Name: Train Magazine
The Official Print Partner of Bodybuilding.com
What you eat has a tremendous impact on your health, performance, and physique. The wrong dietary choices can cause a world of trouble, but the right options offer a host of excellent benefits, including potential protection from certain diseases.
If you're eager to learn what you can eat to boost your health, you're in the right place! Here are four major health targets, what to eat to hit each one, and how each choice can also help improve your athletic performance!
Power Up Your Heart
Plaque can build up on the artery walls and cause blockages in the blood supply, which can cause heart disease and lead to the death of the heart muscle. These blockages also lead to strokes in the brain. Watch out for cholesterol-rich foods (animal fats, processed meats and carbs) and anything that's been burned.1
Load Up on Antioxidants
Lower your body's oxidation levels by eating more antioxidant-rich foods like blueberries, cranberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries. Also, go heavy on herbs and spices such as turmeric and oregano.
Athletic Benefits improved consistency
Supplementing with antioxidants won't directly improve your performance, but eating foods rich in them will help reduce oxidative stress. That will keep your training more consistent, found research in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. Make sure you eat 1-2 servings of antioxidant-rich foods a day.2
Drink Plenty of Green Tea and Decaf Coffee
These drinks may help prevent excessive oxidation and help protect the body from developing cancer-forming cells.
Athletic Benefits: faster fat burning
Green tea is a solid bet. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that green tea extract may stop you from absorbing fat and cause you to oxidize more body fat.
Lowering inflammation in the body is an important step in preventing diseases such as heart disease and cancer.3
Strike an Omega Balance
The best way to fight inflammation is to eat more omega-3 fatty acids and fewer omega-6 fats. Omega-3 fats occur in high amounts in oily fish, omega eggs, linseeds, walnuts, seaweed, and chia seeds.
Athletic Benefits better exercise recovery
Chia seeds have up to eight times more omega-3s than a salmon steak. These fatty acids have great anti-inflammatory properties that make them an excellent recovery tool for your squat-ravaged legs.4
Drop Trans and Hydrogenated Fats
Trans fats are found in processed items like potato chips, ready meals, and value meals found at fast-food restaurants. They can oxidize easily and are also thought to contribute to cancer-forming processes in the body.
Athletic Benefits healthier body weight
When possible, switch to trans-fat-free foods such as avocados. Not only are they rich in just about every vitamin and mineral, but they're loaded with unsaturated fat. Research indicates that a diet high in unsaturated fat may correspond with reduced abdominal fat.
Strike Off Strokes
Keeping your blood pressure low is key to helping prevent both heart disease and strokes. Foods that can help support healthy blood-pressure levels are beetroots, green tea, fish oils, and dark chocolate.5
Choose Foods High in Salicylates
Salicylates are plant hormones found in certain fruits and vegetables. There are more of them in organic produce. They keep the blood thin in the same way aspirin does, and may also help control inflammation. These include foods such as currants, dates, oranges, pineapples, chilies, and endive.
Athletic Benefits faster exercise recovery
Research in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise found that bromelain, a compound found in pineapple, may actually accelerate the post-exercise healing process. It doesn't taste half bad either.6
Take in More Vitamin B
Some people have higher levels of an amino acid called homocysteine that can increase the risk of stroke. You can check for this with a blood or gene test to see if you need more support along this pathway. However, it's wise for everyone to regulate their homocysteine levels by eating foods with more B vitamins.
Athletic Benefits more energy for exercise
These vitamins are essential to your energy levels. Without them, your training is likely to be as limp as month-old lettuce. Find them in foods such as eggs, leafy vegetables, asparagus, bananas, and liver.
Promote Lung and Liver Health
In order to preserve liver and lung health, you need to lower your total exposure to toxins.7
Load Up on Watercress
Watercress contains lung-protective nutrients. Its peppery taste makes it perfect for eating as part of a sandwich, in a stir-fry, or in a soup.
Athletic Benefits recover faster
Many people think of watercress as nothing more than an annoying garnish. Before you brush it off, consider that research in the British Medical Journal of Nutrition recently found that antioxidant-rich watercress can alleviate the natural stresses put on your body by a tough workout. Be sure to include it as part of your post-workout meal.8
Add Milk Thistle to Your Breakfast
Milk thistle is the herb of choice for long-term liver protection, survival, and regeneration. Take it as a supplement or add it to a warm cereal such as muesli.
Athletic Benefits burn fat better
When your liver is functioning at full capacity, there's less strain on your kidneys. This optimizes your body's ability to burn more fat during training.