Fabulous fruits for fitness
By: Joe Palumbo, IFBB Pro
Concerns about fructose overload and carbs cause many in the fitness community to steer clear of all fruits. In bodybuilder circles, fruit often gets a bad rap. The thought process is any food with high amounts of sugar ought to be treated as if it were poison. However, the following fresh choices can provide the physique-minded person with a serious edge over those who go without.
Ask which fruit packs in the most vitamin C, and the majority will name the orange. The fact is kiwi fruit possesses higher levels of this potent antioxidant, which could help you trim the fat off your frame. Low vitamin C status can hinder fat burning during exercise because vitamin C is necessary for the synthesis of carnitine, a molecule required for the proper oxidation of fatty acids. Kiwis are high in nutrients and low in calories. The possible health benefits of consuming kiwis include maintaining healthy skin tone and texture, reducing blood pressure and preventing heart disease and stroke.
Cantaloupe contains an abundance of antioxidants including zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene, all of which provide protection against a range of diseases and conditions from the common cold to cancer. Cantaloupe also contains choline, which is not considered a mineral or a vitamin, but is known to be an essential micronutrient needed for many functions of the body. Studies have shown: Americans simply aren’t getting enough of it in their diets. Choline is a macronutrient that’s important for liver function, nerve function, and muscle movement. For the fitness minded it supports energy levels and contributes to maintaining a healthy metabolism. The potential public health implications of not consuming enough of this essential nutrient have only recently begun to be examined.
Hate that bloating feeling; low potassium levels can contribute to an increase in fluid buildup within the body. Bananas rich in potassium—plus avocados, kiwis, oranges, all prevent water retention by regulating sodium levels in your body and can thus reduce salt-induced bloating. Bananas also have soluble fiber, which can relieve or prevent constipation.
Grapefruit may not be a miracle weight loss food as promoted in previously popular fad diets, but consuming grapefruit as part of a healthy diet may just give you a little boost. A study of 91 obese people conducted at the Nutrition and Metabolic Research Center at Scripps Clinic found that eating half a grapefruit before each meal helped people drop more than three pounds over 12 weeks. The fruit’s phytochemicals reduce insulin levels, a process that may force your body to convert calories into energy. Grapefruit also contains the powerful nutrient combination of potassium, lycopene, vitamin C and choline.
People use cucumbers to reduce puffiness under their eyes—and you can eat them to do the same thing for your belly. The cucumber contains quercetin, a flavonoid antioxidant that helps reduce swelling. Considered one of the most abundant antioxidants in the human diet, quercetin plays an important part in fighting free radical damage and the effects of aging. Exercise reduces inflammation, but it also increases it, so to combat it eat plenty of cucumbers loaded with the anti-Inflammatory agent quercetin. With vitamin K, B vitamins, copper, potassium, vitamin C, and manganese, cucumbers can help you to avoid nutrient deficiencies that are widespread among those eating a typical American diet.
The watermelon is your go-to fruit for weight loss. It’s high in water content (90%), and a 100g serving just contains 30 calories. They’re also a rich source of amino acids called arginine which helps burn fat. Confusion regarding the difference between L-arginine and arginine, individuals may wonder if there is a difference, this is not the case, the core component and the beneficial effects are the same. L-Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid found in the diet. It is also a dietary supplement used mostly by athletic people because it is the amino acid that directly produces Nitric Oxide via the nitric oxide synthase enzymes.
Tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables, and they’re a blessing for your weight loss battle. Besides being delicious, they are full of antioxidants, and they also reduce water retention. Most importantly tomatoes reverse leptin resistance, for that unfamiliar, Leptin is a protein hormone involved in the regulation of energy intake and expenditure by the body. Being resistant to this hormone’s effects (called leptin resistance) is now believed to be the leading driver of fat gain in humans. If your leptin channels are not functioning correctly, eating foods to increase leptin sensitivity may help to restore the way leptin signals your brain to shut off your appetite and begin burning fuel. The result is that you will eat less and metabolize foods more efficiently, which could result in weight loss. Thus tomatoes are the perfect ally.
Eat smart, #BESAFE
IFBB Professional Bodybuilder
Director of Physical Performance Infinite Labs Orlando FL
Advance Sports Nutrition Specialist (ASNS)
Certified Navy Seal Fitness Instructor
Freelance writer: Workouts and Training Techniques, Strength Training and Conditioning, General Fitness, Weight Loss and Nutritional Needs