I have put together the top 5 power foods every person needs in their diet. Again, high level athletes, general fitness individuals and weekend warriors need a healthy, balanced nutrition plan in order to reach maximum fitness levels. Have these foods available all the time and you will watch your energy levels soar, you will build lean strong muscle and you will recovery properly.
- Bell Peppers. Bell peppers are a great source of vitamin C. If you thought citrus fruits packed a powerful punch when it comes to being a good source of vitamin C, peppers have them beat. Green peppers have twice the amount of vitamin C by weight than citrus fruits, and this powerful punch of vitamin C is an antioxidant that may be effective in preventing certain cancers. Red bell peppers have three times as much vitamin C as the green varieties and are a good source of beta carotene. This should be a vegetable that is always available to you. Add bell peppers to pasta, rice, eggs, or whole beans.
- Avacado. This fruit has been given a bad rap. Because of its high fat content (30 grams) people think avocado are unhealthy. But this nutritious fruit is high in monounsaturated fat which can lower cholesterol. It is probably not wise to eat two of these a day but 1/2 of one a day can definitely be an advantage. Good fats like this can increase skin, hair and nail health, as well as regulate blood pressure and is a huge source of potassium. Try using smashed avocado on toast instead of butter or add a few slices to a salad.
- Edamame. This legume is one of the best. Just 1/2 cup of them a day really punches up the fiber, protein and vitamin/mineral content of your diet. Edamame has almost as much protein as it does carbohydrates. It contains around 10% of the Daily Value for two key antioxidants; vitamins C and A. And for a plant food, it's quite high in iron; it has about as much as a 4-ounce roasted chicken breast. Use edamame as a healthy snack, a pre-dinner starter, or a late night munchie. This is truly a power food.
- Egg white. Yes, I said egg whites, no yolk. The egg white is one of the purest animal proteins you can find. One whole egg is approximately 77 calores. You take out the yolk, which is 99% saturated fat, and you have only 17 calories of pure protein. Eggs are loaded with choline, a nutrient known for good brain function. Now I am not saying to never eat the yolk but the majority of your eggs need to be the whites. If you truly want to decrease your body fat and build strong lean muscle then eat plenty of egg whites. You can add lean turkey, salsa, bell peppers, avocados, and lean chicken to your egg whites for variety. If you are in need of some carbohydrates then use a whole wheat tortilla to make an egg white burrito.
- Peanut butter. Peanut butter might be a lifesaver for most athletes. It is considered a staple in most peoples homes. "Suffice it to say that eating peanut butter or peanuts has been associated with lower total cholesterol, lower ldl or 'bad' cholesterol, and lower triglycerides, all of which are associated with lower cardiovascular disease risk," says Richard Mattes, Ph.D., R.D., a professor of nutrition at Purdue University. Just like avocados, you need to eat peanut butter in moderation. Just two tablespoons of peanut butter has close to 200 calories. So be careful in your servings. Use 1-2 tablespoons with a few slices of an apple, add a spoonful to a smoothie or make a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Also, to make a better choice, choose a natural peanut butter. It will be less processed and will not have as much added sugar.
So there you go. Five power foods that everyone needs in their daily diet. Keep in mind that portion control is important. Keep a food journal for five consecutive days so you can see exactly what is going in your body. You need balance. Most individuals need 40% protein, 40% carbohydrates, and 20% fat. An average women needs between 1200-1700 calories and an average man needs between 1800-2500 calories. A high school male football player should be eating 3000-4000 calories depending on his goals. A high school female track runner should be eating 2200-3000 calories depending on her goals. Everyone has their own specific calorie needs. Go and talk to a qualified fitness coach or nutritionist to find out what your needs are.
Have a great day!
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