If you are what you eat, what would you look like? Are you a stalk of broccoli, a lean piece of meat, or do you look more like a cream-filled Twinkie? Good, real food has the power to not only melt off some of those unwanted pounds, but it can protect you from disease, including cancer. You should already know that “good, real food” doesn’t include Fritos, Hostess cupcakes, and Dr. Pepper, but what foods should fill your fridge and pantry?
Every superfood plays a different role in your health. Some have the ability to slim down your waistline, others can ward off cancer causing cells, and some provide you with the fuel you need to bring everything you’ve got to the gym. By stocking up on your favorites, you can fill your body with satisfying whole foods rather than trying to fill your stomach with the preservative packed, chemical ridden, processed foods you’ll find in your office vending machine.
Superfoods for weight loss
Trying to get rid of that layer of belly fat? In The New American Diet, a book from Men’s Health, they outline the 15 real foods that can help lead to natural weight loss. In a test run, those on the diet lost 15 pounds in six weeks by filling their body with high-nutrition foods that have the ability to fuel your body and protect you from obesity-causing chemicals. These are the first three superfoods for weight loss, according to The New American Diet and studies that are cited in the book.
- 1. Nuts: Nuts are high in protein and fat, which can help control your appetite. One study from Georgia Southern University found that eating almonds can increase your calorie burn for up to three and a half hours. In a different study, people who ate pistachios for three months lost an average of 10 to 12 pounds.
- 2. Eggs: A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that overweight study participants who ate a 340 calorie breakfast of eggs (including the yolk) reported a higher energy level and lost 65% more weight than those who ate a 340 calorie bagel breakfast.
- 3. Whole grains: One Penn State University study found that whole-grain eaters lost 2.4 times more belly fat than those who ate refined grains. The antioxidants in whole grains can help control inflammation and insulin, a hormone that tells your body to store belly fat.
Superfoods to fight aging
Everyone gets older, but these superfoods, highlighted by Men’s Health, can keep your mind sharp, your skin wrinkle free, your heart healthy, and your bones strong.
- 4. Almonds: Worried about wrinkles? These power nuts are stuffed with vitamin E, which helps defend against sun damage. Not only can the nuts protect your skin from the sun, but they can help prevent cognitive decline and poor memory.
- 5. Flaxseeds: The omega-3 fatty acids in these tiny protein and fiber packed seeds erase age spots and iron out fine lines in the skin. They can also help lower high cholesterol.
- 6. Sweet potatoes: Counter the effect of secondhand smoke, prevent diabetes, and enhance your nutrient metabolism and immune system health with a diet high in sweet potatoes. This superfood is particularly effective in preventing Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, liver disease, cancer, heart attack, and stroke.
Superfoods for fitness
If you are participating in high intensity training regularly you’ll need different things from your food. While some fitness buffs live on a diet of rice, pasta, chicken, and fish, there are some key nutrients missing from their diet. Bodybuilding.com explains that these superfoods are rich in the chemicals needed to promote fast and efficient cellular repair and enhance longevity. Your diet has the power to supercharge your health, energy, and performance.
- 7. Tomatoes: Tomatoes are packed with all sorts of good stuff. They’re high in lycopene, an antioxidant that supports prostate health and can help offset cardiovascular disease.
- 8. Walnuts: Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, walnuts can lower bad cholesterol and ward off erectile dysfunction. They’re a high-energy nut that gives you a healthy dose of B vitamins, magnesium, vitamin E, and protein.
- 9. Broccoli: Those little green trees contain the cancer fighting chemical sulforaphane and like tomatoes, can help offset the development of prostate cancer.