You may have heard it once or twice, the aged old saying ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’.
This may, or may not be true. But what we can’t ignore is that eating nutritious foods before (or after) any type of physical activity can benefit you in numerous ways.
In this article (and in my video linked above) you’ll discover which foods can lower inflammation and improve hormone production, whilst increasing overall performance and recovery.
#1 Power Smoothie
Spinach (2 Cups):
Spinach contains non-heme iron, which increases haemoglobin levels. This helps to increase red blood cells which carry oxygen and nutrients into your muscle whilst removing waste products such as carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
Beetroot (1 portion):
You’ll find high amounts of antioxidants in beetroot, which help to speed up muscle recovery whilst also reducing muscle scarring – promoting healthy muscle recovery. Beetroot also contains nitric oxide which helps to shuttle blood, oxygen, and food sources into your muscles to assist in your exercise performance.
Cucumber (1/2 half):
Your muscles and connective tissues will benefit from using cucumber. It helps to repair damaged ligaments whilst balancing blood pressure. It also helps to increase hydration levels due to a large amount of water content found in this vegetable.
Pumpkin Seeds (1 cup):
Pumpkin seeds help your muscles and mind to relax thank to the high amounts of magnesium found in these healthy seeds. Pumpkin seeds also help your body to digest foods to be converted into energy for improved performance and recovery.
Chopped Dates (1 cup):
If you’re looking to increase muscle glycogen resynthesis (or fuel a workout) then dates are a fantastic option. Dates also contain healthy levels of B vitamins which increase energy. This is due to the way B vitamins assist in energy metabolism from the foods you eat.
Cocoa Powder (1-2 teaspoons):
For a quick ‘pick me up’! you might want to try cocoa powder. It’s been shown to help increase dopamine levels (the feel-good chemical in the brain). It’s also been shown to improve blood flow into the muscles. The more blood we can get into our muscles during exercise the better.
Maca Powder (1-2 teaspoons):
There have not been large amounts of research down on maca, but the relevant studies do indicate that it can improve your immune system. Not only that, but it can also increase blood flow and the libido in some cases.
Flax Seeds (1-2 teaspoons):
For a healthy boost of arginine, then flax seeds are a great option. Argentine can be converted into nitric oxide, which then boosts oxygen and blood supply around your body. Furthermore, flax seeds contain omega 3’s which lower inflammation. This is especially important post-exercise to stimulate recovery.
Goji Berries (1 cup):
Goji berries contain high amounts of vitamin A which is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin-A has been linked to better immune health thanks to its high antioxidant properties.
Cherries (1 cup):
This fruit is one of my favourite foods to use on a regular basis, why? Because cherries hold large amounts of polyphenols which can reduce muscle aches and pains following exercise. In short, eating cherries surrounding exercise can speed up muscle recovery.
Strawberries (1 cup):
Just like with cherries, strawberries contain a healthy amount of polyphenols: Polyphenols are in the class of anthocyanins, which have a potent effect on recovery and overall health. Therefore, if you want to improve muscle repair whilst protecting yourself against colds and inflammation, then strawberries are a safe bet.
#2 High Protein Omelette
Quick and easy high protein omelette with the added bonus of wholewheat muffins which support muscle glycogen resynthesis. And why not add in vegetables which support energy metabolisms, such as green beans and red peppers. Give it a go and try this easy to follow the recipe (in my video) and you’ll soon feel the benefits. From muscle growth and repair to hormonal support with the healthy cholesterol found in eggs.
Eggs (1 whole / 4 whites):
Eggs pack a punch when it comes to their nutritional value. They contain protein, healthy fats, cholesterol (needed for testosterone and vitamin D production), along with a variety of vitamins required for energy metabolism. Ideal for any active person. And better still, they take minutes to cook.
Red Bell Pepper (1 chopped):
Inside red peppers, you’ll find vitamin A and vitamin C. Both of these vitamins will provide your body with antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to lower inflammation whilst improving the immune system, buffering free radicals that might be brought on by oxidative stress from exercise.
Wholewheat Bagles (x 2):
Whole wheat bagels contain enough carbohydrates to fuel a tough workout or replenish your muscle glycogen stores post-exercise. How much you need will depend on your lean muscle mass and the duration/type of activity you take part in.
Green Beans (handful):
Inside green beans, you’ll find elements that improve the production of your DNA whilst increasing white and red blood cells in your bone marrow, whilst also improving blood sugar levels thanks to its added fibre.
#3 Overnight Oats
Oats (2 cups):
Oats contain vitamins, minerals such as zinc and magnesium. Not only that, but oats also contain proteins and slow-releasing carbohydrates. This makes oats a great choice for recovery or even a pre-workout meal. Furthermore, oats also contain B vitamins which help to convert foods into energy – ideal for a boost first thing in the morning.
Maca Powder (1-2 teaspoons):
See the Power Smoothie Recipe for information on Maca powder.
Cocoa Powder (1-2 teaspoons):
See the Power Smoothie Recipe for information on Cocoa Powder.
Chopped Almonds (handful):
Almonds contain healthy fats along with proteins that help your muscles to rebuild themselves after exercise. Furthermore, they are loaded with vitamin E and antioxidants.
Pumpkin Seeds (handful):
See the Power Smoothie Recipe for information on Pumpkin Seeds.
Trail Mix (1-2 teaspoons):
A trail mix usually consists of mixed seeds and dried fruit such as raisins, goji berries and nuts. These ingredients can lower inflammation, improve recovery and energy levels whilst increasing your immune system.
Chia Seeds (1 cup):
Chia seeds are packed full of nutrients, fibre, and antioxidants. Not only that, but chia seeds also contain proteins and omega 3 fatty acids which lower inflammation.
Chopped Dates (handful):
See the Power Smoothie Recipe for information on Chopped Dates.
Almond Milk (as required to taste):
Almond milk is a great alternative to ordinary milk. It contains B vitamins which convert foods sources into energy, vitamin E which is a potent antioxidant, along with magnesium and protein and healthy fats.