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12 Foods That Should Be Nutritional Staples

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A good nutritional diet is something that has always been confusing for so many people, everyone from housewives to top level athletes become very confused when you start talking the benefits of nutrition. Fact of the matter is though no matter how good an athlete or competitor is they can always become better with a sound nutritional plan. The one thing that every diet should have, no matter what your goal is, it should be based around some good solid nutrition. By good solid nutrition I mean foods that are very versatile and that bring a huge nutritional value while being super aids in supplying, vitamins, minerals, energy, and bodily support.

Let us look at 12 foods that I think should be on most people’s diets. This does not mean you should eat everything on the list even if you don’t like it. These are suggested foods that work well for general diet purposes. That means they are a good source of vitamins, minerals, provide energy, and help in fitness goals.

1.  Eggs-
Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition. Eggs may be the best high protein food that Mother Nature offers.  Eggs have one of the highest biological values of any foods. Biological value refers to the usefulness of a protein source on the body. With a biological value of 100, eggs are a must for anyone needing a easily absorbed powerful source of protein.

Eggs are a great source of Vitamin B, Vitamin A, Choline and vitamin D. Eggs are actually one of the only foods that contain naturally occurring vitamin D. Eggs are also a great source of iodine, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, calcium, and not just iron but heme-iron.

  

2.  Protein Powders-

One of the biggest flaws people make nutritionally is not consuming enough protein in their diets. Our bodies are virtually built on protein and water. Protein provides us with amino acids which are the building blocks of our lives. If you are trying to build any type of musculature in your body then protein is beyond essential. Even if you are trying to slim down, protein will also play a key role in your diet. Most diets require .75 gram of protein per pound of body mass or more. Protein is very muscle sparring and essential on a good diet. Do to variables like work, family and sometimes people’s appetites, getting a substantial amount of protein in whole food sources can be problematic for some. Protein powders are a great answer for this.
Protein powders provide a fast, easy and very high amount of protein to a diet.  Protein powder also provides a wide range of essential and non essential amino acids. Most balanced diets should have five to six meals a day. Three to four of those meals should come from whole food meals and the other one to two meals should come from small snacks. Protein shakes make the perfect snack type meals. Whether you add powder to your food or throw some in a shaker cup with some water or juice it’s a quick slam of high protein. Whey protein has a biological value of 104. Casein protein has a biological value of 77. Soy has a biological value of 74. This makes any of these protein sources a great pretty easily absorbed form of protein. Protein powders can vary in their nutritional content depending on what ones you buy. Some have high protein, little to no carbs, and little to no fat. Some protein powders have high protein, moderate carbs, and little fat. Some have high protein, little carbs, and high fat. It is pretty easy to get protein powders tailored to your specific nutritional needs.

 

3.  Vegetables-

Yes, listen to your mother when she says “Eat your vegetables!”
Do you want to better your body and improve your diet? Vegetables are one of the best ways to to this. Vegetables include an abundance of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phyto-chemicals.

Vegetables are one of the best sources of vitamins and minerals around. If you are on a diet, trying to gain, or a hard training athlete you will need an abundant supply of vitamins and minerals. Multi Vitamins will help with this but you will be covered more completely with whole food sources like vegetables. Veggies have compounds that help the absorption of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Some of these compounds even help absorb vitamins and minerals from meats, grains and some supplements.

Veggies are also one of the best natural sources of fiber. Fiber is a carb that is indigestible. It does not provide calories but does provide bulk and slows digestion. This helps by stabilizing blood sugar levels and preventing energy level crashes. When energy levels crash cortisol levels go up. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle tissue and makes recovery harder. Secondly fiber improves amino acid absorption by keeping your intestines clean. Better amino acid uptake means better use out of your protein consumption.

You should eat a pretty good variety of veggies. Asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, onions, peppers (all colors), spinach, squash and zucchini are all good choices.

4. Chicken-
How many great things can be said about chicken?  It’s easily accessible. Have you ever seen a grocery store that does not sell chicken?  It is pretty cheap and it is a highly bio available source of protein. Chicken has a biological value of 80+ making it very easily digested and used by the body. It has high amounts of protein and certain parts, very little fat. Chicken is also a very versatile meat. There are probably over 352 ways to cook a chicken, anything from roasting it whole to chopping some up over a salad. Chicken is a rich source of B vitamins, selenium and phosphorus.
 

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5.  Oatmeal-
Oatmeal is probably one of the most underappreciated foods in a daily diet. Some of the benefits of oatmeal are:

  • Possible reduced cholesterol and heart disease risk-soluble fiber in oats helps remove bad cholesterol while maintaining good cholesterol,
  • Weight control thru fiber content-Soluble fiber uses a lot of water. This in turn slows down your digestion keeping you feeling full much longer
  • More stable blood sugar levels-Soluble fiber helps keep blood sugar levels at a more stable rate
  • It contains a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and also a fantastic source of complex carbs and even has some protein in it.

It is a 100% natural food. Barring some flavored varieties a can of rolled oats has one ingredient, rolled oats.

It is easy and convenient. It takes ten minutes on the stove or about three in a microwave. Some people even eat their oatmeal uncooked.

 

6.  Fish-
Fish is a high protein source that should be a regular part of anyone’s diet. Fish has high protein, no carbs, and the fat content can vary on the type of fish you eat. Most people stick to salmon, tuna or tilapia but fish comes in so many types and varieties that there is something for everyone. Cold water varieties like, sardines, salmon, and trout not only supply a lot of protein but are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.  Omega 3 fatty acids have a wide range of benefits from brain health, joint health, body fat reduction, to natural energy and a whole host of other benefits. Fish also has a biological value in the 75-85 range. This makes it an easier to digest protein source than pork or beef. Fish is also a great source of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, iron, zinc, and calcium.
 

