There are many types of food which come under the umbrella of superfoods. Each has their own specific blend of useful micro- or macronutrients which help to keep the body in tip-top condition.
If you are looking for specific benefits from your diet, you should look closely into the nutritional profile of each type of superfood to find out which superfood meal plan would fit into your health and fitness goals best.
This article focuses specifically on people looking to lose weight and build muscle through their superfoods diet plan.
Fat Reducing Superfoods You Should Include in Your Diet
Here are the best fat burning superfoods that can help you to reduce fat.
Broccoli is one of the best superfoods for weight loss due to its low calorific content and high nutritional value. For example, broccoli contains glucoraphanin, a chemical which the body transforms into both raphanin, an antibiotic, and sulforaphane, which has shown promising results in fighting cancer and microbes in some experiments.
A portion of broccoli also contains more vitamin C than an orange and as much calcium as a glass of milk. And the benefits don’t stop there. This cruciferous vegetable is also packed with three times as much fiber as wheat bran making it an excellent cleanser for the digestive system. Beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body, is also plentiful in broccoli (although there is even more in kale and spinach).
Love it or hate it, there are numerous studies indicating that green tea can help with weight loss, particularly harmful and unsightly abdominal fat. The effectiveness of green tea is thought to be due to the thermogenic effects of EGCG, a catechin found in higher concentrations in green tea than other teas.
Before you race out and stock up your cupboards, be aware that not all studies support the conclusions and there are question marks about exactly how much of the EGCG content is actually absorbed by the body.
Recommending avocados for weight loss comes with a huge caveat – they are very high in fat and calories. It may seem strange to include this fatty fruit among a list of superfoods for weight loss but that’s because we are often conditioned to think of all fats as bad. While saturated fats and, worse still, trans fats are associated with high levels of LDL cholesterol (the type that sticks to your artery walls and puts you at risk of heart disease), monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats are actually beneficial to the heart and increase the levels of good cholesterol in the blood.
Although there are small amounts of saturated fat in an avocado, most of it is the healthy monounsaturated fat. It may still seem counterintuitive to eat a high-calorific food to lose weight but providing you stick to sensible portions (a quarter to a half of an avocado per meal) you can benefit from all the goodness they contain (fiber, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin, copper, magnesium, manganese and antioxidants) without putting on weight.
Avocados also have another benefit to their name. Their fat and fiber content actually contribute to making you feel full, helping you to control your eating.
Increase muscle mass with smart superfood choices
This next section looks at how we can utilize the benefits of superfoods to bulk up in the muscle department.
In order to create muscle tissue, we need to consume protein. Here are four good sources of this important macronutrient:
Salmon is a great source of protein in the diet with around 20g per 100g. By consuming wild salmon you will also benefit from rich amounts of omega-3 fish oils. Fish like salmon will also provide you with selenium and vitamin D.
Sirloin tip side
Muscle-building meat eaters can take comfort from the fact that sirloin tip side has lower amounts of fat than other cuts of beef while still packing in the protein. Top sirloin will give you the most protein content of all the cuts but with twice the amount of fat.
Have you ever wondered why turkey is so dry? It’s because there is no saturated fat in skinless turkey meat. Even though a juicy steak pips the post in terms of protein and iron content, turkey wins the day if you are looking to keep calories and fat to a minimum.
The good news for vegans and vegetarians is that nuts of any kind are also packed full of protein. Whether you opt for almonds, cashews, peanuts or walnuts, you will also benefit from added fiber, vitamin E, magnesium, potassium and zinc.
Other superfoods you might want to add to your diet plan
Now that you know what you need to consume to keep the fat off while building muscle, it’s time to add in some extra bonus superfoods. Cranberries, blackberries and blueberries (fresh or frozen) go well with oatmeal and deliver a dose of antioxidants to help prevent cell damage. Regular servings of berries have been linked with preserving cognitive abilities as well as protecting the body from cancer, heart disease and eye disease.
Tomatoes contain 15 percent of your daily vitamin C requirement, 8 percent of your potassium and 7 to 10 percent of your iron. Lycopene, the phytochemical responsible for the fruit’s red pigment, is thought to protect against cancer (and avocado will help you to absorb lycopene!)
Olive oil contains around 70 percent monounsaturated fat (the good fat) and the benefits don’t stop there. Adding olive oil to your diet (and specifically extra virgin olive oil) may reduce your risk of getting cancer. The polyphenols, in particular oleocanthal, present in this superfood act as anti-oxidants and are also anti-inflammatory.
Enjoy an additional boost with Greens Plus superfood products
To keep yourself topped up with essential micronutrients, take a look at our selection of Greens Plus superfood drinks. All of the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and other nutrients you see in our powders are sourced from whole food ingredients.
By building your diet plan around protein, fruit and veg, keeping saturated fats to a minimum and topping up your nutrition with whole food-derived superfood drinks you will be well on your way to reaching your weight and strength targets.