Diet can make or break your athletic performance. Think of your body as a high-end luxury car and your food as the gasoline. As a complex system of many moving parts, your body needs premium “gas” to run efficiently and effectively – you can’t expect the same performance on diesel fuel. Check out this list of 6 amazing foods to help boost your athletic performance.
Quinoa: Quinoa a gluten-free grain loaded with complex carbohydrates and protein. This special combination of macronutrients make it perfect for eating both before and after workouts. In one serving (1/2 cup) of quinoa, you can also get about half of your daily magnesium intake, which can help support bone and heart health making it perfect for athletes.
Bananas: Muscle cramps caused by low potassium is a common ailment among athletes. Eating just one medium banana a day gives you 422mg of potassium and can help prevent muscle cramps and soreness. An average banana also contains about 30g of low-glycemic carbohydrates, making them a choice fuel source, whether you are working out for a short or long period of time.
Peanut Butter: Peanut butter is loaded with protein, unsaturated fats, and fiber, all which will help keep you full during you workout. Also, for vegans or vegetarians, nut butters make a great natural source of plant-based protein, essential for muscle growth and repair.
Turmeric: Turmeric, a widely used spice all over the world, contains a substance known as curcumin. This substance has been shown to reduce inflammation and ease the pain and symptoms associated with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. This natural anti-inflammatory is perfect for runners or any weight-baring athlete.
Eggs: Eggs have been a long time favorite food among athletes. Not only are they loaded with protein, including all 9 essential amino acids, but the yolks are rich in choline, an essential micronutrient that is vital for proper nerve and muscle function.
Spinach: Spinach may not make your muscle grow instantaneously like Popeyes’, however this iron-loaded leafy green can help improve athletic performance by keeping your blood healthy. Iron is essential for the production of hemoglobin, a substance in red blood cells that help transport oxygen to tissues all over the body and keep you from becoming prematurely fatigued during workouts.
By Nora Minno, RD, CDN