There’s a whole lot of hoopla about how people are spending their money on avocado toast instead of investing it into buying a home. We can’t help but shake our heads at the absurdity of the debate because all we can think is how nutritious avocado is! It’s one of the few superfoods that tastes good on its own and gives you a ton of energy (and mental get-go) to kick things into high-gear for a good workout.
Tell ’em: Darn right I want my avocado toast!
Let’s use this as an opportunity to talk about superfoods, why they’re so special, and how they perfectly blend with dieting and exercise.
What Puts the “Super” in Superfoods?
“Superfoods” is the moniker we’ve given dozens of food items partially out the result of marketing campaigns and also because they’re packed with nutrients more so than the average item you pluck from the grocery store shelves.
Superfoods tend to have these nutritional characteristics in common:
- Anti-inflammatory fats
One of the main differences is the amount of these in a single serving of the food which becomes very noticeable when compared to processed goods. The other is how effective they are at delivering these nutrients and benefits to the body due to their potency. Plus, they’re foreign to us because many come from other countries which give them a mystique.
To sum it up: Superfoods is like taking an over-the-counter vitamin but in natural form.
Got it? Great! How about you…Pick These Up on the Next Trip to the Store
Disregard the cost of superfoods for this moment and focus on how much it would have cost to receive the same level of nutrients if they were spread across a larger set of ingredients. Instead of a humongous helping to hit macros you’re munching on one or two superfoods for the same nutritional benefits. Wouldn’t you think the cost evens out? Queue not feeling guilty about avocado toast now.
Need a shopping list next time you’re in the market and what they bring to the table?
- Avocado – Not only is it delicious but it’s packed with healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and oleic acid which protects from heart, eye, and brain diseases.
- Salmon (Wild) – The top-tier of healthy, succulent fish that’s loaded with protein, vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins… it’s the perfect fit when you need a protein.
- Walnuts – Take your pick at just about any nut but walnuts make the list because they’re immensely versatile as an ingredient and they’re chock full of omega-3’s to help lower blood pressure and ward off heart disease.
- Insects – Yes, really, and although you won’t find them too easily they are making their way into the States because of their high protein to low-fat ratio.
- Kale – Now we’re talking trend! Kale is on the radar because it contains a phytonutrient that’s found to help reduce cancers.
- Beans – They’re great for a cheap, filling meal but keeps on giving since they’re full of B vitamins, potassium, and calcium — a great choice to complement a workout.
- Almond Milk – One of the best alternatives for those not too keen on dairy; this beverage comes with lower calories, evokes healthy skin, and helps to avoid the nasty side of cow milk.
- Dark Chocolate – Satisfy that sweet tooth while gaining the benefits of boosting your overall mood and lowering cholesterol thanks in part to its antioxidants.
- Oats – Load up on oats because they’re cheap and provide a stellar amount of potassium, magnesium, and phytonutrients (like kale!) to help with blood sugar and ward off heart disease.
- Sunflower Seeds – A delicious snack you’ll eat by the handful that’s low in calories but big in healthy fats, fiber, and protein.
- Nori – The green stuff wrapping your favorite sushi rolls is also available as a healthy snack; these quick bites can prevent tumors (via phytonutrients) and keep you regular thanks to the fiber. You’re always welcome to explore the hundred+ others of superfoods that come highly praised. Mix it up until you find the ones you like — not all of them are tasty, to be honest — and then get them…
Supercharge Diets & Workouts
Some of you are on the side of chowing down before a workout while others live by the post-workout meal. You do you, but consider what superfoods bring to the table (or should we say gym?).
Superfoods like pineapple and especially raspberries help to prevent EIMD (exercise-induced muscle damage) if eaten after a meal. Coconut water is an electrolyte laden drink that could easily replace Gatorade to keep you going. Nuts (walnuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts) gives the necessary protein to promote muscle growth — try them in a trail mix, too.
Superfoods that are high in antioxidants also help with preventing fatigue and cellular damage. If you want a one-two punch then take a look at our nutritional programming mixed with training to see what’s possible when you mix superfoods with a super workout!
A Trend Toward the Future
At the end of the day, we should remember that this recent uptick in going wild for superfoods is a bit of a trend. These foods have always been there — we just haven’t really caught on until now. It’s important that we’re not setting the expectations high as if these are miracle foods. Kris-Etherton, a profession in nutrition at Penn State, had this to say:
“A lot of people have unrealistic expectations about these foods, thinking they’ll be protected from chronic diseases and health problems. They may eat one or two of these nutrient-dense foods on top of a poor diet.”
What matters is that we’re getting enough vitamins and nutrients from a wide selection of foods. Yes, superfoods are super and yes, we should include them to improve our diet and exercise.
Even if it’s a trend then so what? These foods are delicious and great for us so next time someone gives you lip about wasting money on avocado toast… dead-lift them and toss ’em out of your way because you’ve got great things to accomplish!
Are you a super food junkie? Have you noticed a difference? Leave a comment below!
// Your La Jolla Sports Club team