Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Super Foods

Today I thought I would focus back on diet and discuss "Super Foods" that everyone should eat not only to help with weight loss, but also for all around good health.

Not only are they good for you, but they taste good too and are readily available.

WebMD has a list of 10 everyday Super Foods that we should incorporate into our diet. One thing their experts point out is that this list of top super foods by no means includes all the nutritious foods that should be part of a healthy diet. Also portion size needs to be considered when eating these foods. For example, nuts are an excellent super food but if you over eat them you will pack on the pounds and that defeats the purpose.

Now onto the list!

1. Low fat or fat free plain yogurt- higher in calcium than some other dairy products and contains a great package of other nutrients, including protein and potassium. It can also be enhanced with other good-for-you substances (like fruit). When shopping, look for plain yogurt fortified with Vitamin D.

2. Eggs- make the list because they are nutritious, versatile, economical, and a great way to fill up on quality protein. "Studies show if you eat eggs at breakfast, you may eat fewer calories during the day and lose weight without significantly affecting cholesterol levels," says Elizabeth Ward, MS, RD, author of The Pocket Idiot's Guide to the New Food Pyramids. Eggs also contain 12 vitamins and minerals, including choline, which is good for brain development and memory. Enjoy them at any meal or hard-cooked as a portable snack.

3. Nuts- have gotten a bad rap because of their high fat content, but they contain heart-healthy fats, high fiber and antioxidant content and that is why they make the list. The key to enjoying nuts is portion control. All nuts are healthy in small doses and studies show they may lower cholesterol levels and promote weight loss.

4. Kiwi's- are among the most nutritionally dense fruits, full of antioxidants, says Ward. "One large kiwi supplies your daily requirement for vitamin C," says Ward. "It is also a good source of potassium, fiber, and a decent source of vitamin A and vitamin E, which is one of the missing nutrients, and kiwi is one of the only fruits that provides it." The sweet taste and colorful appearance of kiwis makes it easy to slice in half, scoop out with a spoon and enjoy alone, or slice it into desserts, salads, or side dishes. Kiwifruit can also have a mild laxative effect due to their high fiber content.

5. Quinoa- easy to make, high in protein, fiber and a naturally good source of iron. It also has plenty of zinc, vitamin E and selenium to help control your weight and lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes.

6. Beans- are loaded with insoluble fiber, which helps lower cholesterol, as well as soluble fiber, which fills you up and helps rid your body of waste. They're also a good, low-fat source of protein, carbohydrates, magnesium, and potassium

7. Salmon- a super food because of its omega-3 fatty acid content. Studies show that omega-3 fatty acids help protect heart health. That's why the American Heart Association recommends eating fatty fish like salmon twice weekly. Salmon is low in calories (200 for 3 ounces) has lots of protein, is a good source of iron, and is very low in saturated fat. You can simply grill or bake it, top it with salsas or other low-fat sauces, or serve it on top of salad greens. If you don't like salmon, Lichtenstein recommends eating other kinds of fish, like canned tuna. And what about the mercury content? (Mercury is known to accumulate in fish.) "The benefits of eating salmon or other fatty fish twice weekly far outweigh any risks, but if you are concerned, check with your doctor," says Zied.

8. Broccoli- It's a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and bone-building vitamin K, and has plenty of fiber to fill you up and help control your weight. "Some people think beta-carotene (vitamin A) is only found in orange and yellow vegetables, but broccoli is an excellent source," says Ward.

9. Sweet Potatoes- are a delicious member of the dark orange vegetable family, which lead the pack in vitamin A content. Substitute a baked sweet potato (also loaded with vitamin C, calcium, and potassium) for a baked white potato. And before you add butter or sugar, taste the sweetness that develops when a sweet potato is cooked -- and think of all the calories you can save over that loaded baked potato. "If we eat more foods like sweet potatoes that are rich sources of potassium, and fewer high-sodium foods, we can blunt the effect of sodium on blood pressure and reduce bone loss," says Zied. Other dark orange vegetable standouts include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash, and orange bell peppers.

10. Berries- loaded with antioxidants, phytonutrients, low in calories, and high in water and fiber to help control blood sugar and keep you full longer. Blueberries lead the pack because they are among the best source of antioxidants and are widely available. Cranberries are also widely available fresh, frozen, or dried.

I must note there are MANY other super foods out there, common ones(pomegranate juice, oats, avacado, cacao, apricots, cinnamon) and not so common ones(wheat grass, barley grass, goji berries, noni, royal jelly, noni, ginseng) but I thought I would focus on those easiest to buy and eat every day.

If you are interested in reading about other super foods, check out these links:
I found them to be a good read.

Now to recap my yesterday.
I didn't make to to CX like I originally wanted. By the time I got to the gym it was 5:45 and CX starts at 5:30. So instead I got on the treadmill and started running at 5.5 mph then upped it to 6.1 mph. I was able to get 2.5 miles done in 24 minutes.

Next came Body Flow. It was an excellent class. We did a new routine and it was great for working on new balancing moves. Very ballerina like. I left feeling very refreshed and more like my normal self. I really think I just needed a good run, a good sweat, and a good class to get me out of my funk. I also burned 708 calories in the process.

So my calories burned yesterday was 526 calories for plyometrics, 377 for chest and back, and 708 for running and yoga. Making my grand total burned: 1,611. Not bad!

Tip of the day: I thought this was a great cheat sheet.

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