Become Super Shredded with these 5 Super Foods
Imagine this for a second, your daily Super Foods allotment of calories fits into a box. It’s not a huge box – because remember, to get shredded, our goal is to establish a caloric deficit. Now in this box, you can fit every food item you’ll eat today.
Some food items are bigger than others; and if you fly by the seat of your pants, you may have to make room for them by removing other smaller items or by leaving out food choices that may be just as energy-dense. So the object each day is to pack this box full of Superfoods that are going to give you the biggest bang for your buck.
you want to make sure that the Super Foods you consume on a daily basis are the most nutrient dense, are supporting your training appropriately and are providing you with the most energy.
Following is a list of superfoods that contain the raw ingredients to boost testosterone production, spark your metabolism and shed fat with every bite!
1. Beef Steak
Foods that elicit an anabolic response are best while maintaining – or gaining – lean muscle mass during a cut. For this reason, including beef in your diet has all your bases covered. The mineral, zinc has been shown extensively to contribute to testosterone levels in human studies (1, 2). As one of the richest food sources of zinc, beef contains anywhere from 4-16mg per 4oz serving (3).
In addition to its role in boosting testosterone levels, zinc has been shown to increase circulating levels of leptin (4), the appetite suppressing hormone. This will help ward off hunger following a meal rich in red meat. Coincidentally, also present in beef is anywhere from 50 – 150mg of carnitine per serving (5). L-Carnitine is associated with increased energy expenditure and utilization of fat for fuel (6). Thus, L-Carnitine may collaborate with leptin to reduce desired caloric intake while simultaneously burning fat!
Amongst the testosterone boosting, hunger suppressing and fat burning nutrients found in beef are the ergogenic aids – nutrients that enhance physical performance. Consuming beef rich in highly bio-available heme iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin (7) make you a powerhouse in the gym. Beef also comes stacked with taurine, carnosine and creatine (8). These compounds will enhance muscle contraction (9), buffer acidity in active muscles (10) and promote energy production as well as strength gains (10) to enhance performance in the gym.
Why not complete that beautifully cooked, juicy down-to-the-center steak with the fresh and vibrant ambrosial garnish of cilantro. Are we getting hungry yet?
Cilantro comes equipped with anti-inflammatory properties as well as the capacity to remedy anxiety. The essential oil, linalool is responsible for the anti-inflammatory properties of cilantro (11, 12). Furthermore, we know that anxiety is a silent killer for those trying to lose weight. The associated increase of cortisol and abdominal fat that accompany stress and anxiety are to be avoided like the plague. Interestingly, studies have shown that cilantro is capable of ameliorating anxiety to a similar degree as the pharmaceutical anti-depressant Diazepam (11). This herb does not stop at inflammation and anxiety – no. It also contains anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties that are not to be understated (11)!
Like most other nutrients featured herein, cilantro provides the micronutrients necessary in metabolism, energy production, recovery, muscle contraction and the normal functioning of the body. Namely, cilantro is a source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A and vitamin C (11). That’s a mouth full! Now get a mouth full of cilantro while you’re at it.
As if all that wasn’t enough, cilantro has been shown to have insulinogenic and glycogenic properties (11) to enhance glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis – important factors to consider when refueling muscle cells post-workout. Alongside this, enhanced breakdown of fats in concert with inhibition of their uptake has also been observed with this precious herb (13).
3. Red Grapes
You’ve probably heard that red wine is good for you. The compound resveratrol – a polyphenol with amazing health benefits – is one of the reasons for this mindset. I say ditch the wine which can hide calories and other deleterious health effects in the form of alcohol, and reach for grapes instead. Grapes are of course one of the main food sources of resveratrol and make for a perfect snack in between meals.
Resveratrol was shown in clinical studies to significantly decrease weight, BMI, fat mass, waist circumference, and insulin levels (14). Supporting this, a 4-week clinical trial found resveratrol supplementation may improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels in humans (15). Moreover, this compound has a fat-mobilization effect, in that it enhances release of free fatty acids from human fat cells (16, 17).
Travel down to your local super-market, grab some super-grapes and feel confident that you’re doing your body a favor and getting super-shredded in the process!
The benefits of yogurt are far reaching. Each serving of 1-2% fat yogurt contains many nutrients essential for good health. In particular, each serving contains upwards of 42% daily intake of vitamin B12, 30-35% daily intake of riboflavin, 37% daily intake of phosphorous, 33% of daily intake of calcium, 20% the daily recommended intake of zinc, and many others including iron, magnesium, potassium, thiamin, vitamin C, vitamin A and folate (18).
Important to note are riboflavin (vitamin B2), which is an essential constituent of energy production; phosphorous which is indispensable for generating ATP, the bodies fuel currency; and zinc – previously discussed to boost testosterone.
In addition to this plethora of nutrients, yogurt also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (19), a known mediator of enhanced fat loss in humans (20). Yogurt is also a great source of probiotics, which may favourably modify gut bacteria populations. This has been shown to elicit benefits in modulating energy intake, appetite and total body fat mass (18).
Last but certainly not least, the calcium content of dairy foods has been shown clinically to enhance fat loss during a caloric deficit (21).
With an additional whopping 16g protein per serving, reach for some greek yogurt to snack on in between meals.
Lentils are part of a larger family of edible seeds from legumes, known as pulses. They exist as an uncontested, low fat, gluten-free alternative source of low GI carbs, protein and fibre.
Batch analysis of red and green lentils show that they are indeed low in fatty acids (1.5-2.9%). However, of particular interest, is the presence of the essential omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, α-linolenic acid (ALA) (22). ALA has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and the levels of adiponectin – a hormone released by fat cells that stimulates the fat burning process (23, 24).
Including lentils in your diet not only provides essential fatty acids but also provides a dream combination of macros for those trying to shred excess fat. Sitting at about 1% fat, 60% carbohydrates – of which about 1/3 is fibre – and 26% protein, this food is extraordinary in its composition. The glycemic index of lentils is about 22; meaning they have a lesser effect on insulin secretion following consumption than higher GI carbohydrates. Thus, low glycemic index carbohydrates contribute to feeling full and suppressing the desire to eat following a meal (25), making them essential for the shredding process.
The high fibre content of lentils makes them an excellent source of prebiotics – food for the microorganisms in your gut. These are important in supporting a healthy gut microbiota and thus, a healthy body (26).
Consuming Super Foods rich in nutrients is indispensable for an athlete. Including the above foods in your day-to-day eating habits will enhance performance, boost recovery, shed fat and contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle. Use the guide below to design a diet that will blast fat and build muscle with these Super Foods for a super physique!
|Egg Whites||1 Cup|
|Turkey Bacon||2 Slices|
|2% Plain Yogurt with Cinnamon||3/4 Cup|
|Rice||1/2 Cup Cooked|
|Spinach Salad with Low Calorie Dressing|
|Whole Wheat English Muffin (With Peanut Butter)||1 Muffin (1 Tbsp Peanut Butter)|
|ISOFLEX Whey Protein||1 Scoop|
|CARBION High Performance Carbohydrate Drink||1 Scoop|
|(Note: Combining carbohydrates and protein following a workout significantly improves protein synthesis.)|
|Beef Steak Topped with Cilantro (To Taste)||4oz|
|Light Margarine||2 Tsp|
|Green Onions||To Taste|