*By Tasha G-W
The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. There is no diet that will do what eating healthy does. A healthy diet is paramount to success. So every day you should be eating like your life depends on it.
The muscles you engage during exercise, whether it’s cardio, resistance training or flexibility work, rely on the nutrition you provide them through your diet. Supplying your body with nutrients before work out, after work out and in the recovery period between workouts can impact the quality of your session and significantly affect your fitness goals. This is because eating the right foods will enhance athletic performance through muscle building, improved endurance and speed recovery.
Beet juice for stamina
Grab some fresh beets and invest in a juicer. Research shows that this ruby red root veggie may be more effective at boosting energy than caffeine. To bolster your performance, drink up!
Honey for endurance
Consuming honey before exercise provides "time-released" fuel to give athletes steady blood sugar and insulin levels over a longer duration. This natural sweetener also boosts power, speed, and endurance. Try it straight off a spoon, or mix it into your pre-workout snack. For best results, I suggest going with certified organic raw honey.
Salmon helps build muscle
The omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon have been found to fight heart disease and even helping with type 2 diabetes. But animal research shows it may also be a potent muscle booster. Athletes that consume fish oils have improved muscle development. Their bodies typically use twice the amount of amino acids to build new protein tissues, especially skeletal muscles. So consider including wild salmon a few times per week in your next meal prep.
Watermelon reduces muscle soreness
Scientists discovered that watermelon juice helps relieve muscle soreness when consumed before exercise. The effect is likely due to citrulline, which is a natural substance found in watermelon that has been tied to improved artery function and lowered blood pressure. It has even been nicknamed "nature’s Viagra". If you are like me and don’t like bottled or juiced fruit, eat it fresh and bite into the white rind a bit—that's where citrulline is found in higher concentrations.
Dark chocolate to curb exercise-induced stress
Stop feeling guilty about indulging in a little chocolate! Research published in the European Journal of Nutrition shows that consuming dark chocolate improves exercise. In the study, healthy men were asked to eat 3.5 ounces of 70% dark chocolate two hours before a two-and-a-half-hour bout of cycling. Compared to a control group, the chocolate eaters experienced higher blood antioxidant levels and reduced markers of exercise-induced cell stress.
Water for hydration
Water is one of the most critical nutrients in exercise. Staying properly hydrated involves replacing the fluids you lose through sweating and heavy breathing. Hydration keeps your heart rate from climbing too high, which, in turn, helps regulate your body temperature. Don’t be stingy with your water intake.