The world’s healthiest foods are the basis for my preference for fueling after exercise. I train in excess of 24 hours a week, so I take this seriously. They are whole foods and they are nutrient-rich. Here are the three top takeaways:
This is full of vitamins K and A. It also contains high levels of manganese, folate, magnesium, iron, and potassium.
Moreover, spinach contains significant protection against damage to cell structures, and the flavonoids act as anti-inflammatory compounds, which help with recovery. It’s a major source of selenium – an antioxidant – and helps lower the risk of oxidative stress.
(Go easy if you’re trying to lose weight.) If you are lean, this is great food, but serve them with sour cream and good quality butter. Why? Because good healthy fats help keep our blood sugar lower, which lowers the impact of insulin on storing FAT.
Sweet potatoes have an unusual blood sugar-regulating benefit; they contain adiponectin, which is a protein hormone produced by our fat cells, and it serves as an important modifier of insulin metabolism.
The vegetable is also a high source of bioavailable beta-carotene. It promotes antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection and is high in vitamins A and C.
This vegetable is on the top of the clean fifteen of organic foods. It’s full of mono-saturated fats, high levels of phytosterols, and polyhydroxylated fatty acids with excellent anti-inflammatory benefits. It also increases our HDL and lowers our LDL cholesterol.
The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds in winter squash has shown this food to have clear potential in the area of cancer prevention.
It’s high in vitamins B1, B3, and B6, which are also beneficial for blood sugar control.
High in levels of carotenoid, they also have an important antioxidant function of deactivating free radicals, which are single-oxygen atoms that can damage cells by reacting with other molecules.
This is full of health-promoting compounds such as glucosinolates, which promote detoxification. It also contains high levels of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and carotenoids.
It’s high in vitamin K and C and chromium, and it’s great for heart health, digestive health, and metabolism.
Don’t eat it raw, just lightly cooked and covered with olive oil or butter.
This contains high levels of CLA, or conjugated linoleic acid (2.5 times more than from non-grass-fed beef).
The benefits of this are increased immune and anti-inflammatory system support, improved bone mass and blood sugar regulation, reduced body fat, and maintenance of lean body mass. Don’t be scared of eating the fat in the meat.
Ribeye and scotch filet are fantastic – cook it with good-quality butter, lard, or olive oil or grill it on a BBQ grill. Never use vegetable oils. Beware of beef that is finished on grain. Ask questions and do your research for the best meat possible.
There are significant benefits here for cardiovascular support because of the high levels of Omega 3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic (EPA).
One serving can deliver 450mg of EPA. Numerous inflammation-related health problems have been shown to be reduced with improved EPA intake. The meat is also one of the top sources of vitamin D to help with pro-inflammatory signaling.
Moreover, it contains high levels of selenium, which supports the function of metabolism and protects from oxidative stress. (Only buy wild-caught salmon, not farmed, as farmed fish is usually fed grain.)
These are very high in vitamin B12 and selenium and very rich in heart-healthy Omega 3 fatty Acids (EPA) and bone-building calcium.
They promote heart health and, like salmon, they have excellent levels of alpha-linilenicacid (ALA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
They are one of the top foods for Omega 3 richness, even higher than salmon. Have them for breakfast and power your body through the day and after your workouts.
Free-range/pasture-raised eggs have very broad nutrient support. All B vitamins are found in eggs. They also contain high levels of choline, iodine, and selenium, as well as high levels of Omega 3s and excellent levels of phosphorus.
This is critical for your bones, teeth, and DNA/RNA. It’s also one of the main regulators of energy metabolism in organs and helps generate energy in every cell of your body.
The best thing is that eggs can be easily taken to the gym boiled and are a great fast, healthy meal to eat any time, not just for breakfast. I eat two eggs every day of the year without fail.
Flaxseeds or flaxseed meals and oils are excellent for athletes.
They are unique in regard to nutrition, being incredibly rich in anti-inflammatory Omega -3 fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Special support is provided for digestive health that’s critical for proper nutrient uptake into our bodies. It’s a great food to support women’s health to lessen menopausal symptoms too.
Finally, it’s high in fiber to help with the passage of food through the digestive tract, which is critical for our ability to take in nutrients so we can train and recover properly.
Andre Obradovic is an ICF Leadership PPC Level Coach, A Primal Health Coach, a Certified Low Carb Healthy Fat Coach, & a Certified Personal Trainer. Andre is also a Founding member of the Dr. Phil Maffetone MAF certified Coach. He is an Ambassador for the Noakes Foundation, and a regular subject matter expert lecturer for the Nutrition Network (a part of the Noakes Foundation) Andre has completed 16 x 70.3 Ironmans and in 2017 he competed in the 70.3 Ironman World Championships. He has completed 18 Marathons and over 30 Half Marathons. Andre currently focuses his athletic competition on Track and Field with the occasional Marathon.