Sure, some might not consider spending $30 on a pouch of goji berries or $20 on hempseed oil to be all that extravagant (especially if you regularly drop over $100 on a bottle of moisturizer)—but that’s precisely what makes superfoods so perilous for your bank account: A bag of chia seeds here, a bottle of ashwagandha capsules there, and before you know it, your Whole Foods bill is more than a week’s rent.
What are the superfoods that are truly worth swapping for that second bottle of rosé in your cart? For Jeannette Ogden, the SoCal yoga instructor and health foodie behind the hilarious (and drool-worthy) Shut The Kale Up Instagram account, the deciding factor is which so-called miracle ingredients actually deliver on their promises.
“The word ‘superfood’ can mean so many things to different people, but for me, it’s about how it makes me feel and whether it helps my body function the way it should,” she says. And although she loves affordable add-ins like chia seeds, she Ogden notes that there are a few more expensive superfoods that are also worth shelling out for. “These things are a splurge, but if you use them in moderation, they’ll last for two to three months at a time—to me, that means a lot more than spending money on, like, a shirt.”
Point taken. Since Ogden has tried just about every it-seed and power powder under the sun, we asked her which of the priciest ones ones she constantly stocks up on—no matter what the cost.
Keep reading to discover seven superfoods that Jeannette Ogden says are worth their high price tags.
1. Manuka Honey
When you spot Manuka honey next to the regular stuff at the grocery store, the price difference will probably make you cringe—it can cost up to $50 a jar, depending on the variety. That’s because the New Zealand-harvested spread has way more vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes than your average honey, making it a powerful healing agent.
“Manuka honey helps with balancing your digestive system, as well as acne and eczema, burns, wounds, tooth decay, IBS… the list goes on!” says Ogden. “I love it in my smoothies, baked goods, oats, and yogurt.” (And, um, how about that toast above?)
She recommends Wedderspoon’s 100% Raw Manuka Honey with a KFactor of 16 ($36)—the higher the KFactor, the more nutrient-dense the honey (and the higher the price).
2. Maca powder
When it comes to the world of adaptogens, Ogden says she sees some really profound benefits from maca. “For me, its hormone balancing,” she explains. “Even when I was pregnant, I’d take maca and I’d feel a difference.” As if that weren’t enough, she says it’s also super-effective in cranking up libido and low energy levels.
Her maca powder of choice comes from Essential Living Foods ($25), and she regularly stirs it into her oats and smoothies. “It gives a little bit of a cinnamon-y, nutty taste to whatever you put it in,” she says. (Pro tip: She and her followers frequently spot it on sale at TJ Maxx.)
Ogden’s go-to coffee add-in is reishi—an adaptogenic mushroom that’s known for its grounding effects. “It helps with stress relief, immunity, and longevity,” she says. “It gives an earthy taste to my almond milk lattes and I dig it.”
Her current obsession is by Sun Potion ($49.99). “I bought it as a birthday gift to myself since it was a bit of a splurge… but I love this stuff,” she insists.
Clarified butter—a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is butter that’s boiled and strained to remove water and milk solids—may cost about triple the amount of regular butter, but Ogden says it gives her a lot of bang for her buck. “I cook with it, I bake with it, and I put it in my coffee,” she says. “It has really helped my digestive system and getting more fats into my body.” Because it’s free of lactose and casein, even those with dairy sensitivities can reap its benefits, which include lots of medium- and short-chain fatty acids (the healthiest kind of fats) and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E.
Ogden’s go-to brand is Farm to Gold, a small maker of pasture-raised, grass-fed, organic ghee ($12-$30).
To combat thinning hair and chronic digestive issues, Ogden swears by collagen (as do many other wellness pros). “It gives you tons of protein, magnesium, iron… it just makes you feel good,” she swears. It also boosts hydration in the skin, lubricates the joints, and can even help you sleep more soundly.
6. E3 Live
A certified organic, wild-harvested form of blue-green algae, E3 Live is packed with over 65 vitamins, minerals, aminos, and fatty acids. “My holistic doctor told me about this stuff and how it’d help stabilize my hormones after having [my son] Elliott, so I tried it and loved it,” says Ogden. “It gives me energy and helps with having healthy hair, nails and skin.” She also says she’s noticed a serious impact on her workout recovery time since she started taking the supplement.
Ogden swears by mulberries for combatting fatigue—they’re high in iron, plus vitamin C, fiber, and calcium. “I get them fresh in season when I can, but I usually just buy them dried,” she says. (They generally cost between $10 to $15 a bag—way more than a container of raisins or apricots.)
Despite their obvious use—making smoothie bowls look more photogenic, of course—the social media star has been experimenting with this superfruit in other ways. Her most recent creation: “Butterfinger” protein cookies with mulberries. Drop that mic, girl.
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