Whole food ingredients for a healthy boost to your day
By Kimberly Mueller, MS, RD, CSSD
Providing 18 grams of easy-to-digest carbohydrate energy, this fruit is an excellent whole food fuel option before, during, and after workouts. Furthermore, as the date matures, levels of anti-bacterial compounds called polyphenols have been shown to increase thereby kicking in some immune-benefit to boot.
According to recent research, beyond providing a hefty 6g of protein and 4g of fiber per ounce, almonds, a tree nut, may help improve intestinal health when consumed daily over 6-weeks by increasing levels of healthy bacteria-bifidobacteria and lactobacilli-in the gut.
Produced by honey bees using nectar from flowers, honey provides 17 grams of easy-to-digest carbohydrate energy per tablespoon along with a healthy cocktail of vitamins and minerals, making it a popular fuel choice for before, during, and after workouts.
EGG WHITE PROTEIN
Eggs have long been known as an excellent high-quality source of protein, providing all the essential amino acids tat are used by the body as building blocks for the synthesis of new proteins, including muscle. Daily protein recommendations range from 0.8g to 2.0g/kg body weight daily with levels in the 1.2-2.0 g/kg range targeted towards athletes to support increased protein turnover.
Derived from the macadamia tree, macadamia are rich in monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA). Research has demonstrated diets rich in MUF to lower total and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing cardio-protective HDL cholesterol levels in the blood.
Simply prepared with gluten-free oats and a sprinkling of honey and canola oil, granola provides a sweet addition to any meal or snack. Oats contain beta glucan, a complex chain of indigestible sugar molecules that, in science, has been shown to help significantly lower total and LDL (lease desirable) cholesterol levels, thereby reducing overall cardiovascular risk.
Derived from the beans of the Theobroma cacao tree, cocoa is particularly rich in dietary compounds called flavonoids of which have been shown to elicit cardioprotective effects through their antioxidant activity.
A common spice used in cooking, cinnamon contains powerful plant-based polyphenols that function as antioxidants. A number of studies have shown regular consumption to help control blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
Derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, green tea contains plant compounds called catchin-polyphenols and caffeine that initiate an increase in thermogenesis (aka energy expenditure) and fat oxidation (breakdown of fat for energy) through it’s impact on the sympathetic nervous system.
Consisting of 1/3 oil and 2/3 fiber, flaxseed, whose scientific name Linum usitatissimum appropriately means “most useful” packs quite the nutritional punch. Its oil is a rich source of essential fatty acids, especially alpha linolenic acid (ALA) omega-3 fatty acid, and the fiberous byproduct of the seed is chock-full of vitamins and minerals as well as a group of chemical compounds called lignans, all attributes that have been shown to enhance cardiovascular health.