It goes without saying that exercising and healthy eating go hand in hand. You can workout hard at the gym, but if your gym life isn’t supported by good eating habits in the kitchen then it is like you are trying to swim upstream. It’s not as hard as it sounds.
The term “superfoods” describes a certain group of goods that go above and beyond certain dietary expectations. They are foods that are rich in nutrition, energy, and calories that are needed in an active lifestyle. Superfoods are kind of like a stepping ladder that will help you reach your fitness goals.
What are the benefits of superfoods?
A superfood is considered any food item that contains an extremely dense concentration of vital nutrients, vitamins and/or minerals, as well as antioxidants, good fats, healthy enzymes, or other healthy properties that help to treat, lower the risk of or prevent specific diseases and give energy.
If consumed in the correct quantity, along with other good dietary habits, these 10 superfoods can boost your superpowers during your workouts this week.
10 Superfoods You Should Eat This Week
Sweet Potatoes are first on our list of superfoods you should eat this week because they are simple to prepare, tasty on their own, and packed with precious vitamins and minerals to give you energy. Sweet potatoes can stabilize your blood sugar, are high in antioxidants, can boost brain function, enhance your immunity, and aid in weight loss. Doesn’t that sound like a superpower in and of itself?
A medium sized, cooked sweet potato contains 103 calories, 23.6 grams carbohydrates, 2.3 grams protein and contains a good amount of fiber as well as vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese and several other vitamins and minerals. Just one cup of sweet potatoes boasts a whopping 6.6 grams of fiber or up to 26 percent of what you need for the entire day.
Avocado salads, avocado desserts, avocado tacos, you name it, this superfood has made its presence known in the fitness world. But if you don’t know, avocados easily make the top 10 superfoods list. Avocado’s only recently stepped into the superfood spotlight due to our fears of high fatty foods. However, studies over the last decade have proven the benefits of healthy fats and their place in our active lifestyles.
According to the USDA, the average serving size on an avocado is about a half of the fruit (yes, it’s a fruit)! This measured amount will provide you with 113 calories, 4.6 g dietary fiber, 10 grams fat, 6 grams carbohydrates, only 0.2-gram total sugar, 14 milligrams vitamin K and a long list of other nutrients.
Benefits of avocado include (but aren’t limited to) improved heart health, lower risk for metabolic syndrome, healthier skin, eyes and hair, helps weight loss, improved digestive health, and helps balance glucose and insulin levels.
Ready for a grab and go energy boost for a mid-afternoon crave? A single handful of almonds is stacked with protein to help you feel full and help build and repair muscle. this nut is the richest source of calcium out of all the nuts coming in at 23 milligrams of calcium in just one serving.
Almonds have the ability to assist with weight loss and prevents overeating, helps control blood sugar levels, supports healthy brain function and activity, helps prevent heart disease, and provides 5 grams of protein per ¼ cup for muscle development.
Almond milk, almond butter, and almond flour are all great ways to get the benefits of having more almonds in your diet.
Kale is king when it comes to our top 10 superfoods list. A single cup of raw kale is loaded with vitamins A, K, C, B6, Manganese, Calcium, Copper, Potassium and Magnesium and without getting boring...you need all of these nutrients to boost your superpowers in the gym. All of that and kale stands with only 33 calories, 6 grams of carbs (2 of which are fiber) and 3 grams of protein.
Given the incredibly low-calorie content, kale is among the most nutrient-dense foods in existence. Eating more kale is a great way to dramatically increase the total nutrient content of your diet.
Blueberries aren’t just a summer treat to through into your smoothie. You should be adding blueberries to your weekly superfood diet because the fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and phytonutrient content in blueberries support heart health. The absence of cholesterol from blueberries is also beneficial to the heart. Fiber content helps to reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease.
By adding a handful of blueberries to your oatmeal or even simply eating a handful of them raw, you stand to benefit from the yummy berry. One cup of blueberries contain about 4 grams of dietary fiber which will move slowly through your digestive tract, promoting satiety and keeping you feeling fuller for longer to aid in weight loss.
While there are many benefits to a variety of meats, salmon stands the only meat product in our superfoods list because of the overwhelming nutritional benefits of the fish aside from just protein. Salmon is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation, boost brain health and keep your heart pumping strong.
Since omega-3-rich salmon is a natural anti-inflammatory food, eating this delicious fish on a regular basis is a great way to keep your bones strong.
While you may still hate the vegetable you were forced to eat as a kid, broccoli is still high on our list of superfoods you should be eating on a daily and weekly basis. Low in calories yet high in vitamins and fiber, broccoli just about has it all. In one cup, broccoli had only 55 calories and is a great source of vitamin K, vitamin C, fiber, and folate as well as a long list of other vitamins.
Cooking broccoli right is the key to preserving all the health benefits of the vegetable. Quickly steaming it in a basket enclosed in a pot will preserve all of the vitamins within the vegetable as well as keeping it fresh and crisp.
While this superfood can be controversial, we believe a good free range egg is a must in the average active lifestyle. Rocky Balboa didn’t eat them raw because he liked the flavor…
Eggs contain healthy fats and good cholesterol and are also a good source of lean protein that can help you burn fat throughout the day. More than half the protein of an egg is found in the egg white along with vitamin B2 and lower amounts of fat and cholesterol than the yolk. The whites are rich sources of selenium, vitamin D, B6, B12 and minerals such as zinc, iron, and copper.
This is why a lot of heavily active fitness guru’s will only consume the egg whites. You can purchase egg whites or take out the yoke yourself easily. One egg has only 75 calories but has 7 grams of high-quality protein, 5 grams of fat, along with iron, vitamins, and carotenoids.
Well known for its high amount of dietary fiber content, lignans, and omega-3 fatty acids, flaxseeds make the superfood list. Flaxseed, when ground and consumed raw, can help to lower cholesterol, is gluten-free, will support digestive health, and improve skin and hair health.
Flaxseeds are easy to throw into a smoothie or into oatmeal and ground flaxseed can even be baked into dinner casseroles or muffins. They virtually have no flavor, therefore they make a great filler or additive to a meal.
Like it’s flaxseed cousin, chia seeds are rich in fiber, antioxidants, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain 10 grams of fiber, which is roughly 30 percent of the recommended daily intake. The seeds contain five times more calcium than milk per ounce.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning concluded that consuming chia seeds enhanced exercise performance for workouts that lasted 90 minutes the same way a sugar-laden sports drink would, but without all the unhealthy sugar.
The best way to access their vitamins and minerals is to either grind or soak them. If you soak them, then you “sprout” them, which releases the “enzyme inhibitors” that are used to protect the seed.
One, this makes it much easier to digest, and two, your body can then access the dense nutrients inside the seeds.