You can build a healthier, stronger body; build more muscle mass and lose fat by incorporating a few “Super Foods” into your daily diet. Today Health provides information about these vital foods.
These tubers are a healthier alternative to their kin, the white potato, delivering a host of vitamins and minerals such as beta-carotene, vitamin C and manganese as well as disease-preventing dietary fiber. Sweet potatoes are hypoallergenic and the preferred source of post-workout carbohydrates for many athletes, bodybuilders and regular exercisers who want to keep their energy stores up and body fat down. Steam or bake a small or medium sweet potato to eat after your next workout.
This fat has a high amount of “medium-chained” fats that make it easily digestible, providing a readily available source of energy in the body. Coconut oil naturally increases metabolism, allowing for more energy to be burned by the body and boosts athletic performance. It also promotes healthy thyroid function and removes pancreatic stress—all translating to a more active you. Add a few tablespoons to your smoothie pre-workout.
They are a rich source of potassium, an electrolyte your body needs but loses during exercise. Bananas are also great for preventing muscle fatigue. Opt for a banana instead of an energy bar before your next workout—it’s a nutrient-dense and natural option.
Eggs, especially if both yolk and white are consumed, can be an excellent whole-food choice to provide micronutrients and protein. Dietary protein is important because it provides our bodies with amino acids, which can help build muscles and nourish the body.
Fresh, wild fish, like salmon, sardines and mackerel are rich sources of Omega-3 fatty acids — “good” fats that have been shown to help the body fight off inflammation. By eating more salmon and other sources of Omega-3 fatty acids, you can help prevent or decrease inflammation and pain. (Pic: Salmon Sashimi)
Walnuts are another way of getting heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Good fats are necessary and vital to achieve optimal fitness and health. Healthy fats can help with energy production, healing of tissue injuries, sprains and bruises. Try adding a handful of walnuts to your home-made trail mix before heading outdoors.
This nutrient-dense food is great in moderation. It provides amino acids and protein to help with post-exercise recovery and beef is chock full of iron, which provides the body energy. Beef from grass-fed cattle have much higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventionally-raised cattle and gives you a boost in shedding body fat and building lean muscle.
If you’re someone who finds water boring, give coconut water a try. It only has a mild coconut flavor and is a natural source of electrolytes. Many electrolyte and sports drinks on the market are full of refined sugars that can contribute to weight gain and diabetes. Coconut water is the ideal beverage to consume before and during exercise because less volume of liquid is needed to provide the beneficial minerals, therefore alleviating the feeling of fullness or bloating that other beverages may cause.
This fruit provides healthy doses of fat that an active body will utilize as fuel to power through a grueling day or workout. It’s also rich in Vitamin C, Fiber, Vitamin K, Folic acid and B6. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and can support the adrenal glands, which can be overworked during times of stress.
Olive oil is constantly praised for its health-promoting properties—increasing healthy cholesterol levels, fighting free-radical damage, protecting the blood vessels. Cooking with olive oil or even adding a few tablespoons of pure, extra virgin olive oil to food that’s already been cooked can be a healthy way to add nutrient-dense calories and good fats to a meal.
This powerhouse of vitamin K, C, Calcium, Manganese and dietary fiber should be a staple in every active person’s diet. Kale is a great super food to eat if you are active and athletic due to its high antioxidant levels, which can help increase blood oxygen levels, thus increasing physical stamina.
Raisins are a portable, tasty snack that provides antioxidants to minimize inflammation. Add a handful to your trail mix or just eat plain before you hit the gym.
This source of protein can provide all the necessary amino acids your body needs to rebuild muscle and tissues after exercising. A vegetarian-friendly protein source, cottage cheese also contains other nutrients that can help support an active lifestyle: Calcium, Tryptophan, Vitamin B12 and Selenium.
Images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
– Janis Merrill-Gipson, Cuisine & Décor Editor
Janis is a self proclaimed domestic diva, living in her hometown of Chicago, Illinois. Janis is a chef, who loves to cook, an interior decorator, art collector, jazz fan, and an avid reader. She believes there are many layers and components that comprise living an enriched life. And Janis is here to share tips.