It’s definitely true that you really are what you eat. You probably already know that and it’s why you’re probably trying to clean up your act and making an effort to eating healthy. The truth is, though, that might just not be enough. If you’re frantically feeding bananas, apples, and iceberg lettuce salads, you might be eating healthy — but you’re probably not eating very smart.
In order to build the body you desire, you need to make every bite of food really count. That means tailoring your diet around the most disease-fighting, nutrient-rich, potent, muscle-growing foods available.
Importance of Nutrition in Fitness
The food we eat plays a vital role in how we look and feel. Regular exercise is important but according to research, nutrition has the largest impact on our fitness. Using food as our medicine has become a popular theme for health improvement.
The trend is now to focus on healthy food intake as a primary fitness goal. When healthy eating habits become a lifestyle, we are healthier and happier. Eating right allows us to reduce body fat, lose a few pounds, feel more confident and reduce our risk of illness.
What is the best medicine? Ask any doctor that question and their answer will likely be prevention. Today, our grocery stores and markets are filled with processed foods, sugary substitutes, and mass-marketed snacks that, while they may taste good, offer no nutritional value whatsoever. Rather than opting for options with no nutritional benefits, you should direct your focus on wholesome foods that will help in maintaining your weight, fulfill your caloric needs, and achieve your fitness goals quicker.
Top Foods to Include in Your Diet
Whether you’re trying to slim down or shape up, these fitness foods can help you achieve your goals. The good news is that you don’t have to eat the same boring snacks and meals again and again. In fact, some of the best fitness foods are the base to really delicious dishes.
Tomatoes have long had a reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac. But that’s not why we picked the tomato as one of the best foods around. Rather, tomatoes win their high ranking overall due to a single nutrient. Lycopene, which comes from the pigment that gives tomatoes their red color, is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off a number of ailments and diseases. A number of studies show that men who have the most tomatoes and tomato-based products in their diet are less likely to develop prostate problems than men who rarely eat the stuff.
If you don’t have enough to eat before you exercise, you may not have enough gas in the tank. You might burn fewer calories, too. Have some healthy carbs at least an hour in advance of your workout. Try a bowl of whole-grain cereal with skim milk or some whole wheat toast or a bagel. Skip the cream cheese and butter. Saturated fats take longer to digest and can affect the amount of oxygen your blood delivers to your muscles.
According to a research published on the European Journal of Nutrition, those that consumed fish oil showed improved muscle development: their bodies used twice the amount of amino acids to build new protein tissues, especially skeletal muscles. Salmon owns the most oil among fishes and everyone can find it easily in every markets.
If you can’t or don’t eat seafood, look for an algae-based source of omega-3s. It is also packed with vitamins A, B and D as well as calcium, iron, phosphorus and selenium. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids helps your brain work better and improve your memory. Studies have shown that they can also help in preventing type 2 diabetes.
With free radical-busting antioxidants, digestion-promoting fiber, plus a whole army of vitamins and minerals, broccoli — along with kale, spinach and green cabbage — rank as some of the most nutrient-dense foods you’ll find. They are also a great source of folate (a natural occurring folic acid), which is thought to be good for heart health. When it comes to bone-building calcium, plant based foods such as broccoli and kale offer a healthy dose and can be a good alternative to dairy products.
Did you know that eating eggs can help you lose weight? This might come as a surprise to those who think of eggs as “fattening” or “unhealthy” — but a study carried out by the Rochester Center for Obesity Research found that eating eggs for breakfast helps limit your calorie intake all day, by more than 400 calories. That means you could lose three pounds or more per month.
High in vitamin E, fiber, and protein, almonds are great for your skin, digestive system, and heart. Although they’re also loaded with healthy unsaturated fats, some guys avoid them because they’re so calorie-dense. That’s a mistake. It turns out that since nuts are such a hard food, it appears that a significant amount of their calories are never absorbed into the body. To get more almonds in your diet, try keeping a bag of dry-roasted or lightly seasoned almonds in your desk drawer at work — and snack on a handful rather than hitting the vending machine.
Want a little push to get you through your next workout? Beets, which have lots of nitrate, can help to keep you moving. According to one study, nitrates improved oxygen use and helped study subjects exercise for up to 18 percent longer. Beets contain high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents that studies show may help reduce the risk of some cancers.
Black Bean Burger
Whether you sometimes try a meat-free meal or stick to a full-time vegetarian diet, you can get plenty of protein (and lots of other nutrients, including fiber) from plants. Try pinto, kidney, white, or black beans, split peas, or chickpeas. Soy products, like tofu and tempeh, and nuts also have protein.
Blueberries earned their ‘superfood‘ status a few years ago, thanks to their high level of free radical-beating antioxidants. Free radicals are thought to travel around your body damaging cells, causing disease, and triggering signs of premature aging. Berries are often lower in calories than other fruits, too. Fresh fruit is good to eat during and after exercise since it contains high GI carbohydrate-packed sugars, which provide energy to muscles in the quickest way possible.