Almonds are a rich source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that’s believed to help prevent prostate cancer. They can also aid weight loss as their high monounsaturated (good) fat and protein content is very satisfying.
A large apple contains around 5g of fibre and is nearly 85 percent water, which helps you feel full without the calories. They’re also packed with vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that protects your body from exercise-induced oxidative stress.
Although their high in calories, avocados contain more potassium (an electrolyte lost during training) than bananas. They also provide at least 20 essential nutrients as well as the heart-healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats.
Bananas are an excellent source of natural energy and potassium, which can help lower blood pressure, provide energy, aid muscle growth and prevent muscle cramps. They’re also a rich source of vitamin B6, which is thought to reduce stress levels and help improve mood.
Gram for gram, these little gems contain more antioxidants than any other fruit. Antioxidants mop up cancer-causing-free-radicals and can prevent the oxidisation of cholesterol. Their vitamin C content also improves your immune system.
This is a low-fat source of protein, which will aid the muscle-building process without causing a gut overspill. It’s also a great source of vitamin B2, riboflavin, which is vital for muscle growth and red blood cell production.
Eggs are a great source of protein. They contain all of the essential amino acids needed for optimal muscle building. They’re also rich in the mineral iron, which is necessary for healthy blood and transporting nutrients to working muscles.
Half a grapefruit has around 35 calories and its acidity is thought to slow down digestion, helping you to feel fuller longer and stay lean. Grapefruits are also rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can stave off post-workout fatigue.
Beans fall low on the GI index, which means they provide a slow release of long-lasting energy that will stop you snacking. They’re also loaded with protein, are virtually fat free and have an ideal ratio of carbohydrate to protein.
The ‘good’ bacteria found in yoghurt helps keep your intestines healthy, allowing them to absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat. The good bacteria may also have an anti-inflammatory properties that relieve sore joints and muscles.
Liver’s not to everyone’s taste but it’s supremely nutritious. Full of muscle-building protein and vital vitamins and minerals, it’s also a fantastic source of iron and zinc and its B vitamins are perfect for producing energy and boosting brain power.
Milk is one of the most accessible sources of protein and calcium around. The calcium helps support bone health and its important in helping to break down body fat while the protein helps to build and repair muscles.
Oats have a low GI providing slow-release carbs to fuel an entire workout. Their high zinc content means they are not only good for sperm production, but also aid the manufacture of testosterone, important for gaining muscle mass.
Papayas are a rich source of vitamins C and E, and betacarotene – all powerful antioxidants. They’re also packed with potassium, which helps support the immune system, maintain fluid balance and may also help lower blood pressure.
Rich in natural sugars, pineapples are bursting with B vitamins, which help release energy from food. They also contain bromelain, which has fantastic anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling, and pain from strains and bruises.
Not only do pine nuts contain possibly more protein than any other nut or seed, they’re also rich in nutrients, and though they’re relatively high in fat, it’s thought they can aid weight loss because of their ability to suppress appetite.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a good source of complex carbohydrates and it’s a complete protein, as it contains all nine of the essential amino acids that are crucial for tissue growth and repair.
One pepper provides 380 per cent of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C, a nutrient crucial for repairing connective tissues. Your body can’t store vitamin C so you need to eat it daily to create new blood vessels and bone cells.
Salmon is a good source of omega 3 and provides all the raw materials you body needs to produce the anti-inflammatory compounds that soothe post-workout stiffness and pain. Its vitamin A can also help strengthen your immune system.
These oily fish are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids, which cannot be made by the body but are needed for a healthy heart. They can also help keep your weight down as they help you feel satiated but contain few calories.
Most seeds are excellent source of protein and a good non-fishy source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Pumpkin seeds, in particular, are also rich in zinc, which boosts sperm production.
Soya is a one of the few vegetarian sources of all the essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein and vital for our health. It’s also packed with iron, and omega 3 fatty acids, important for maintaining brain health and immunity.
Spinach will add extra iron, calcium and folic acid to any dish. Iron helps cells to grow and divide, and is important in the synthesis of protein, while folic acid helps maintain healthy blood pressure and healthy red blood cells.
These are a more nutritious alternative to standard spuds. They’re rich in betacarotene and also provide vitamins C and E, as well as potassium, which is necessary for muscle contraction and water balance.
Perfect for vegetarians, tofu is made from soya beans and matches most meat sources when comparing protein quality. It also contains all the essential amino acids needed for muscle repair and growth as well as bone-strengthening calcium.
Tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, needed to lower levels of cortisol, a muscle-wasting stress hormone that increases with weight training. They are also a great source of lycopene which helps reduce the onset of various cancers, including prostate.
Tuna is a rich in muscle-building protein and creatine. Fresh tuna is a good source of omega 3 fatty acids, which will provide energy to your organs and muscles. Tinned tuna is easy to use and should give you about 30g of protein per can.
Turkey is a lean way to pack on muscle. It is also bursting with three essential vitaminsL B3, B6 and B12, which help release energy from food. The dark meat has nearly twice as much iron and three times as much zinc as the light stuff.
Gram for gram this green leaf contains more calcium than milk and more vitamin C than oranges. It’s also rich in vitamin K, which plays an important role in building bones, and is practically calorie-free so no need to loosen your belt.
Wholemeal bread is full of fibre, which should keep you feeling satiated for longer than you would with white bread. The grains also provide you with a slow-release, longer-lasting energy source, keeping hunger pangs at bay.