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14 Common foods that are actually great superfoods

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Don't make superfoods harder than they have to be — just add these simple foods to your diet

Food marketers have done a fantastic job of leading consumers to believe that superfoods only come in expensive and exotic varieties.

Quite the contrary. Although definitions of "superfood" vary depending on the food marketer, most Americans understand that the term is used to describe foods that are unusually high in nutrients and vitamins, and may even come with health benefits. And that ambiguous definition, my friends, means that many common foods are quite super indeed. Here are a few that you may have overlooked while seeking out a $17 bottle of acai berry juice.

1. Brown rice

Packed full of satisfying fiber, brown rice is a side dish that can actually help keep you slim. It's also full of minerals that help support brain function and magnesium for optimal cell performance. Who knew grains could be so healthy?

2. Collard greens

As long as you don't cook your collard greens into a pulp of mushy, buttery goodness, this cruciferous vegetable can seriously benefit your health. Collard greens are an excellent source of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, both of which can diminish inflammation in your body.

3. Prunes

Dried plums — or prunes, as your grandma called them — are a fiber powerhouse. Not only that, they contain antioxidant phytonutrients that can prevent free radical damage to the cells in your body. Plus, studies show that a healthy dose of prunes can help your body absorb more iron.

4. Sweet potatoes

Beta-carotene — otherwise known as vitamin A — is a calling card of sweet potatoes. In addition to other sweet potato health benefits, the beta-carotene in these orange tubers promotes healthy eyesight, skin and immune response.

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5. Walnuts

Grab a few walnuts to grab the omega-3 fatty acids your body needs for heart and brain health. These tasty nuts also deliver a powerful punch of metabolism-boosting manganese.

6. Spinach

Is there anything spinach doesn't do, besides taste as bad as kale? Your body will thank you for munching on this leafy green goodness, which is full of vitamins K and A, manganese, folate, magnesium, iron and a host of other beneficial nutrients.

7. Wheat germ

Sprinkle wheat germ in your cereal or oatmeal for added folate and vitamins B and E. These nutrients can contribute to a healthy immune system and promote cardiovascular health.

8. Salmon

Superfoods don't always grow out of the ground. Case in point? Salmon is an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids for your heart health, and it also boasts rocking levels of vitamins B12 and D, not to mention that it's an awesome source of protein.

9. Asparagus

Tasty asparagus is full of party tricks, beyond its ability to make your pee smell weird. Studies show that it can help regulate blood sugar and digestion, plus it's a great source of vitamin K.

10. Edamame

Edamame is packed with fiber and awesome levels of plant protein for a boost of energy any time of the day. It's also a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as iron.

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11. Broccoli

It should come as no surprise that broccoli aids in digestion. Its high levels of vitamins A and K help the body rid itself of unhealthy contaminants, while helping to regulate the body's production of vitamin D.

12. Blueberries

The dark skin of the popular blueberry is an indicator that it is packed with antioxidant phytonutrients. These phytonutrients protect the body from inflammation and help regulate cardiovascular health, cognitive functioning and blood sugar.

13. Grapes

Want to live longer? Eat non-fermented grapes (sorry, wine lovers). The skin of a grape contains resveratrol, which is linked to longevity. And, oh yeah, grapes are also a good source of vitamins K and B2.

14. Apples

Apples get a bad rap as a boring fruit. Yeah, right. They contain apple-specific polyphenols, which can regulate blood sugar and help with weight maintenance.

Ladies, there are so many more. Superfoods don't have to be complicated — they're right under your nose already.

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