy to see why the avocado craze has taken the nation by storm. Luckily you can have your own avocado factory right at home.
For those of you who never dabbled in seventh grade science, avocados are one of the easiest fruits (yes, they are indeed a fruit) to grow at home. Simply pull out an avocado seed, stick a couple of tooth picks in it, leave it partially submerged in a halfed soda bottle filled with water, and in around six weeks you will have seedlings to start your very own Avocado plant! While the actual fruit may not appear for three to five years, it’s a worthwhile and easy endeavor for anyone who can’t get enough of this popular superfood.
(Medium, 5-7 months)
Pomegranates are one of our favorite superfoods, vivacious in both color and taste! Eating pomegranates on a regular basis can help with inflammation, lower your risk of heart disease, and may even help improve running performance! It’s most commonly consumed as seeds, juice, or mixed into other fruit drinks. This supple fruit grows on trees, and is a dream plant for those not looking to spend a lot of time or energy on gardening. You can grow them either inside in as a potted plant, or enjoy as a tree outside. They also require very little water, making them a cinch for anyone looking for plants they won’t have to dote on. Having a backyard full of superfood and having to do barley any work? Sign us up!
(Medium, 3-4 months)
They’re the perfect on the go food, but these little seeds are much more than a baseball players snack. Packed with folate, vitamin E, and about 15 other nutritional benefits, sunflower seeds will get you up and going with a smile. Planting sunflower seeds is easy and inexpensive, plus you get a room full of beautiful yellow flowers! Planting can start inside or out, but you must wait until a couple weeks after the last frost. Seeds will develop about three to five months after planting, and are usable up to a year after harvest if frozen. If you’re feeling adventurous, the whole plant is actually edible!
(Easy, 1-2 years)
Besides being a garnish on your favorite pool side beverages, pineapples are also one of the best tropical superfoods. They provide immune system support, keep your digestion on track, and can even help reduce the risk of macular degeneration (protection for your peepers)! Who would have thought that you could also grow this island fruit from the comfort of your own home, no matter where you live? This indoor project requires little effort, with potting and watering being the extent of the work. Your neighbors are going to be knocking down the door for a taste of this delicious homegrown super fruit!
(Easy/medium 6-8 months)
Garlic, it’s a staple of countless cuisines and, aside from the breath, has numerous health benefits. Many people are not aware that garlic has such a high number of superfood properties, including assisting in cardio vascular health, detoxifying the body, and containing a small bit of almost everything the human body craves.
Garlic consumption has quadrupled in the U.S. in the last 30 years, and we can understand why. Trying to find a dish that isn’t better with a little (or a lot) of garlic is a challenge. What’s not a challenge is planting and harvesting it. The key factors are the right moisture and soil content. Set up is the most intensive part, with upkeep and harvesting being fairly easy. It’s best to start planting in mid-autumn, and by summer you should have the perfect seasoning for any dish!
There you have it! Eight easy super foods for you to grow in your own home. If you’re looking for events to share your superfood knowledge in, check out the Fit Foodie Festival taking place in various cities throughout the year.
What are your favorites and how have they affected your training and performance? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to sign up at Athlinks.com to build your runner profile!