Super Foods for Athletes
Lately I’ve been highlighting a ton of articles on nutrition and even supplementation because when it comes down to it, diet is such a critical component of the results we get when our focus is on reducing abdominal fat and increasing lean muscle mass.
When training at high levels our diet really becomes even more important simply because our muscles grow through the action of micro-tears and rebuilding with stronger more dense muscle fiber. If we were to only go for a limited diet with very low calories then there is no way that we can provide all the essential nutrients our body deserves.
With all this in mind you may want to re-evaluate the foods you consume and in this case maybe make sure to include some super-foods.
What Are Super Foods?
What are super foods and do they really exist? Well it’s somewhat of a catch-phrase which media loves to jump on but let’s investigate this a little further.
If we were to define a super food we would look at it in the sense of providing special nutrients that accelerate and enhance the efficiency of cellular repair and promote longevity. We want to stick to our high protein, low fat, moderate carb diet but make sure to add as many super foods as we can so we can supercharge our health, performance and over all energy.
Super Food #1: Tomatoes
Tomatoes are very high in the antioxidant known as lycopene. Lycopene is found to fight off cancer cell growth and boost our cardiovascular health. so it almost seems like a no brainer that both men and women should include tomatoes in their daily diet.
The best thing about tomatoes is that they are very versatile and unlike most super foods can be cooked without losing their nutritional benefits. In fact, cooking has been found to increase our body’s absorption of lycopene.
Super Food #2: Walnuts
You may have forgotten this nut lately but walnuts pack a power house of nutrients. From Omega 3 fatty acids to B Vitamins, magnesium, vitamin E and even protein, there are few nuts that come as close.
The best part about walnuts is that the combination of the omega 3’s and plant sterols they possess has been shown to lower the bad LDL cholesterol and elevate cardiovascular health. Grab a fistful of these walnuts per day for maximum long term results.
Super Food #3: Broccoli
This is one vegetable you have got to learn to love. Not only does it have more vitamin C per serving than an orange but also is high in Vitamins A and K as well as fiber. This combined with the nutrients diindolylmethane and selenium make it a potent anti-cancer veggie that boosts your immune system with anti viral and anti bacterial properties.
If that wasn’t enough research is being done on the benefits of brocolli with the prevention of heart disease.
Try it with a sprinkle of lemon juice and cayenne pepper….mmmm….
Super Food #4: Watermelon
Do I really need to explain how good watermelon is for you? Isn’t the yummy fresh taste enough? Well Watermelon again is packed with lycopene just like tomato but it also possesses a very important mineral which has been shown to maintain healthy blood pressure – this mineral is potassium. If you find yourself combating stress frequently then maintaining health blood pressure levels will really be something that should be of focus. Watermelon is packed with potassium and a single serving has more of this mineral than one large banana.
Add high water and fiber content and this means our body is able to eliminate waste products at a faster rate to really super-charge you for whatever training comes your way.
Conclusion: Super Foods for High Intensity
Although this list only includes 4 super foods, why not start with a little and try variations with cooking, grilling and even sprinkling these super foods in different ways. Walnuts with yogurt, walnuts & tomatoes in salads, grilled broccoli with lemon and tomato herb chicken, play with it and have fun in creative ways. This is how we will walk down the path to success with our training goals, by keeping it surprising and fun all along the way.
Have any feedback or recipes to make these super foods even more fun? Please share them by leaving a comment below…