Add 'superfoods' to your diet
It's important to understand that the energy needed to function and stay healthy does not necessarily come from calories, it comes from the nutrients that make up those calories.
While "quantity of calories" is an important factor in maintaining a healthy weight, "quality of calories" is an essential factor in maximizing overall health.
Consuming the following superfoods -- nutrient-rich foods that have considerable health benefits -- on a daily basis is one way to improve the quality of your diet.
Dark Leafy Greens. Although kale, spinach, and watercress sound like boring vegetables, they're actually quite versatile. They can be eaten raw in salads, added to soups, blended into smoothies, or even baked into traditional dishes. These powerhouse greens have plenty of anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients while yielding minimal calories per serving.
Eggs. Unfortunately eggs sometimes get a strike against them due to their negative correlation with cholesterol levels, but new studies show we may have been wrong to demonize the egg after all. Eggs contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, protein, and natural fat. Consider the quality of the eggs you eat and be aware of how the chickens were raised that laid the eggs -- the healthier the chicken, the healthier the egg.
Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds contain healthy fats, fiber, and plant-based protein, all of which help you feel satiated when consumed. They are a bit more caloric dense, so know your serving size. You're better off buying unsalted and adding a pinch of sea salt if you need a bit more flavor.
Berries. Blueberries, cherries, acai, goji, and cranberries are loaded with antioxidants and add some fun color to your diet. Eating a variety of these berries will help fight inflammation, disease, and the signs of aging. Steer clear of sugary juices that contain these fruits and eat fresh organic when possible. Have a half cup of mixed berries with a hard-boiled egg as a snack or simply blend them into a nutritious smoothie.
Salmon. This fish is loaded with protein and healthy omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3's are a natural anti-inflammatory that help fight systemic inflammation -- the underlying cause to many diseases. Grilled salmon and a side of vegetables makes a wonderful dinner that really satisfies and leaves you feeling full but not bloated. Know where your salmon came from and buy wild caught when possible.
Avocados. Although avocados are also a caloric dense food, they are loaded with healthy fats and phytonutrients and definitely worth their caloric content. They also contain Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K as well as potassium. The healthy fat content in avocados improves your body's ability to regulate blood sugar and adds wonderful flavor to your dishes. Add a slice of avocado to a burger or make a guacamole topping for a taco salad.
So, benefit from the effect superfoods have on your energy and health by eating them often. For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit PushFitnessTraining.com for links to our blog and social media resources.
• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.