A commitment to working out and getting in shape needs to be accompanied by a healthy diet. Now is the perfect time to focus on your health — start by “getting fit with phytochemicals!”
What are these mysterious “chemicals” I’m talking about? They are specific compounds found only in plants that number in the thousands if not tens of thousands. Nutrition scientists have identified “families” of unique ones, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, that have known antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.
How do you get them in your daily diet?
Here are some tips:
For breakfast, add fresh berries and ground flax meal to cereal, oatmeal or yogurt.
Post work-out, frozen berries, bananas and mangos go great in a shake or smoothie. Use soymilk for added phytonutrients.
Need a quick, healthy snack, try a handful of almonds and an organic apple. Be sure to eat the skin, which has quercetin in it. Quercetin acts an antihistamine and anti-inflammatory – very important during allergy season!
For another great snack, go for guacamole. Make your own in 5 minutes by mixing together 2 ripe avocados, juice of 1 fresh lime, ½ small red onion chopped, 1 tomato seeded & chopped, ¼ cup fresh cilantro (if you have it), garlic powder and salt. Serve with multigrain tortilla chips.
Don’t forget to hydrate! Try some iced green tea or fruit tea for more powerful antioxidant-containing options.
Dinner time is the perfect time for a big salad with lots of mixed greens – arugula, spinach, romaine … any and all are great! Add your favorite combination of veggies, nuts and some dried fruit. Make your own phytonutrient-dense dressing too – in a blender, combine ½ cup olive oil, juice of 2 lemons, 1 garlic clove, 1 Tb. Dijon mustard, pinch of sugar and some salt & pepper.
These are just a few of the hundreds of nutrient-dense foods we have to choose from.