7.  Kidney Beans-
Here is probably another great overlooked food on most people’s diets. Most people don’t realize it but kidney beans are a protein packer.  They are a excellent source of high quality protein, and unlike most protein food they carry a high amount of fiber. They are also great because they contain no fat. If you are watching your fat intake Kidney Beans are great because they offer protein, slow digesting carbs to keep you fuller longer and no fat. Kidney Beans are also are a great source of folic acid, magnesium, and iron.

 

8. Essential Fats-
Many people are under the impression that to get lean you must eliminate fat from your diet. Nothing could be further from the truth.  The body needs fats, especially EFA’s. EFA’s are better known as Essential Fatty Acids. They are essential because your body can not produce them and they need to come from your diet. EFA’s help hormone production, help break down cholesterol, help development of the brain and nervous system, and help thyroid and adrenal activity. Some essential fats help balance sugar levels and some help promote fat burning as opposed to fat storage. Fish, Olive, Cod, Flax and Sesame are some great essential oil choices. Avocados, peanut butter,  salmon, sardines, seeds and nuts are some good natural choices. Fats also are more calorie dense so they take longer to digest keeping you fuller longer

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9. Nuts-

Most people agree nuts are one tasty treat but did you know how good nuts are for you. Nuts are full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and are high in omega 3’s. Nuts have also been shown to lower bad cholesterol. Nuts give a good amount of protein so they make a great choice if you are looking to replace foods high in saturated fats. Nuts are very calorie dense because they are high in fat so you may want to watch overdoing your intake. Some good nut choices are:

 

Almonds-Almonds are a rich source of magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, calcium, vitamin E (an anti-oxidant) and selenium. Unbleached almonds are high in fiber leading to improved colon function and health. Containing high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats, almonds help in reducing cholesterol levels and improving cardiovascular health.
Walnuts-Walnuts are highly revered for being a great source of omega-3 essential fatty aids. These fatty acids have been shown to yield numerous health benefits: protecting the heart, improving cognitive function, and reducing inflammatory effects of asthma, eczema, psoriasis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Walnuts contain ellagic acid, an antioxidant compound that provides cancer-fighting and immune system boosting properties.
Pecans-Pecans contain an abundance of nutrients (over 19 minerals and vitamins) including folic acid, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, copper, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, vitamin B and zinc. Like almonds and walnuts, pecans provide heart-healthy properties by reducing total blood cholesterol, reduce LDL cholesterol, and create clearer arterial flow
Cashews-Cashews are rich in magnesium, copper, iron, zinc and biotin. Cashews contain the lowest percentage of fats compared to most nuts and provide high levels of oleic acid (about 50% of the total fat in cashews), the same fat found in olive oil.
Other great choices include: hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachios, and macadamia nuts.
 

10. Rice-

Rice is typically eaten all over the world. Some of the health benefits of rice include providing fast energy, rich in vitamin D, calcium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. Rice is typically classified by two groups- whole grain rice and white rice. Those looking for more health benefits should gravitate more towards whole grain rice because it is not processed much and retains a higher nutritional value. Some types of whole grain rice are:

Brown Rice- Is one of the healthiest form of rice you can eat. Brown rice provides manganese, selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, b6, b3, and b1 in plentiful supply. Brown rice makes a better choice than white rice because when brown rice is processed only the outer layer of the rice is removed. Nutritionally this is the least damaging to the rice. Brown rice is much higher in fiber than white rice. This makes digestion take longer providing more stable blood sugar levels.

Wild Rice- Is somewhat of a cousin to normal brown rice. There are about four main different species in the known world. Wild Rice, Northern Wild Rice,  Texas Wild Rice, and Manchurian Wild Rice are the four main species, with all but Manchurian being native to North America.

Forbidden Rice- is a type of black rice. This rice is marketed as a rice reserved only for the past emperors of china as it contributed to giving them a long, healthy life. This rice also digest much slower than some of your typical rices causing more stable blood sugar levels. It also has a very high mineral value (especially iron) and amino acid profile.  This type of rice has a nutty flavor.

 

11.  Fiber-

Fiber is a key nutrient found mostly in plant based foods. Fiber is crucial for good health. Fiber can be beneficial to bodybuilders by helping bodybuilders stay lean and build fat free mass when combined with a diet rich in protein and carbohydrates. Some of the benefits of fiber are:
         Fiber improves nutritional absorption
         Fiber helps process dietary fats
         Fiber slows carbohydrate digestion
         Fiber helps increase insulin sensitivity
         Fiber helps appetite control
         Fiberous foods helps give a harder body appearance

Good natural sources of fiber include broccoli, cauliflower, raspberries, beans, bran, and whole grain rice

12. Water-Okay so technically water isn’t a food but it is one of the most vital nutrients you can have in your diet. When your dealing with something that makes up over 70% of your body well then you could say it’s pretty vital. Some of the benefits of drinking water include:

  • Regulating body temperature
  • Helping digest foods
  • Helping metabolize fat
  • Giving skin a younger appearance thru hydration
  • Helping energy levels

It does everything from helping mobilize fat to regulating body temperature. If you are not consuming water and lots of it you could be short changing your diet. At bare minimum you should aim to drink about a half a gallon of water daily. (Click here to calculate what your daily water intake should be)

 

 

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Today we looked at twelve foods that that should be a regular part of anyone’s diet who is looking to achieve more sound nutritional choices. While you may not like every choice we talked about today you should try to incorporate as many of the group in your regular diet as often as you can for optimal fitness benefits.

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All articles on this site are authored or co-authored by Jarueba Taylor. They are the copy written  property of Taylored Nutrition.