If you’ve spent a little time reading this blog, you must be building a picture by now of how best to be eating to exert control over your body composition. You should understand how to source high quality protein, and what to do with it. You should also know what carbohydrates to eat and when. You should know that fats aren’t as evil as they were traditionally made out to be, and you should have a rudimentary understanding at least of how to combine these macronutrients. There is however no shortage of unsung nutritional heroes that can boost your performance in a host of different ways that never seem to get the column space they deserve. This might be in part because people prefer reading about how protein will give them muscles, or need more information on how to treat carbohydrate in such a way that it will work for them and not ruin their physique.
I can tell you right now, though, that if you’re not eating the following foods then you’re robbing yourself.
1. Greek Yoghurt
Greek yoghurt is high in protein, but doesn’t have the high lactose content of milk. This means you get the protein content without the insulin spike. It also often contains probiotics, which are great for digestion and general gut health.
Go for the plain, unsweetened stuff and add berries, raw cacao, cinnamon or coconut to it yourself.
Just a small handful of these little packages of goodness is jammed full of protein, fibre, good fats, vitamin E and antioxidants. A very small quantity will lead to a surprisingly long period of satiety, which means they’re a great snack to stop you snacking excessively.
Go for the raw ones, and try to avoid the ones that have been diddled with too much, especially if that diddling means a sweet coat of some kind. I find they go nicely with Greek yoghurt.
3. Balsamic Vinegar
The first thing you’re going to want to know about vinegar is that if you whack it on a carb-rich meal it’s going to moderate your blood-sugar elevation. You want this. Secondly, it encourages your body to store carbohydrate as glycogen rather than fat. You want this too. Finally, the good quality ones are really tasty with almost anything. You know you want this.
Be sure to spend a little extra money on this product. Going cheap can mean you walk away with something masquerading as balsamic vinegar, which isn’t as tasty and doesn’t have the same nutritional value.
4. Dark Chocolate
Okay, I’m not going to start banging on about antioxidants, everybody with ears will tell you someone told them that chocolate’s full of antioxidants. It is too, although a lot of people are using that as an excuse to justify consumption of the high sugar, milk stuff, and that just doesn’t cut it. Anyway, dark chocolate has antioxidants, you already know that and that’s not why I’m talking about it here. Did you know that consumption of chocolate has been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, reduced rates of melanoma, lower diabetes risk, reduced waist circumference, reduced inflammation, and improved cognitive function?
Yeah, that’s right, eat your chocolate. Go for the high cocoa-solid stuff (minimum 70%), and keep it to a couple of squares per day, but eat it.
Of course you should be drinking coffee. Coffee is awesome. It’s full of antioxidants, and this time this is what I want to rant about. Let’s start with its inflammation-reducing qualities. This alone should be reason to sink a cup of coffee every day, but there’s more. Coffee has been connected with lower rates of many types of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It’s also liked with lower rates of all-cause mortality.
Coffee has been linked with higher rates of LDL cholesterol under some circumstances. One possibility is that when drunk with a fatty meal it might cause fats to be processed in a different way, so try to separate coffee and your breakfast by an hour or so.
6. Kombucha Tea
I know, I know, someone’s telling you that you should drink their magic tea a couple of times every week, but there’s one quick and easy bullshit test for claims about the properties tea has outside of being a refreshing beverage; does it sound too good to be true? If it does, like a magic “weight loss” tea that burns fat while you drink it sitting on your ass, then it’s probably because it is too good to be true.
Kombucha is a little different though, because it sounds like you’d have to be deranged to drink it in the first place. It’s made from green or black tea and a fermentation of bacteria and yeast. Yeah, you see what I mean? Nevertheless it’s one of the big boys on the block when it comes to digestive health, so if you’re able to get past the whole “bacteria and yeast” thing then I say get a cup into you right now.
Get it from a trusted and reputable supplier, though. The fermentation of mould isn’t something you want to leave to any old cowboy, especially if the first thing you’re going to do is consume it. Take my point?
Good stuff, guys. Get eating and drinking.
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