There’s a lot of talk these days about “superfoods”– foods that give you extra nutrients, provide energy, help fight disease and aging, and for bodybuilders and athletes, build muscle. Obviously, superfoods are the way to go to get the most health and muscle-building nutrition for your time and money. And fortunately, the Parrillo Nutrition program is packed with superfoods. For example: Lean Proteins are found in all cells and tissues and are required for the structure and function of every part of the body. And of special interest to bodybuilders, muscles are made of protein. Protein is required in the diet to maintain tissues and organs and to supply building blocks for growth. Proteins from animal sources such as meat, eggs, and milk, are called “complete” proteins because they supply all the essential amino acids. Animal proteins provide a balance of amino acids similar to that of human tissues. Plant proteins have a profile of amino acids different from human proteins.
For this reason animal proteins are considered to be higher quality protein foods. Most vegetable proteins are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids and are therefore called “incomplete” proteins. However, if vegetable proteins are combined properly, the balance of amino acids in the combination can approach the amino acid profile found in animal proteins. Superfood protein sources include skinless turkey breast, skinless chicken breast, fish, and egg whites. Fish, in particular, is vital in terms of heart disease. Salmon and other fatty fish – like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines and tuna – are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, and may cut your risk of death from coronary artery disease in half. Omega-3 fats also have immune-enhancing and anti-inflammatory effects, reduce the risk of prostate and colon cancers, and ease the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and some psychiatric disorders.
Starchy Carbohydrates are energy foods. During digestion, they are changed into glucose (blood sugar), which circulates in your blood and is used as energy for the red blood cells and your central nervous system. Glucose not used right away is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen, which provides an additional reservoir for energy. Carbohydrates also supply an amazing fat fighting nutrient fiber, the non digestible remnant of plant foods. A growing body of research shows that high-fiber eating helps peel off pounds and banish them for good. How exactly does fiber work this weight-loss magic? When eaten with other nutrients like protein, fiber slows the rate of digestion too, stabilizing your blood sugar between meals so that it is not converted to fat stores.The superfood carbohydrates found in the Parrillo Nutrition Program include certain types of whole grains, brown rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, legumes (beans and lentils), and non starchy vegetables (see below), from broccoli and green beans to cauliflower to salad vegetables (what we call “fibrous carbs”).
Non-Starchy Vegetables. You can’t go wrong with vegetables; every one is a superfood. But here are a few stand-outs: Broccoli: This amazing vegetable is rich in sulforaphane, an antioxidant linked with a reduced risk of a number of cancers, especially lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers. The nutrients in broccoli also have anti-inflammatory properties, and we know that an important factor in reducing the risk of disease is to decrease inflammation. Spinach improves your vision and protect against cancer with spinach, one of the richest dietary sources of an antioxidant called lutein. Lutein helps protect against heart disease and some cancers, and has been shown to reduce the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Spinach is also rich in beta-carotene, which may protect against cancer. Other lutein rich foods include kale, collard greens, chard and beet greens.
Tomatoes: These are loaded with lycopene, an antioxidant that reduces the risk of prostate, breast, lung and other cancers, and has heart-protective effects. Research shows that the absorption of lycopene is greatest when tomatoes are cooked with olive oil. Good Fats are superfoods. They fall under a general classification called unsaturated fats. There are two types of unsaturated fats: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Oils such as saf-flower, sunflower, corn, soybean and fish oils, evening primrose oil found in Parrillo Evening Primrose Oil 1000™ and Parrillo Fish Oil DHA 800 EPA 200™ are polyunsaturated fats.
They contain “essential fatty acids,” or EFAs for short. Required for normal body function, EFAs must be supplied by your diet since the body cannot make them on its own. From EFAs, your body synthesizes two other important fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fatty acids, along with alpha linolenic acid, are referred to as omega-3 fatty acids, a term that describes their molecular structure. You can also obtain EPA and DHA directly from cold-water fish, flaxseed and omega-3 enriched eggs (eggs from chickens fed fish meal or flax meal). Monounsaturated fats are plentiful in olive, canola and peanut oils; they are also found in shellfish and cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, halibut, black cod and rainbow trout. So if you’re looking for what really works for optimal health and disease prevention, focus on super-foods. The Parrillo Nutrition Program is filled with them.