Josef Brandenburg, special to wtop.com
WASHINGTON – The cliche is true: You are what you eat.
Exercise, alone, is not enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. What we put into our bodies has a direct effect on how we look and feel.
And gearing your diet towards fresh, nutrient dense foods — often referred to as “superfoods” — is key to achieving optimal health results.
So the next time you are planning a trip to the market, or are mapping out your menu for the week, keep these superfoods in mind:
- Farm fresh (or pastured) eggs: These are not to be confused with grocery store eggs or those labeled “free-range” or “omega-3.” Healthier chickens make healthier eggs, and pastured eggs are the products of very happy, free chickens.
The yolks of these eggs are a different color than conventional eggs, and so are their fat profiles. And the best news? They’re often less expensive than the specialty labeled eggs at the grocery store. You can find them at your local farmers market.
- Tart cherries: I like to refer to this fruit as a “tasty little recovery powerhouse.” Tart cherries are packed with antioxidants, which can help to reduce inflammation and boost recovery from exercise. I love to use them in my post-workout shakes. Throw a handful of frozen tart cherries, a bit of ice, protein powder, a bit of Greek yogurt and water in a blender for a quick treat. Just remember you want tart cherries, not just cherries.
- Grass-fed beef: Grass-fed beef is like the salmon of the land. It has a naturally high level of omega-3s and a lower amount of saturated fat, compared to corn-fed beef. Grass-fed beef is also packed with something called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which many sources say helps to increase muscle mass and decrease fat.
- Spinach: Spinach is one of my favorite superfoods because it is versatile and easy to prepare. For example, it can be eaten raw, steamed or saut