Nutrition is such an important part of my life. Every day I do my best to follow the 80-20 rule, and am working towards 90-10, being that 90% of everything I consume is healthy, 10% not so much. I think I’m at about 85% right now. I have come to the revelation that when you begin to love your body, you want to do everything you can to make it feel, and subsequently look, as good as you can. And the food you eat has a ton to do with that.
My father, who is 77 years old and in phenomenal shape, has a few rules to live by that I have adopted over the years. One, which he attributes to his longevity, health and young appearance is eating a plate of raw vegetables every day. The more green the better. As he gets older he realizes the need to ensure a high protein diet is also key – it’s not about getting ‘huge’ anymore, rather keeping your bones and muscles healthy. So this week I wanted to share a few top foods to help build muscle and keep your body in tip top shape. Please remember we are not nutritionists or doctors over here, rather health loving ladies with a passion to spread the word of health every day.
1. Whole Eggs. Low cost and rich source of protein: 7g/egg. The yolk contains most of the nutrients: half the protein, vitamins A/D/E and cholesterol to naturally increase your testosterone levels.
2. Fish Oil. Reduces inflammation with your joints and skin, lowers body fat and increases testosterone levels.
3. Wild Salmon. One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids that also gets you 20g protein per 100g serving. Farmed salmon is however, omega-3 deficient as it is corn/grain fed.
4. Berries. Strong antioxidants that prevent cancer, heart and eye diseases. Any kind works: cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc. Buy fresh or frozen berries and mix with oatmeal for a delicious breakfast.
5. Yogurt. Contain good bacteria that improves your gastrointestinal health. Don’t buy frozen yogurt or yogurt with added sugar and fruits at the bottom. Get plain, low fat yogurt. Eat it with berries and flax or chia seeds.
6. Flax Seeds. Source of fiber, protein and omega-3. Grind the flax seeds as you use them to get the most out of them. Take 1 tbsp with yogurt and berries before going to bed.
7. Extra Virgin Olive Oil. 70% monounsaturated fats that protect against heart diseases and cancer. Add 1-2 tbsp olive oil to your salads. Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil: it contains more polyphenols and tastes better.
8. Mixed Nuts. Contain mono- and polyunsaturated fats, proteins, fiber, vitamin E, zinc, potassium and magnesium. Anything works: almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts… Peanut butter also works as long as you buy natural peanut butter without added salts/sugars.
9. Chicken. – 31 grams of protein and only 4 grams of fat for every 100 gram serving.
10. Broccoli. High in cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Broccoli is also high in soluble fiber and low calorie, helping with fat loss. Eat other cruciferous vegetables for a change too such as cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower or kale.
11. Spinach. One of the most alkaline foods. Spinach prevents muscle and bone loss, but also cancer and heart diseases because of its high nutrient profile.
12. Turkey. white turkey has close to 0g of saturated fat (that why it’s so dry). Eat turkey with spinach and quinoa for a super food meal.
13. Quinoa. Quinoa is higher in fiber and protein than rice or oats, tastes a lot better and is gluten free. Buy the whiter grain, as it tends to be better quality. Eat it post workout with chicken or turkey with spinach for added muscle boosting power.
14. Oats. Reduce cholesterol, provide you with low-gi carbs for energy, and high in soluble fiber.
15. Tomatoes. High in lycopene, which prevents cancer. The lycopene in tomato paste is four times more bioavailable than in fresh tomatoes. Have pizza or pasta with tomato sauce & olive oil post weight training.
16. Oranges. Vitamin C to fight diseases, magnesium to lower blood pressure, while also containing anti-oxidants and beta-carotenes. Be careful with processed orange juice which often has added sugars. Eat oranges or make your own orange juice.
17. Apples. Pectin in apples helps you lose weight by increasing satiety. (have one before every meal – you’ll see what I mean!) Apples are also the strongest antioxidants after cranberries (assuming you eat the peels). Unfortunately apples are one of the most pesticide-contaminated fruits so be sure to go organic.
18. Carrots. Their huge vitamin A content improves eye-health, especially night vision. Carrots are also rich in fiber, low calorie and taste good!
19. Water. Your body holds water if you don’t drink enough. Drinking prevents water retention, helps muscle recovery and prevents dehydration from strength training.
20. Green Tea. Strong antioxidant and natural diuretic. Green tea also speeds up fat loss, prevents cancer and improves blood sugar and circulation. Be sure to go with real green tea, not the teabags.