10 Best Fitness Foods For Women

Women's Health |

Consider these the ‘Olympics’ of super foods! 

Add these 10 fitness food to your diet for a better workout and gold medal-worthy results! Did we mention, they’re delicious too?

1. Avocados

The cholesterol-lowering monounsaturated fat in these green health bombs can help keep your body strong and pain free. US researchers found that competitive women runners who ate less than 20 percent fat were more likely to suffer injuries than those who consumed at least 31 percent. Prof Peter Horvath speculates that the problem is linked to extreme low-fat diets, which weaken muscles and joints. “A few slices of avocado a day are a great way to boost fat for women who are fat shy,” says dietician Leslie Bonci. But, they sure are a bummer when they’re hard right? Here are 5 avo tricks that’ll help you tell if your avo is ripe. Need to ripen yours in a flash? This avo hack will make your fave snack spreadable in just 10 minutes!

READ MORE: 5 Foods You Won’t Believe Contain More Protein Than An Egg

2. Bananas

Thanks to bananas’ high potassium content, peeling one is a speedy solution to that stitch in your side. While a lack of sodium is the main culprit behind muscle cramps, studies show potassium plays a supporting role: you need it to replace sweat losses and help with fluid absorption. Bananas are also packed with energising carbohydrates. One medium-size fruit has 400mg of potassium and as many carbs (29g) as two slices of whole-wheat bread. You could up your banana intake by whipping up this healthy gluten-free banana bread.

3. Berries

USDA researchers recently placed fresh berries on their list of the 20 foods richest in antioxidants. Just a handful of blueberries, raspberries or blackberries is an excellent source of these potent nutrients, which protect muscles from free radical damage that might be caused by exercise. Shop for berries by the shade of their skin: the deeper the colour, the healthier the fruit.

READ MORE: 40 Foods That’ll Help You Upgrade Your Diet

4. Carrots

Close your eyes and they almost taste like crunchy sweets. Carrots pack complex carbs that provide energy to muscles and potassium to control blood pressure and muscle contractions, says dietician Leslie Bonci.

5. Whole Grain Cereal

Looking for something to nibble before you hit the gym? Raid your cereal stash. The healthiest brands contain endurance-boosting complex carbs and muscle-building protein. Sixty minutes before a workout, fuel up with a 850kJ snack: ¾ cup of whole-grain cereal with 120ml of fat-free milk. “When you eat something before exercising, you have more energy, so you can work out harder and perhaps longer. And you’ll be less likely to overeat afterward,” says Bonci.

6. Chicken Thighs

Skimp on iron and zinc and your energy will flag. Cooking up some juicy chicken thighs or drumsticks is the best way to get more of both. “Dark-meat poultry is significantly lower in fat than red meat yet has all the iron, zinc and B vitamins that women need in their diets,” says sports nutritionist Dr Susan Kleiner, author of Power Eating.

READ MORE: 5 Foods With More Mood-Boosting Benefits Than Chocolate

7. Hummus

Complex carbohydrates, protein and unsaturated fats – all the right elements to fuel activity – meet in one healthy little 300kJ, 3-tablespoon package. Plus, hummus is often made with olive oil, which contains oleic acid – a fat that helps cripple the gene responsible for 20 to 30 percent of breast cancers, according to US researchers.

8. Eggs

Don’t skip the yolk. One egg a day supplies 215mg of cholesterol – not enough to push you over the 300mg daily cholesterol limit. Plus, the yolk is a good source of iron, and it’s loaded with lecithin, critical for brain health, says Kleiner. What does brain power have to do with exercise? Try doing a sun salutation without it.

READ MORE: Will Swapping Eggs For Egg Whites Really Help You Lose Weight?

9. Chocolate Milk

There’s way more to milk than just calcium. In fact, it’s a damn near perfect food, giving you a lot of valuable energy while keeping your kilojoule count low, says Kleiner. The chocolate kind is loaded with calcium, vitamins and minerals just like the plain stuff, but new studies confirm that milk with a touch of cocoa is as powerful as commercial recovery drinks at replenishing and repairing muscles.

10. Salmon

Great for heart health, but here’s an added twist: new studies are suggesting that monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fats might help lessen abdominal fat. It’s too soon to understand the link, but “this could be particularly good for women working to tone their core,” says Kleiner.

Looking for more on food and your diet? Here are the top eight foods you should eat if you want to de-bloat fast, plus these seven seemingly healthy foods could actually be making you fat

This article was originally published on www.womenshealthmag.com

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