Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Performance-Enhancing Christmas Delicacies
Christmas food that is both tasty and performance-enhancing?! Shut the front door!
...It's true. Christmas is one week from today. Cozy up next to these delicious holiday foods to enjoy some performance-enhancing benefits. The trick, of course, it to watch the portion size. Did I just rain on your parade? Don't leave just yet. Read on for Christmas happiness....
1. Dark-chocolate covered Berries
Why did I start with chocolate? Because I'm normal. Who wouldn't start with chocolate? Berries - strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries - are chock full of antioxidants, which are shown to decrease inflammation in the body when incorporated via food. Covered in dark chocolate you get the extra anti-inflammatory benefit of the cocoa. So enjoy these, but stick to a handful at most.
2. Cinnamon Sweet potatoes
Okay, back to dinner food. One sweet potato boasts 3 grams of fiber, 283% of your daily need for Vitamin A and just 85 Calories. Topped with cinnamon you get added - yup - anti-inflammatory benefits. That should make your muscles feel better already.
3. Mixed nuts in-shell
Countless studies have proven the benefits of protein and fat for weight maintenance and muscle gain. Trying to do either this winter? Then pull up next to the nut bowl. One ounce of lightly salted mixed nuts has 170 Calories including 5 grams of protein and 13 grams of healthy fat! These will keep you satisfied between meals. And why in-shell? Simple. It keeps you from shoveling them in by the handful. Keep in mind that one ounce is not much....about 23 almonds or one small handful of mixed nuts. So slow down and taste these little gems before you eat an entire pound.
4. The Christmas chicken, turkey, or pork
The main dish at Christmas dinner can really make or break the entire meal from a deliciousness standpoint. Luckily, if you choose chicken, turkey or pork, your performance will also be in good hands. Just 3 ounces of any of these lean meats equals somewhere in the range of 25-30 grams of protein - the max amount of protein you want in one meal. Remember - again - 3 ounces is not much...about the size of a deck of cards.
5. Red Wine...and Beer
Many of us know the proven health benefits of red wine, but beer may have health benefits also. And beer is actually higher in micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) compared with wine. Don't get too excited though. Beer's micronutrient content for is only as high as 3% for any one nutrient. Research consistently shows that health benefits from either wine or beer only occur with moderate drinking - 1 drink per for women and 2 drinks per day for men. So enjoy, but do so slowly!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/avlxyz/