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Top 10 Foods for Weight Lifting

Dark Vegetables

Popeye had it right. The cartoon sailor's secret source of strength -- spinach -- boasts minerals that build muscle and antioxidants that help repair them after a workout. But spinach is just one of many vitamin- and mineral-rich vegetables that can help you boost your metabolism. Dark leafy greens -- plus asparagus, kale, broccoli, cucumbers, green peppers, and zucchini squash (the greener the better) -- are all great choices for antioxidants and phytonutrients.

Colorful tubers like sweet potatoes (Clark is a big fan), yams and red potatoes are also a value-packed source of carbohydrates and other minerals. Joy Bauer, MS, RD, author of "Joy Bauer's Food Cures," recommends getting these antioxidants such as vitamin C and beta-carotene from red bell peppers (just one has 300 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C), carrots, pumpkin or sweet potatoes [source: Zelman].

Don't discount beans, which are another superb source of antioxidants (in some cases rated higher than fruits), minerals and omega-3 fats, without any cholesterol. This heart-healthy, complex-carbohydrate group also provides protein, soluble fiber, iron, potassium and calcium. They're cheap, too.