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San Diego, Ca
I am just a regular guy who is learning the importance of happiness through diet and exercise. I am in school for sociology and psychology, I do not have a formal degree in nutrition or fitness. I do all research on my own time through books, internet, friends, documentaries, and school. I believe in basics, and I want to clear through the smoke surrounding a lot of nutrition and fitness claims pushed to the public, and find the one's they try to hide.I also like to discuss other topics related to happiness.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Power Foods

These are a few foods that should be consumed in a healthy quantity on a regular basis, and reasons why it would be beneficial.

Nuts: High in protein to build and maintain muscle, and high in fibber to clean out your system. Also high in monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E, and magnesium. Can help suppress your appetite when used as a snack because of the fiber.

Beans and Legumes: High in fiber, protein, Iron, and folate.  They are a great source of fiber, and soybeans are very high in complete protein to help build and maintain muscle.

Green Vegetables: They help to neutralize free radicals, which are molecules that accelerate the aging process. They are loaded in vitamins like A, C, and K and minerals that include magnesium and calcium for bone and muscle development. Spinach and broccoli are two of the best.

Dairy: Yogurt and cheeses are a great source of calcium. Some studies have found calcium to not only improve bone strength but also to help with weight loss. It is believed that calcium can increase the breakdown of fats and hinder the development of new fat.

Eggs: Eggs are a great source of protein, and eggs contain protein that is more efficient for building muscle than other sources like milk or meats. If eating eggs it is suggested to only eat one yolk per every two or three eggs.

Lean Meats: Tuna and salmon contain large amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for your arteries. Lean meats are a great source of protein, but stick to light, skinless cuts of meat like turkey. If you eat red meat, try to eat bison or get sirloin cuts. Stay away from ground beef and fatty cuts of steak like T-bones and rib-eyes.

Peanut or Almond Butter: Unsalted natural peanut or almond butter is loaded with monounsaturated fats and can increase testosterone. This can help with muscle development and weight loss. The more lean muscle your body has the faster your metabolism will be capable of working and the more fat you can burn. Almond butter contains more vitamin E and fiber than peanut butter, but both will do the trick. Remember to limit your intake of these to about 3 Tbls. A day because of the fat content, don’t overdue it or it defeats the purpose.

Oils: Olive, Canola, peanut, and sesame oils are all great option. Each has a different temperature at which they will lose their valuable properties if reached, so do research on which works best for you. They will help with cholesterol and are high in good fats (monounsaturated) and Vitamin E. They are great when used in moderation.

Whole grains: Don’t eat processed “white” grain rice, breads, or pastas. This process destroys the germ and bran and leaves only the endospore, which is starch. The fiber, protein, and nutrients are all lost. Whole grains burn slowly and keep insulin levels low, which help prevent your body from storing fat. Avoid these at night however, as they burn slowly and will sit in your system while you sleep.

Whey: Whey protein is a high quality protein that contains essential amino acids that help build muscle and burn fat. Finding a good protein powder is not difficult, you need to look at just a few simple things. First off, you do not need one that contains more than 25 grams per serving, as your body can typically only process 25 grams of protein at one time. You also want to look for mostly whey isolates, try to find a powder that says it is at least 75-80% isolates. Also check the ingredients, make sure there are not a lot of added unnecessary ingredients (a little glutamine is OK). Side Note -  Ricotta cheese is made from whey, so maybe try using it when your meals call for cheese.

Berries: Essential for antioxidants, fiber, vitamin C, and more. Antioxidants will help fight against cancers and heart disease.  They are also high in fiber and help to regulate your bowel movements.

Other specific superfoods that you may want to look into:
(These can all be added to your smoothie or post-workout shakes)

Spirulina: Spirulina has more nutrients per acre than any other food. It contains all essential and non-essential amino acids, which are needed to build and utilize protein. It comes in a green algae powder you can add to smoothies or shakes.

Flaxseed: Flaxseed is known to help lower bad cholesterol and to regulate bowel movements. This is important as it helps to flush the “junk” out of your colon and your body. It has other benefits you can look up as well.

Bee-Pollen: Bee-pollen comes in a bottle and is a good source of protein.

Glutamine: Glutamine helps with muscle soreness and metabolism, it has no common side effects or horrible uncommon ones either. Glutamine is necessary for protein synthesis during stressful times, like during an intense workout.

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