Fresh, natural foods help our bodies reduce inflammation, fight disease and rebuild muscle. Not only does this keep us healthy, but it also helps us develop power and speed through on-going physical training.
There are plenty of supplements on the market to help improve performance, but these products may not be as effective as the nutrients provided from whole foods.
As athletes, we can sometimes over-emphasize the macronutrients, like carbs, protein, and fats. When we do this, we can neglect the enormous benefits from foods rich in micronutrients.
When we get back to basics, these four food groups provide many of the essential vitamins and minerals you need. They’re also packed with healthy fats, proteins, and enzymes that regulate bodily functions and keep our cells healthy:
Its a simple list, but there’s no need to over-complicate things.
Let’s now extend the basic, natural eating idea and look at five specific foods that, when eaten raw, will help keep you performing at your peak!
Reduce inflammation with flax seeds
Remember Andrew’s blog about how he was able to recover from injury with the help of an anti-inflammatory diet? Check that blog out here.
Chronic inflammation in the body can lead to serious illness if left untreated. Inflammation can lead to:
Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce inflammation and also support many processes that contribute to cellular healing.
Flaxseed is high in omega-3s and dietary fibre. It’s commonly used to improve digestive health and lower cholesterol levels.
Other great omega-3 sources are chia seeds and walnuts. Try our Banana Chia bar, it’s packed full of chia!
Improve endurance with beet juice
Beets are not only amazing in colour but high in carbohydrates for sustained energy. They contain many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
The high nitrate content means beets can also help dilate blood vessels, lowering blood pressure and increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the cells.
Drinking a cup of beetroot juice a day may help lower blood pressure and aid blood flow.
Beat fatigue with pumpkin seeds
If you are in good general health, but often find yourself out of breath or having difficulty controlling your heart rate during exercise, your body may be running low on iron. Iron is essential in the production of healthy red blood cells that deliver oxygen to tissues in the body.
Without enough iron in the blood, you become fatigued faster.
The lack of oxygenation can affect your heart rate and immune function. Pumpkin seeds are a great source of plant-based iron. With both pumpkin seeds and quinoa, our Coconut Goji bar is a great way to increase your plant-based iron intake too.
Pumpkin seeds also have good quantities of fibre, healthy fats and protein.
Alkalize your body with sprouts
Eating raw fruits and vegetables, in their most natural form, is a great way to ensure you’re getting the most vitamins, minerals, and amino acids from the foods you eat. Sprouts like radish, clover, broccoli, and alfalfa are excellent sources of protein and enzymes to maintain good health.
Plus, they can help your body neutralize free radicals to create a more alkaline environment for proper cell functioning.
Stimulate recovery with Brazil nuts
Endurance athletes understand that recovery is just as essential as the training. You need to recover optimally to get the most out of your next training session.
Healthy fats and foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals can help improve immune and thyroid function. They can also protect and repair bones and connective tissue.
Brazil nuts, along with other nuts such as almonds, are an excellent source of proteins, fats and essential nutrients.
Brazil nuts are high in nutrients that help control blood pressure, such as:
Eating just a few Brazil nuts each day can stimulate your natural recovery processes and help you build and maintain strong bones and muscles.
Balance and variation
What we always promote at At One is a focus on a healthy and varied wholefood diet. A diet containing healthy carbs, proteins and fats, along with abundant plant sources rich in micronutrients and antioxidants – it’s the best balance of nutrition for optimal performance.
We would like to thank the Mayo Clinic for the article resources.
If you have your own tips for healthy optimal performance – we’d love to hear from you.