Looking to boost athletic performance? Whether you are an athlete, weekend warrior, or just trying to get into a regular physical activity routine, you will want to include the following foods in your nutrition plan:
1. Protein. Adequate protein intake is needed to grow and repair muscles. It is also needed to maintain immune function and prevent the dreaded post-race cold or flu. Bump up your daily protein intake by adding foods like chicken, turkey, fish, nuts/seeds, legumes, or a good quality protein powder to your diet. Proteins like poultry and fish are also high in coenzyme Q 10 which is an important cofactor in energy production. To calculate your protein needs, visit http://www.healthcalculators.org/calculators/protein.asp .To compare various protein contents of foods, check out http://www.mynetdiary.com/protein-foods-in-diet.html .
2. Leafy greens. Greens are rich in magnesium and B vitamins which are important for energy production. Leafy greens also ramp up your liver which is an important organ involved in fat metabolism. Include 1-2 cups a day of leafy greens like kale, spinach, bok choy, Swiss chard or collard greens into your salad, soup, smoothie, or stir fry.
3. Turmeric. This anti-inflammatory spice helps decrease pain and inflammation associated with any bone, joint or soft tissue injuries. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, turmeric is also used as an energy tonic. Add 1 tsp a day to your smoothie or stir fry or try it with a little bit of olive oil (it is best absorbed with a healthy fat). Warning: it might not taste great but it works!
Of course, ensuring you have a balanced diet is also important to your performance and overall health. Check out this updated food guide that was recently released by Harvard University and make sure you are optimizing your nutrition! http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/pyramid/