Most supermarkets stock more than 30,000 items, yet every time we race up and down the aisles of the grocery store, we toss into our carts the same 10 to 15 foods. Which isn't such a bad thing, as long as you're taking home the right foods--ones that will keep you healthy and fuel your workouts. These 15 foods fit the bill--add them to your must-buy list:
AlmondsThese are an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that many of us fall short on because there are so few good food sources of it. And the form of vitamin E found in the nuts, called gamma-tocopherol (a form not typically found in supplements), may also help protect against cancer.
EggsOne egg fulfills about 10 percent of your daily protein needs. Egg protein is the most complete food protein short of human breast milk, which means the protein in eggs contains all the crucial amino acids your hard-working muscles need to promote recovery.
Sweet PotatoesJust a single 100-calorie sweet potato supplies over 250 percent of the DV for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, the powerful antioxidant. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, potassium, iron, and the two trace minerals manganese and copper.
Whole-Grain Cereal with ProteinLook for whole-grain cereals that offer at least five grams of fiber and at least eight grams of protein. If you pour on a cup of milk or soymilk, you'll get 30 to 40 percent of your protein needs in one bowl.
OrangesOranges supply over 100 percent of the DV for the antioxidant vitamin C, and a recent study from the University of North Carolina Greensboro showed that taking vitamin C supplements for two weeks prior to challenging arm exercises helped alleviate muscle soreness.
Canned Black Beans
One cup of these beauties provides 30 percent of the DV for protein, almost 60 percent of the DV for fiber (much of it as the cholesterol-lowering soluble type), and 60 percent of the DV for folate, a B vitamin that plays a key role in heart health and circulation.
Mixed Salad GreensRather than selecting one type of lettuce for your salad, choose mixed greens, which typically offer five or more colorful delicate greens such as radicchio, butter leaf, curly endive, and mache. Each variety offers a unique blend of phytonutrients that research suggests may fend off age-related diseases, such as Alzheimer's, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
SalmonBesides being an excellent source of high-quality protein (you get about 30 grams in a four-ounce serving), salmon is one of the best food sources of omega-3 fats. These essential fats help balance the body's inflammation response, a bodily function that when disturbed appears to be linked to many diseases including asthma.