You’ve been keeping your lifestyle active. You fuel your workouts with the best quality protein out there. You make the most out of your workout by feeding your body and muscles with the perfect workout recovery drink. You even manage to get your lean protein in most of your meals—a moderate amount at lunch and a generous amount for dinner. What’s missing in this picture?
Breakfast. What do you “break” your “fast” with every morning? Do you start your day off with the greatest energizer and fat burner available—lean protein? Although most Americans are able to consume enough protein in a day, they tend to forget an important principle about protein: Consuming your protein at the right time is just as important as consuming the right amount.
Research shows that most Americans only eat a small amount of protein at breakfast, if any. This make them more susceptible to hunger, cravings, and overeating later in the day. A recent study done at the University of Missouri’s Department of Exercise Physiology and Nutrition gave participants meals with similar fat and fiber contents but different protein content—low-protein and protein-rich.
The protein-rich breakfast eaters showed significant improvement in appetite control. They were less hungry, more full, and had less desire to eat in the time period between breakfast and lunch compared with the low-protein breakfast and breakfast skippers.
Instead of letting hunger pangs and food cravings distract you every morning, why not make it a priority to gear up on protein every day?
Getting Your Protein on Time
In the hustle and bustle of your morning routine, it may be hard to find a quick way to sneak 4-6 ounces of lean protein into your meal. In fact, most Americans eat low-protein breakfasts because they lack convenient high-protein options. This is one of the main reasons we recommend having an EnergyFirst protein shake for breakfast. You won’t have to worry about unstable blood sugars or food cravings for another 4-6 hours—until lunch time!
Other sources of lean protein to consider including in your meals are fish, eggs, egg whites, skinless chicken breast, free range beef, wild game turkey, low fat cottage cheese, and non-fat dairy.
Cruciferous Vegetables – Meet the Brassica family!
If cancer had a kryptonite, cruciferous vegetables would be it. Your raw vegetable platter would not be complete without them. Among others, these include arugula, bok choy, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, cauliflower, collard greens, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, mustard greens, radishes, rutabaga, turnips, watercress, and wasabi.
Pungent, but Powerful
Compared to other vegetables, cruciferous ones are relatively high your conventional vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are also chock full of antioxidants and phytochemicals. This family of vegetables features carotenoids such as beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
True, these vegetables tend to have a pungent aroma and bitter or spicy flavor. That, however, is what gives these vegetables the anti-cancer benefits we need. It’s worth it to try and embrace their unique properties.
Cruciferous vegetables are a concentrated source of glucosinolates, a group of substances that break down into sulfur-containing phytochemicals that are responsible for the pungent aroma and bitter flavors. Every time you sink your teeth into a Brussels sprout or kale leaf, these glucosinolates are broken down to form indoles, nitriles, thiocyanates, and isothiocyanates (ITCs). These compounds have been studied for their anticancer effects, especially cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, liver, lung, ovaries, and stomach.
Just how do these glucosinolates work? What are their strategies? Studies have shown that these compounds, like sulforaphane, render carcinogens inactive. Detoxify carcinogens before they damage your cells.
They are also anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. They help protect cells from DNA damage (which will help prevent mutations that can often lead to cancer), stop tumors from spreading, or even induce cancer cell death.
If a tumor already exists, glucosinolates can interfere with the growth of tumor cells by decreasing the formation of blood vessels that feed them. Studies have shown that these vegetables can help improve cancer survival rates.
Maximize your Cruciferous Intake
A chop or a chew allows certain enzymes to come into contact with glucosinolates to break them down into the active compounds. Chewing or blending your vegetables thoroughly helps the breakdown process. Also, if you aren’t going raw, cook these vegetables to minimum temperatures to retain the maximum amount of phytochemicals. Add them to your soups, stews, salads, and smoothies. Also, since they can be leached into cooking water, try to use cooking methods that use less water, such as steaming.
All vegetables are a unique package rich in different nutrients. As you try and diversify the vegetables that are part of your diet, remember to include cruciferous vegetables.
Pharmacol Res. 2007 March; 55(3): 224–236.
Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Jul;19(7):1806-11. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-10-0008. Epub 2010 Jun 15