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Bemovelive.com Blog features the latest fitness and clean eating advice from John Holley, MS, CSCS. Blogs focus on exercise, nutrition, sleep, stress reduction and getting the most out of your workouts.

10 ESSENTIAL FOODS

John Holley

Workout programs are everywhere. Videos, books (Clean and Simple) and websites (www.bemovelive.com) are filled with programs guaranteed to make you strong, ripped and great in bed. Fantastic! All you have to do is workout on a consistent basis and get plenty of rest and the latest and greatest workout will work…as long as you get the proper nutrition. This is the hard part, but it is really ¾ of the recipe (pardon the pun) for workout success. You have to eat right to obtain and maintain your gains.

So, whether you are trying to lose weight, set a PR, master down dog or walk up the stairs without being out of breath, here are 10 essential foods to have in your kitchen:

1.     Whole eggs are one of the best sources of protein on the planet and will not negatively impact your cholesterol. Moreover, they contain a nutrient called choline, which is essential for cardiovascular and brain function.

2.     Lean meats provide high-quality protein, especially if they are pasture-raised. Try to purchase grass fed beef and bison and free-range chicken and turkey.

3.     Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies are high in protein and omega-3s. Omega-3s help control and manage inflammation and most of us are deficient in this nutrient. Wild caught or sustainably raised sources are best.

4.     Legumes (beans and lentils) are excellent sources of fiber and when combined with a grain like rice, provide a source of complete protein.

5.     Vegetables! Tomatoes, spinach and cruciferous vegetables, in particular, are nutritional superstars…enough said.

6.     Fruit is an important source of vitamins and fiber, but watch the sugar content, especially if you have blood sugar challenges. By the way, avocados get a special mention because they contain monounsaturated fat and are high in potassium, which ensures proper muscle growth and regulates fluid levels in the body.

7.     Sweet potatoes and yams are a personal favorite and they are loaded with clean-burning carbohydrates. They are a great source of Vitamin A, which is important for the synthesis of protein and muscle growth.

8.     Nuts and seeds are rich in monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids. Look for raw rather than roasted varieties, which lose much of their nutritional value.

9.     Extra-virgin olive oil is high in antioxidants and contains monounsaturated fat, which helps control LDL (bad) cholesterol while raising HDL (good) cholesterol levels. Oh yeah, and the extra virgin variety tastes great.

10.  Water is crucial for optimal performance from the cellular level to the gym. In fact, I bet you are dehydrated, so go drink some now.