I’m sure we all noticed working out is not always enough to get the results you want. I’m also sure we all know by now, a good diet is the best wingman to a genius workout regiment. Just incase you’ find yourself forgetting the basis, Washington examiner puts together a nice ground rules list for you. You can never hear this too much!
The latest news: Eating right helps your body handle potentially damaging particles called free radicals that are generated when you exercise. In a recent, headline-grabbing study, people who munched watercress daily had an easier time processing these particles after a session on a gym treadmill than those who skipped this leafy green.
Free radicals created by a moderate amount of physical activity, such as a daily, half-hour walk, or any activity under two hours a day that you are used to doing, are actually helpful. They switch on your cells’ antioxidant defenses, increasing their ability to neutralize free radicals. That keeps your cells healthier, and may be the main health benefit of physical activity. Leafy veggies like watercress, as well as kale, spinach and turnip greens, help out because they contain flavonoids that work with physical activity to increase your natural antioxidant defenses.
No matter how you exercise, combining good nutrition with regular workouts makes your heart and lungs more fit, your bones and muscles strong and lowers your risk for everything from diabetes and cancer to plus-size, elastic-waist pants.
Greens aren’t the only edibles you should be pairing together with your comfy socks and running shoes. Here’s the lowdown on three more:
» Protein for stronger muscles: Strength-training — with resistance bands, dumbbells and hand weights, those fancy machines at the gym or even the moves that use your own body weight — is needed to maintain and build muscles. Important also: getting enough protein to build muscle. That’s something that up to one of every three men and two of every five women don’t do. Nuts, whole grains, fish, skinless chicken, beans, low- or nonfat dairy, and egg whites are all great sources. To build muscle, it helps to get some protein within an hour of doing resistance exercise. You need about 0.8 grams of protein a day for every pound you weigh — about 120 grams if you weigh 150 pounds.
» Calcium for strong bones and a healthy heart: Strength-training and weight-bearing exercise (walking, running, taking the stairs at the mall, lunges, squats, etc.) put good stress on bones and help keep your skeleton sturdy. But from your spine to the tiniest bones in your toes, your frame also needs calcium. Half of us don’t get enough of this important mineral, and even more don’t get enough vitamin D3, necessary for calcium to do its work. You need 1,000 milligrams to 1,200 milligrams (if you’re 60-plus) of calcium, and 1,000 IU to 1,200 IU (if you’re 60-plus) of D3 daily. Start with veggies such as kale and collards (you might consider nonfat dairy or milk substitutes), and add a supplement (especially needed for D3) if you’re not hitting your goals.
» Good fats make exercise a smarter choice: A sharper brain is one of the most amazing benefits of regular exercise. Moving not only encourages the growth of new cells in your noggin, it nudges these cells to form new connections, essentially lowering your risk for cognitive decline as you age. Add great fats (especially DHA omega-3s) and good fats such as olive oil, canola oil, walnuts, avocados, salmon and trout to a pre- or post-exercise diet, and you’ll help keep your mind younger.