5 Power Foods to Maximize Success

If working out alone hasn't helped you lose weight, tone up or improve your mental clarity, you might want to turn to your kitchen-and the food within it.

Fueling with foods that provide your body with beneficial vitamins and nutrients is an important piece to building a healthy lifestyle. The following power foods will help you build a healthier life and can lead to the changes you're looking for.  

More: 10 Superfoods for Race Season

Healthy Fats

Avocado, nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and fatty fish are rich in omega-3s and provide a variety of benefits, whether you want to improve your diet or decrease joint pain. The most common benefits include reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, but that's not all: omega-3s also promote reduced symptoms of hypertension, depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), joint pain and other rheumatoid problems as well as certain skin ailments.

Dark Leafy Greens

Leafy greens consistently top the list of super foods. They're rich sources of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium as well as vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also help protect your cells from damage and your eyes from age-related problems.

More: Why You Should Rotate Your Raw Leafy Greens

Non-Meat Complete Protein Combinations

Complete proteins that come from plant sources allow you reap all the benefits—sustained energy, bone strength and immune system functioning—without the cholesterol and fat that many meat sources have.

However, because few plant sources are complete proteins, you need to combine certain foods to get the complete-protein benefits. Try eating rice and beans, hummus and pita, or peanut butter and whole grain bread.

Dried Fruits

These super foods—when dehydrated with no preservatives or extra sugar—pack nearly all the same nutritional benefits as their whole, fresh counterpart. Reach for dried apple, apricot, mango, cherry, fig, papaya, blueberry, plum and pears. From an apple's phytonutrients to a fig's iron, your body will thank you.

Beans

These power foods not only provide an incredible amount of protein, but one serving can offer nearly half the recommended dose of fiber, which keeps you full longer. The best beans to eat are small red beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans and black-eyed peas, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study.

Along with a good exercise routine, these power foods will help you meet your health and fitness goals.

More: 9 Reasons Why Athletes Should Eat More Beans

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