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You Are What You Eat: Top 10 Superfoods

Here at PledgeSports, we like to keep healthy, and a huge part of that comes down to the food you put in your body every day. 

Food, if chosen correctly, can completely change your body and put your health on a whole new level. It can also improve your mood, focus, energy, skin, and metabolism. Grab your cape, here are the top 10 superfoods.

Walnuts

walnuts-whole-and-shelled-facebookImpact: Mood

1st on our list of top 10 superfoods are Walnuts are packed with tryptophan, an amino acid your body needs to create the feel-great chemical serotonin. (In fact, Spanish researchers found that walnut eaters have higher levels of this natural mood-regulator.)

Bonus Point: They’re digested slowly. This contributes to mood stability and can help you tolerate stress.

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Asparagus

Asparagus-at-La-Serre-1024x768Impact: Mood

These little spears are one of the best sources of folate, a B vitamin that could help keep you out of a slump.

A cup of cooked asparagus has 268 micrograms (mcg)—two-thirds of the 400 mcg recommended daily allowance (RDA). Add a cup of enriched pasta—which is fortified with folic acid, the synthetic form of folate—and you’ll have a feel-good meal indeed.

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Spring Garlic

spring-garlicImpact: Weight Loss

The slimming benefit of this seasonal product lies in a compound called allicin, which gives garlic its pungent smell. Allicin may keep you from overeating by stimulating satiety in the brain.

Spring garlic has a milder, sweeter taste than the dried white bulbs you buy at other times of the year. Enjoy it diced on salad for a fat-fighting side or lunch.

Garlic also shows promising benefits for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Bonus Point: No vampires.

Legumes

o-LENTILS-AND-LEGUMES-facebookImpact: Weight Loss

Beans are one of your best bets if you’re trying to drop your weight. Your body has to work to break down the bean to get through the fiber, so you’re actually expending energy to digest it. In other words, these beans play hard to get.

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Spinach

spinach-in-a-bowl-480x320Impact: Energy

These tasty leaves are a great source of iron, which is a key component in red blood cells that fuel our muscles with oxygen for energy.

Researchers in Sweden recently identified another way in which these greens might keep you charged: Compounds found in spinach actually increase the efficiency of our mitochondria, the energy-producing factories inside our cells. That means eating a cup of cooked spinach a day may give you more lasting power on the elliptical machine (or in your daily sprint to catch the bus).

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Artichoke

artichokes_bkgrdImpact: Energy

If you’ve been huffing and puffing up the stairs, try these vegetables. They’re loaded with magnesium, a mineral vital for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body—including generating energy. If you’re not getting enough magnesium, your muscles have to work harder to react and you tire more quickly.

About 68% of us aren’t getting enough of this mineral. The goal is 320 milligrams (mg) per day. One medium artichoke provides 77 mg of magnesium and just 60 calories. Other top sources include nuts and whole grains.

Salmon

20170109-pan-seared-salmon-15-thumb-1500xauto-435902Impact: Skin

There’s wrinkle prevention on your plate. Salmon is rich in a fatty acid called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a type of omega-3 that naturally helps block the release of UV-induced enzymes that diminish collagen, causing lines and sagging skin.

Bonus Point: Omega-3s also regulate oil production in the skin and boost hydration, which helps keep your skin smooth and acne-free.

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Strawberries

a6a9d9b01be24fa805ca93fa471519ffImpact: Skin

They may not have the smoothest complexion themselves, but strawberries can get you one. They’re loaded with antioxidants that help your skin repair damage caused by environmental factors like pollution and UV rays. Plus, they’re packed with vitamin C – the vitamin associated with fewer wrinkles and less dryness, per research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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Eggs

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailImpact: Memory

Second last on our list of top 10 superfoods are eggs. The yolks are chock-full of choline, a key nutrient for recall. Your body needs choline to make a brain chemical called acetylcholine, crucial for storing memories.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for choline is 425 mg. There are 147 mg in a large egg; other good options are nuts and red meat.

Blueberries

Bowl-of-blueberries-1836Impact: Memory

Eat them regularly and you may reap big brain benefits. In a recent study, people with age-related memory decline who drank roughly two and a half cups of blueberry juice per day for 12 weeks (the equivalent of eating a cup of blueberries) made significant improvements on memory and learning tests compared with those who drank a placebo juice.

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The secret component? A type of antioxidant called anthocyanins.  If you know anything else that we could add to this list of top 10 superfoods, let us know.

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