Bargain buys loaded with health benefits: 7 surprisingly affordable superfoods

MILWAUKEE -- Looking to stretch your food budget -- but eat a little healthier? Registered dietitian Lisa Grudzielanek with Your Tasty Life joins Real Milwaukee with seven surprisingly affordable superfoods.

For literally pennies, you can feed your family a food that rivals blueberries in its levels of disease-fighting antioxidants. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of cancers and other chronic diseases. How much? Between 2 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables each day. This varies depending on the number of calories you need to consume for your weight and level of activity.

#1 Black Rice
Black rice bran contains more health-promoting antioxidants than are found in blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants.

#2 Sweet Potato
• What`s not to love about their shelf life? Sweet potatoes last about 3-5 weeks in the pantry and about 2-3 months in the fridge.
• Sweet potatoes are among the richest sources of beta-carotene, a nutrient your body converts to vitamin A after consumption.

#3 Apples
• Enjoy local apples—they`re in season right now!
• Eat the peel—it boosts antioxidant levels up to 6 times higher than the apples' flesh.
• The phytonutrients and antioxidants in apples may help reduce the risk of developing cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease.

#4 Beans
• Kidney, pinto, black, and navy beans stand out for being packed with fiber, folic acid, iron, potassium, and zinc.
• Zinc is required for a healthy immune system and proper action of many hormones.
• Bags of dried bean can be purchased for $1
• Pressure cooking is all the rage and can cut down cooking time drastically.

#5 Cranberries
• Beat out coffee, blueberries, and even red wine for most antioxidant-rich foods.
• Cranberries are a rock star superfood with a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, and manganese, as well as a good source of vitamin E, vitamin K, copper and pantothenic acid.

#6 Coffee
• The combination of caffeine and antioxidants may be significantly reducing heart disease.
• There is considerable evidence that caffeine may protect against Alzheimer`s and Parkinson`s disease
• Do we need any more reasons?

#7 Green Tea
• Ranks high in antioxidants just behind coffee.
• Japanese researchers have also shown that women who drink 5 or more cups of green tea a day slash their risk of dying from heart disease by about 30%.
• Contain catechins, one of the most effective compounds for preventing sun damage.