|10 "Superfoods" For Bodybuilders
Tired of the same old foods?
Remember to consume a wide variety of healthful foods. Because a healthy
bodybuilder can be a better bodybuilder.
An exciting development in the functional food area is the fortified
egg. Bodybuilders know that eggs are a good source of protein, but
eggs can now also be a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids. Some egg producers are adding flaxseed to the feed of hens. Adding
omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of flaxseeds, to the diets of hens
increases the omega-3 fatty acid content of eggs by over six times
that of regular eggs. Eating two fortified eggs may provide an adequate
amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Egg producers also add vitamin E
to the flaxseed feed to keep it stable. This can cause the vitamin
E content of fortified eggs to be as much as eight times higher
than that of normal eggs. It is also worthy to note that eggs can
taste better with the vitamin E enrichment
Sometimes referred to as “the poor
man’s meat,” legumes are an excellent source of soluble
fiber, which is important for keeping an athlete’s blood sugar
and energy levels stable. As far as plant foods go, most legumes
are relatively high in protein and are a good source of slow releasing
complex carbohydrates. This is great for providing a more stable
and longer lasting supply of energy for working out. Legumes can
be eaten in chili, stews, and soups, and are also enjoyable when
served cold in bean salads. Some of the more common legumes found
in the U.S. include pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, lima
beans, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and black-eyed peas. Legumes
can be purchased dry, canned, and sometimes frozen.
Allium vegetables, such as garlic,
chives, onions, scallions, and leeks, are a flavorful way to add
healthful nutrients to a bodybuilder’s diet. The benefits
of garlic and other allium vegetables may come from their abundant
flavonoids, such as quercetin, and also from their sulfur-containing
compounds. Allium vegetables may be more beneficial when uncooked.
So you may want to add them to sandwiches, salads, salad dressings,
and other raw recipes to get the most from them.
Low in fat, a source of protein, and high
in essential minerals, mollusks can be a good addition to a bodybuilder’s
diet. Three popular and nutritious mollusk choices are clams, oysters,
and mussels. Clams, in particular, lead the way for all foods in
heme iron content. Heme iron – found only in red meat, poultry,
fish, and seafood – is iron bound to a nonprotein compound
that is much more easily absorbed by the body than free iron. Clams
are also an excellent source of vitamin B12 and copper. These three
nutrients may help maintain good blood status for delivering oxygen
to working muscles. Along with copper, mollusks are also rich in
zinc and selenium. These minerals are necessary for the proper functioning
of the body’s immune system and its antioxidant defenses.
Mollusks can be cooked in a variety of ways, including steaming,
stewing, roasting, baking, broiling, sautéing, poaching,
Nuts are a very rich source of nutrients, including polyunsaturated
fatty acids, vegetable proteins, fiber, vitamin E, potassium, folate,
magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, phosphorous, phytosterols, antioxidants,
and arginine. Although nuts are considered a fatty food, the fat
in them may be beneficial. Some healthful choices for the bodybuilder
include almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia
nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios. But remember,
eating too much of a good thing can really increase your caloric
intake, which could lead to an increase in bodyfat. A good guideline
may be to eat one or two servings per day. A serving is one ounce
Bodybuilders may find whole-grain foods helpful in providing steady
energy for hard training. Whole-grain foods are rich in vitamins,
minerals, fiber, and essential fatty acids. Some examples of good
whole-grain foods include oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, barley, spelt,
brown rice, and some hot and cold breakfast cereals. Be wary of
products labeled "100% wheat," "stone-ground,"
"multi-grain," "seven-grain," "12-grain,"
or "organic." They often contain very little whole grain.
Instead, look for whole-grain products that say 100% whole wheat.
One of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids,
salmon is a great way to add more musclebuilding protein to your
diet. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are important building blocks
of cell membranes and, like protein, may help athletes recover from
strenuous workouts. Omega-3 fatty acids are also a great addition
to anyone’s fat-loss plan.
Not often do you find
a natural food that actually benefits nutritionally by being cooked
and processed. This seems to be the case, however, for tomatoes.
It appears that even though some vitamin C is lost when tomatoes
are heated, the antioxidant power is increased during the process.
Researchers have found that the antioxidant lycopene, which is the
pigment that makes tomatoes and other fruits like pink grapefruit
and watermelon red, is made more bioavailable to the human body
after heating. Foods rich in lycopene include canned tomatoes, tomato
sauce, tomato juice, tomato paste, salsa, and ketchup.
Also known as linseeds, flaxseeds are small, oval-shaped seeds
from the blue flowering flax plant. Flaxseeds are considered one
of the best plant sources of healthful omega-3 essential fatty acids,
and they're also a good source of fiber. Flaxseeds (but not all
flaxseed oil) are rich in phytochemicals called lignans that may
have strong antioxidant properties that can help you stay healthy.
There are several sources of lignans, such as whole grains, various
berries, and soybeans, but flaxseeds are the best source. For easier
digestion, flaxseeds should be ground first; a coffee grinder is
good for this. The pleasant, nutty flavor of ground flaxseeds can
be enjoyed in many foods, such as baked breads, muffins, and cookies.
They can also be eaten in salads, cereals, soups, sauces, or mixed
with a serving of NITRO-TECH® protein powder.
Vegetables such as watercress,
broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, and cabbage are known
as cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are high in fiber, rich
in vitamin C, very low in calories, and a good source of healthful
phytonutrients. Eating cruciferous vegetables is a good way to take
in important micronutrients without taking in a lot of calories.
Bodybuilders wishing to lose bodyfat will find cruciferous vegetables
to be a good addition to a their focused diet. Try to get three
or more servings of these vegetables each week.
It is also interesting to note that cruciferous
vegetables can be a dieting bodybuilder’s best friend, as in
many cases they require more calories to be digested than they provide.
Cruciferous vegetables not only help fill you up, but they also help
you burn more calories!
Bodybuilders put great demand on their bodies during heavy training.
Eating well will keep you going strong and staying healthy. Remember,
a healthy bodybuilder is a better bodybuilder, so try to add some
of these “superfoods” today.