Whether you are new to the fitness scene or are a veteran, it goes without saying that no fitness goals can be attained without a clear outline of what it means to eat clean, while still allowing yourself some of the simple pleasures in life.  Arming yourself with a knowledge of the best super foods to nourish your body will not only help you to achieve your goals, but are tasty enough to make you want to continue down your path even after your goals have been met and taken to the next level. The saying is true, abs really are made in the kitchen.

To break it down, super foods are simple foods or a combination of foods that are stacked with high doses of natural vitamins, antioxidants, protein, fiber, etc. the list is practically endless. Most Superfoods can be identified by a rich colour, such as spinach, broccoli, and beets. But others, such as oatmeal, are not so blatantly obvious to identify when walking through the aisles of your local grocery store.

I have gone through website after website trying to nail down a list that has ten super foods that are without a doubt the best of the best. Yet, I consistently run into different lists, made by different doctors, naturopaths and even University students such as myself. So, I have compiled my own list based on what I believe works best to keep me active, healthy and motivated to achieve more and is also easy to track down in the aisles of the grocery store and whip up quickly before or after work or school.

Apples

“An apple a day keeps the Doctor away.”

Apples are one of the best super foods out there. Not only are they delicious; they are packed with fiber, coming in at about 30% of the average humans daily intake in one apple, which helps keep you full and energized. Apples also help lower cholesterol and aid with weight loss as each apple has roughly 40-55 calories depending on the size. Believe it or not, one of the best aspects of apples is the skin. The skin is loaded with antioxidants such a flavonoids and polyphenois, which help with heart health and the prevention of lung cancer.

Spinach

This lovely green leaf is a fantastic addition to any salad, wrap, or sandwich. It is actually nearly impossible to identify all of the health benefits of spinach because it is so jam packed with nutrients. Low calorie and awash with cancer preventing antioxidants, spinach keeps your body strong and healthy while also being versatile enough to fit into most meals. Additionally, spinach is known to sharpen eye sight and fight cardiovascular disease.  Try it in a salad with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, gogi berries, hemp hearts and strawberries for a wicked super food meal.

Dark Chocolate

It is important to note that only dark chocolate has the health benefits of a super food. Milk and white chocolate are packed with synthetic sugars and additives that should, ideally, not be introduced into your body. While dark chocolate should only be had in small doses as a treat due to its high caloric intake, it does increase blood flow and help attain an overall healthy heart. These benefits are fantastic for people interested in fitness, as having strong cardiovascular ability and stamina help not only with running, swimming and other cardio-based workouts, but also assists in pumping oxygen to the muscles for an even better swell.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is one of the best breakfast foods for weight loss for it is low calorie and high in fiber and protein. These aspects keep you full and energized for the day to come without feeling bloated and slow from the initial carb intake. Oats are also high in potassium, magnesium and zinc; nutrients which prevent your muscles from cramping. The protein in oatmeal also helps the muscles rebuild and keep you full. Overall, oats are a fantastic super food as they are usually pretty cheap and a breeze to make on the go.

Blueberries

In my first year Psychology class I learnt that if you eat a cup of wild blueberries each day, it could significantly improve your memory. I have yet to prove that theory myself, but with the nutrients compiled in blueberries, I would not be surprised. The reason blueberries are such a common super food is due to their immense dose of the antioxidant phytonutrients. This antioxidant helps the cells in the body communicate more clearly and helps fight the replication of cancer cells. Blueberries fight cancer, improve brain function and are delightfully delicious. 

Tea

Sorry to all you coffee drinkers, but tea is amazing.  According to super foods RX, there are over 3,000 kinds of tea available worldwide, and this popularity is for good reason. Tea not only fights various kinds of cancer but also prevents osteoporosis and strokes, improves heart health, lowers blood pressure and improves skin quality. When milk and sugar is not added tea also has zero calories, and counts towards ones’ daily intake of fluids. It is easy to sip hot or cold and is sometimes used in helping people relax at the end of a long day or to kick start the immune and digestive systems in the morning. Of course, it is also a great way to add some flavour to the large quantities of water that needs to be consumed in a day, especially by athletes.

Salmon

Growing up mostly on Vancouver Island, I was privileged to enjoy some incredible fresh salmon. We could go down to the marina, pick our fish – caught fresh that morning – and cook it for dinner. Through this routine I acquired a taste for salmon and it has since been one of my favourite sources of protein. Salmon contains Omega-3 fatty acids which are a crucial aspect of your diet, as this is the source of healthy fats that the body needs to function with efficiency. Fish oils are also great for the skin, eyes and hair. Include salmon in your diet one or two nights a week to reap the rewards of this great super food option that is not as dense as chicken or red meat but still contains healthy fats, vitamins and protein for strong muscles and lean bodies.

Garlic

Who doesn’t love garlic? Admittedly, healthy eating can sometimes be a bland experience, as some foods such as brown rice or plain chicken do not have a lot of flavour on their own. Thankfully, we have garlic. Its health benefits come from its sulfur compounds such as Allicin; an amino acid which you can thank for it’s flawless odor. Garlic also contains vitamin C and vitamin B6. B6 helps break down fats and carbohydrates and can help regulate mood swings in women.

There you have it, the list above contains the basic super foods that I urge you to include into your healthy eating habits. They will change your day-to-day routine for the better and allow your body to transform and remain strong through out the process. A solid source of energy is crucial to fitness and the above foods will give you the energy and muscle recovery you need to go above and beyond on your fitness journey.

Of course, there are still plenty other amazing super foods available and there is plenty of information online about all of them. Items are added everyday as new research comes forward and it is worth looking into, as super foods are key ingredients to a long, happy and healthy life.

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