Sometimes it isn't about what you take away from your diet, but rather what you choose to add. These 6 superfoods are guaranteed to add a healthy boost to daily nutrition:
Despite being high in calories and fat nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, cashews and brazil nuts notably, are a nutritionist's dream. Full of vitamin E, B-folate and selenium, nuts play a vital role in preserving whole body health. They contribute to heart health, brain health, and prostate health. They ease stress and promote weight maintenance while keeping cholesterol down. And, to top it all off, they are an easily digestible, slow metabolizing source of protein that keeps you feeling fuller longer.
Certain seeds, such as flax, hemp and chia, are powerful nutritional supplements. They all pride small amounts of protein and large doses of cancer-fighting Omega 3s. These essential fatty acids, combined with fiber, help prevent cancer, diabetes, heart disease and stroke. On a performance level, seeds help reduce inflammation in the muscles and provide doses of magnesium, potassium and calcium often lost during training.
All berries are high in anti-oxidants which help to fight free radical damage. These simple fruits provide a whallop of Vitamin C, which, when combined with the anti-oxidants Anthocyanin and Quercetin, help to reduce inflammation, prevent arthritis and slow memory loss. Studies have shown that berries help to maintain cartilage stores in the joints, which aids in their flexibility and mobility. For athletes who push their body to the limits, berries may be the long-term recovery perfect food.
Avocados used to get a bad rap for their high caloric and fat content. But no longer. Nutritionists are recognizing that the nutritive benefits of avocados far, far outweigh the caloric "cost". One avocado delivers vitamins A, C, E, K and B6, along with an huge amount of potassium and “healthy” fat. Avocados also provide all 18 essential amino acids for the body to form a complete protein chain. Combine this with its high fiber content and you have an easily digestible, readily accessed form of protein. Additionally, eating an avocado with other foods enables you to boost your absorption of their nutrients by up to 400%.
Whether you drink the juice, eat the meat or use the oil, coconuts are good for every part of your body. They are an easily digestible source of protein, fiber, vitamin C and B, calcium, potassium, magnesium and electrolytes. Any part of the coconut helps to boost the immune system as it is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic. And, despite its high levels of saturated fat, the oil has been shown to help reduce cholesterol and heart disease as well as strengthening bones and teeth. Many athletes use coconut water to help replenish electrolytes, but they should also consider consuming the meat and oil to help further speed recovery.
Greens are the singular most nutrient dense food. Calorie for calorie, they provide the most vitamins, minerals and nutrients of any other food. One cup of leafy greens can provide iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, vitamins E, C, K, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide beta-carotene and lutein. Greens have been shown to reduce most systemic diseases, but for athletes, the most important reason to consume leafy green is that they help prevent inflammation in the joints and may even prevent the onset of arthritis.