SuperFoods (super food) for female / women Athletes:
A healthy athlete can be a fitter athlete. Remember to consume a
wide variety of healthful foods.
Low-fat yogurt is a great way to add protein to your diet. The average 8-ounce cup of yogurt can provide about 13 grams of quality protein and about 450 mg of calcium for strong bones. It’s a good source of magnesium and potassium as well. Yogurt can be a healthful substitute for sour cream in various recipes, and it's an excellent substitute for ice cream in desserts. Yogurt can be added to drinks and smoothies to make them thick and creamy and also increase protein content.
Catechins, the main polyphenolic constituents of green tea leaves, have been found to have a number of significant antioxidant properties and health-promoting effects. The most abundant green tea catechin is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which constitutes more than 50 percent of the total amount of tea catechins and is believed to be the most pharmacologically active. A recent study reached the conclusion that EGCG-rich green tea extracts increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans. These thermogenic effects were said to go beyond green tea’s thermogenic caffeine effects and to be synergistic with them. The researchers concluded that “[g]reen tea has thermogenic properties and promotes fat oxidation beyond that explained by its caffeine content per se.” Tea, if enjoyed straight, is also a virtually calorie-free way to feel full for awhile, due to its high water content.
Legumes are an excellent source of soluble fiber, which is important for keeping an athlete’s blood sugar and energy levels stable. As far as plant foods go, most legumes are relatively high in protein and are a good source of slowly assimilated complex carbohydrates. This makes them great for providing a more steady and longer lasting supply of energy. Legumes can be eaten in chili, stews, and soups, and are also enjoyable when served cold in bean salads. Some of the more common legumes found in the U.S. include pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, lima beans, black beans, chickpeas, lentils, and black-eyed peas. Legumes can be purchased dry, canned, and sometimes frozen.
Almonds are a great source of vitamin E.
Nuts are rich in nutrients, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, vegetable proteins, fiber, vitamin E, potassium, folate, phosphorous, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, antioxidants, and arginine. Almonds, for example, are a great source of vitamin E. Some other healthful choices include walnuts, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, and pistachios. Be careful not to go overboard with your nut consumption. Eating too many nuts could lead to an increase in body fatness. A good guideline may be to eat one or two handfuls per day. A serving is one ounce (24 almonds).
Like fresh fruit, dried fruits are a good source of healthful nutrients. In fact, because the moisture has been removed, dried fruits are often more concentrated with nutrients than fresh fruit. Along with fiber, potassium, and other minerals, dried fruits are packed with beneficial antioxidants. Dried fruits can make convenient, low-fat, practical snacks for athletes who are on the go. Good dried fruit choices include dates, prunes, raisins, blueberries, cranberries, black currants, figs, apricots, and pears.
Athletes may find whole-grain foods helpful in providing more steady and longer-lasting energy for exercise. Whole-grain foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Some examples of good whole-grain foods include oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, barley, spelt, brown rice, and some hot and cold breakfast cereals. Be wary of products labeled "100% wheat," "stone-ground," "multi-grain," "seven-grain," "12-grain," or "organic." They often contain very little whole grain. Instead, look for whole-grain products that say 100% whole grain like whole wheat.
An often overlooked source of nutrients, mollusks can provide a bounty of essential minerals.
Low in fat, a source of protein, and loaded with essential minerals, mollusks can be a good addition to an athlete's diet. Three popular and nutritious mollusk choices are clams, oysters, and mussels. Clams, in particular, lead the way for all foods in heme iron content. Heme iron - found only in meat, poultry, fish and seafood - is iron bound to a nonprotein compound that is much more easily absorbed by the body than free iron. Clams are also an excellent source of vitamin B12 and copper. These three nutrients may help maintain good blood status for delivering oxygen to working muscles. Along with copper, mollusks are also rich in zinc and selenium. These minerals are necessary for the proper functioning of the body’s immune system and its antioxidant defenses. Mollusks can be cooked in a variety of ways, including steaming, stewing, roasting, baking, broiling, sautéing, poaching, and frying.
Vegetables such as watercress, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, and cabbage are known as cruciferous vegetables. These vegetables are high in fiber, rich in vitamin C, very low in calories, and a good source of healthful phytochemicals. Eating cruciferous vegetables is a good way to take in important micronutrients without taking in a lot of calories. Anyone wishing to lose bodyfat will find cruciferous vegetables to be a good addition to his or her weight-loss plan. Try to get three or more servings of these vegetables each week.
Dark berries are recognized as one of the best dietary sources of antioxidants.
Eating dark berries may provide athletes with a range of healthful phytonutrients that may have antioxidant effects. Berries are also a good source of dietary fiber. Berry choices include blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, crowberries, blueberries, black currants, bilberries, elderberries, chokeberries, and lingonberries. It is interesting to note that frozen berries are just as nutritious as fresh ones. So if berries are out of season in your area, you can still reap their benefits by visiting the freezer section of your local grocery store!
Soy has long been considered an excellent source of vegetable protein and other nutrients. One of the most common soy foods is tofu, but soy is also available in hamburgers, hot dogs, and other meat alternatives. Many of the health benefits of soy are suggested to be due to the isoflavones found in it. Store-brand soy milk and soy flour, two popular soy foods, are not considered good sources of isoflavones. Instead, look for fresh soy milk, tofu, miso, and tempeh, which are rich in isoflavones.
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