3 Foods to Boost Your Fitness Goals

BY Kate O'Leary TIMEJuly 21, 2014 PRINT

Staying fit isn’t just about exercise output – it shares an equal relation to caloric and nutritional input, and how the chemical reaction of each ingredient can influence the body. You know the basics: easy on the pizza. Hands off the cookie dough. Unfortunately, while many fitness-seekers know what not to eat, they haven’t figured out which foods to gravitate toward. Discover three foods that can serve as assets, accelerants, fuels and replinishers.

#1: Quinoa

Commonly mistaken as a grain, Quinoa is actually a seed from the Spinach and beet family, but with one crucial difference – it’s fortified with some seriously powerful protein (including the amino acid, lysine). It’s also a healthy option for those partaking in a gluten-free diet.

Effect on the Body: The B vitamins will help you synthesize nutrients and lose weight more efficiently, the fiber will make you less likely to binge on unhealthy foods, and the protein will help you maintain lean tissue while burning fat for fuel.

How to Serve It: Boil it first, then experiment. It can be used as a substitute for cereal, brown rice, salad, and much more. Life Fitness offers you two recipes of their own: Chocolate Banana Breakfast Quinoa, and Northwest Quinoa Salad. Enjoy!

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#2: Greek Yogurt (Plain)

Greek yogurt offers double the protein of regular yogurt, with minimal sugar or caloric cost. Need more proof? A 2011 Harvard study found that yogurt was one of the two foods most commonly correlated to weight loss (along with nuts).

Effect on the Body: B vitamins once again help synthesize nutrients, and a cup featuring 100 calories provides an excellent 17 grams of protein. The probiotics are a boon for your digestive and immune system. Lastly, a University of Tennessee study showed that the calcium in yogurt signals fat cells to pump out less cortisol, which in turn makes it easier to lose weight and body fat.

How to Serve It: In the morning, plain or with fruit, oats, and other nutritious accoutrements. For later in the day, it can be used as a spinach dip, a smoothie, or even a substitute for sour cream and mayonnaise.

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#3: Watermelon

A single cup of cubed red watermelon contains only 50 calories, and is further bolstered by being 92 percent water. The benefit: eating water-rich foods make the stomach feel full (in ways that drinking water does not), and at 50 calories, it allows you to meet your dietary goals without feeling the pain.

Effect on the Body: Aside from feeling full, watermelon also contains antioxidants like vitamin C and lycopene, the latter of which reduces the risk of cancer and heart disease. Furthermore, the L-citrulline improves heart function, circulation, and soothes sore muscles, improving recovery time for the next day’s work out. 

How to Serve It: By itself is always delicious, and it also works out great in a fruit salad.

Source: Visit the Life Fitness blog for more health and fitness information.

*Images of “quinoa salad“, “greek yogurt” and “watermelon” via Shutterstock

Kate O'Leary
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