Developing strong, explosive muscles calls for consuming nutrient-rich foods. Take your training and game to the next level by including these Super Foods in your diet.
Vitamins A, C and E, along with selenium, phytochemicals and phenols, establish broccoli's Super Food status. The latter two nutrients function as antioxidants, which help prevent muscle damage and promote muscle recovery by combating free radical destruction.
2. Sweet potatoes
Besides being a complex carbohydrate, sweet potatoes contain generous amounts of two well-known antioxidants, vitamins A and C, which fight inflammation and muscle damage caused by heavy training.
This nut has higher antioxidant content than any other. Walnuts also contain arginine, an amino acid the body uses to produce nitric oxide, which is necessary for keeping blood vessels flexible. Walnuts, like salmon, are an excellent source of omega-3s.
Available in a variety of foods, ranging from milk to veggie burgers, soy is unique because it's the only plant-based protein that contains all essential amino acids. Consuming these either pre- or post-training improves protein balance and maximizes the muscle building that occurs before and after resistance training. Soy also contains isoflavones, which are powerful antioxidants that fight oxidative stress during exercise.
A longtime favorite for bodybuilders, oats have benefits all athletes can reap. They are loaded with complex carbs, ideal fuel for high intensity training, because they can be used during anaerobic activity.
Known for high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, this fish is a great source of protein. The healthy fats prevent and treat inflammatory diseases. Interestingly, they also may be beneficial in lessening the inflammatory response that occurs during heavy lifting and exercise.
A refreshing pick-me-up, blueberries are packed with powerful antioxidants called polyphenols, which lessen inflammation and prevent cellular damage. They also serve as a source of fiber, manganese and vitamin K.
Josh Hingst is the former director of sports nutrition and assistant strength and conditioning coach for football at Florida State University.
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