TopSpeed Performance School

The Great Eight

…Eight Great Foods You Should Eat Everyday

It may sometimes seem as though advanced level Calculus is easier to understand than the latest thinking on proper nutrition. With the TopSpeed Performance Nutrition Blueprint you’ll be armed with the practical info necessary to make smart choices. But how can you crank-it-up-a-notch? How can you make good nutrition as easy as the A-B-Cs, and as certain as death and taxes? Just eat these eight foods – along with a little protein such as salmon, eggs, tofu, turkey or lean beef – every day. And relax. This is gonna be easier than you think!

Spinach

This noted muscle builder is a rich source of plant based omega-3s and folate, which helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Substitutes: kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce. Use It In: salads, sandwiches, omletes, pizzas, stir fry. Serving: ½ cup per day

Yogurt

A variety of cultures claim this calcium and protein-rich concoction as their creation, but this 2,000 year-old food’s health benefit cannot be disputed: fermentation spawns millions of probiotic organisms that serve to reinforce the beneficial bacteria in your body. This helps boost your immune system and provide protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic, though, so make sure the label says “live and active cultures”. Substitues: kefir, soy yogurt. Use It In: deserts, dips, salad dressings, smoothies, as a substitute for sour cream or by itself topped with fruit, granola and/or nuts. Serving: 1 cup per day

Tomatoes

Two things to remember about tomatoes: red are best, because they’re packed with more of the antioxidant lycopene, and processed tomatoes are almost as potent as fresh ones. Studies show that a diet rich in lycopene can decrease risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin and stomach cancers, as well as reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Substitutes: Red watermelon, pink grapefruit, Japanese persimmon, papaya, guava. Use It In: salads, sauces, drinks, smoothies, sandwiches, dips, pizzas and soups. Guzzle low-sodium V8 and eat raw tomatoes like apples. Serving: ½ cup juice, 8 red cherry tomatoes or 1 whole tomato per day

Carrots

Most red, yellow or orange vegetables and fruits are spiked with carotenoids – fat soluable compounds that are associated with a reduction in a wide range of cancers, as well as reduced risk and severity of inflammatory conditions such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis – but none are as easy to prepare or have as low in caloric density, as carrots. Substitutes: sweet potato, pumpkin, butternut squash, mango, red/yellow/orange bell pepper. Use It In: Juice, deserts/cakes/muffins, side dishes, salads, tuna/chicken salad, soups, pies, smoothies, sliced and raw. Serving: ½ cup per day

Blueberries

Host to more antioxidants than any other North American fruit, blueberries help prevent cancer, diabetes, and age-related memory changes (hence the nickname “brainberry”). Studies show that blueberries, which are rich in fiber and vitamins A & C, also boost cardiovascular health. Substitutes: Acai berries, purple grapes, prunes, raisins, strawberries. Use It In: Smoothies, juice, deserts, yogurt, cereal, pies, baked goods. Blueberries maintain most of their power in dried, frozen or jam form. Serving: ½ cup per day

Black Beans

All beans are good for your heart, but none can boost your brain power like black beans. That’s because they’re full of anthocyanins, antioxidant compounds that have been shown to improve brain function. A daily ½ cup serving provides 8 grams of protein and 7.5 grams of fiber. It’s also low in calories and free of saturated fat. Serving: ½ cup per day

Walnuts

Richer in heart-healthy omega-3s than salmon, loaded with more anti-inflammatory polyphenols than red wine, and packing half as much muscle-building protein as chicken, the walnut is a superfood that grows on trees. Other nuts combine only one or two of these characteristics, not all three. Substitutes: Almonds, peanuts, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts. Use It In: Bread, muffins, deserts, cereal, salads, pancake batter, smoothies, yogurt, grind and mix with olive oil to make a marinade. Eat like candy as a super healthy snack. Serving: 1 ounce or 7 whole nuts per day.

Oats

Oats garnered the FDA’s very first seal of approval. They are packed with soluble fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disease, full of carbohydrates whose sugars are slowed by the fiber. Oats also have 10 grams of protein per ½ cup serving. Oats deliver steady, muscle-friendly energy. Substitutes: Quinoa, flaxseed, wild rice. Use It In: cereal, bread, baked goods , yogurt, smoothies, salads. Serving: ½ cup per day

Nicholas Sita, PhD, LPT, MSOT, CSPC, CES, LMT