Power foods are the foods that provide essential nutrients that our bodies need in order to grow, repair, and function properly. By maintaining a healthy diet and clean eating habits your body is able to perform with optimal health, endurance, and strength in any of your favorite activities or hobbies. Without proper nutrition you may feel slow and sluggish throughout leaving you without energy to exercise and move your body. Over time, this can also lead to anxiety, depression, and other chronic illnesses. 

With the awareness of mental health rising throughout our nation it is important to understand where you can start to help make a change. Making healthy lifestyle changes in your own life can lead others close to you to make the changes they need as well. Understanding nutrition and what we put into our bodies is a great way to start building a healthier community. Recent studies have shown that eating a diet full of whole grains, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oils, and high-fat dairy products are associated with a decreased risk of depression. 

Below is a list of a variety of power foods with their health benefits and nutritional value. Use this list as a guide to evaluate your own eating habits and what you could be missing in your diet. You will notice that these foods are whole and unprocessed that you prepare at home to avoid added sugars and other processed ingredients. The more you can cook at home the cleaner your diet will be leading to a healthier mind and overall body functions. 

Complete Protein foods are those that have all essential nutrients our body needs to make a whole protein chain. Without complete protein foods our body can not build and adapt appropriately to routine exercise. If you are looking to body-build and add muscle you must eat these complete protein foods; Whole Egg, Whole Milk and Yogurt, Poultry, Fish, Rice and Beans, Whole-Wheat Bread and Peanut Butter, Nuts, Tortillas and Beans, Chickpeas and Bread, Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese. 

Carbohydrates are our body's main source of energy and also help to regulate digestion and absorption of protein and fat. Carbohydrates occur in the form of simple sugar and fiber or complex sugars and starches. Fiber provides bulk to our diet which aids in digestion of foods and regular bowel movements. Diets high in fiber are also associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and reduced blood sugar levels. Foods full of simple sugar and fiber are fresh and whole fruits and vegetables. Yummy, healthy, and clean carbohydrates that we must consume in our diet to achieve optimal performance are; bananas, sweet potatoes, quinoa, wheat, oats, whole-grains,  brown rice, beetroots, apples, legumes, oranges, berries, fettuccine, soy beans, and grapefruit.  

Fats that are unsaturated provide many functions in our body and must be consumed through our daily diet. Unsaturated fats regulate the excretion and nutrients in the cell and provide cellular membrane structure and function. If we do not consume these essential fats through our diet our bodies will not function properly. Foods that offer healthy unsaturated fats are; olive, canola, and vegetable oils, avocados, nuts, flaxseeds, salmon and other fish. 

We must consume a variety of foods through our diet that offer these essential nutrients for our bodies to function properly. Without proper nutrition our brain can not function properly which leads to depression, anxiety, and other mental health diseases. Start each day at the root of your behaviors and thoughts by providing your body with clean, energizing, and real foods. By eating healthier, we will feel happier and ready to take on the many challenges in our day. Teach your kids or other close friends and family what healthy eating habits look like to build a healthier community both mentally and physically.

To healthier eating and building stronger bodies and minds all 2021!

Elizabeth Heald

Fitness Trainer and Health Coach

The Outdoor Athlete


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