The more you focus on being fit and improving your performance, the more you start to pick up on how certain foods make you feel. The good stuff tastes better and makes you feel like a million bucks. The bad stuff drags you down and makes you feel like somebody put sugar in your gas tank. Either way, the point is that being in tune with your body means giving it the right fuel.
Here are four game-changing superfoods that can help you take your performance to a whole new level.
Cruciferous vegetables. Yesterday we posted on our Facebook wall an article from WebMD about the impressive benefits of cruciferous vegetables (a fancy term for veggies in the cabbage family — think broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and, you know…cabbage). It’s definitely worth clicking through for the full article but basically eating cruciferous vegetables is a great way to cut your risk of cancer and take in a ton of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folic acid.
How to make it happen? As a general rule, the less you cook veggies like these, the better they’ll be. Mushy broccoli can turn your stomach, but the stuff looks a lot more appealing when it’s next to some (also awesome) cauliflower and celery on a veggie tray. Cook sparingly or try them raw to get your daily fill.
Antioxidants. Your body uses antioxidants to help you recover — whether that’s from a long hard run or from an injury or illness. As this post from The Running Bug points out, you don’t need to overdo it with antioxidants (especially in the form of supplements), but it is good to work them into your daily diet as a runner.
How to make it happen? Grapes, berries, and nuts are all antioxidant-rich foods that can be easily worked into your day, one snack baggie at a time. Reach for these instead of junkier foods when you are looking to kill a little hunger between meals and feel the benefits after your next hard workout.
Chia seeds. When Fitbie published their list of superfoods for endurance runners, chia seeds made the cut. A tough-to-beat combination of carbs, protein, fiber, and omega-3s make chia seeds an optimal food for runners. It’s a shame that most of us know them best for growing hilarious green hair on ceramic heads (ch-ch-ch-chia!).
How to make it happen? You can toss a handful of chia seeds into pretty much anything — think stews, smoothies, cold drinks, you name it. Mix them in and knock it back. There isn’t a whole lot of taste, but they can really leave you feeling tremendous.
Chocolate milk. You may have been seeing more of this lately as chocolate milk is becoming increasingly popular as a post-workout recovery drink. This post from Fitness points out some of the benefits of cooling down after training with a glass of chocolate milk, which include rehydrating and providing a ton of carbohydrates and protein. The bottom line is that it’s more natural than a sports drink and more substantive than water alone.
How to make it happen? This is an easy one — it’s chocolate milk! Unleash your inner kid and have a glass. You probably don’t want to down a bunch immediately after working out but let yourself cool down and indulge. For most of us, nonfat is the way to go.
We hope you saw something on this list worth trying. You really will be amazed at how much the right fuel can impact your performance whether you’re training or just going about your day. Let us know if you have any go-to foods that leave you feeling like you could take on the world!