Unless you want to turn into an obese mess there is a limited amount of food you can eat in a single day. For optimal health and performance it makes sense to eat the foods that have the greatest amount and variety of nutrients.
Every time you eat it is an opportunity to take you closer to your goals.
When we exercise we place 'stress' on the body. You need to support the bodies ability to repair and regenerate. It is imperative that you support your training by eating the correct foods. The list of foods below have been put together based on the inflammation factor, the ORAC scale, Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI) rating and the Naturally Nutrient Rich (NNR) score.
Regardless whether you want to put on muscle, lose fat or just fuel for performance, making these foods a regular part of your diet will help you achieve your goals.
SPICES: CINNAMON, TURMERIC, CLOVES, CUMIN
Spices and herbs are at the top of all of the healthiest foods on the planet. Simply put these four offer the most benefit with regard to lowering inflammation, boosting recovery and improving overall health. I cannot stress the importance of adding these into your nutrition plan! The issue is getting enough of them to reap the benefits that are stated in the research. So use these tips to help you to start dropping some spice bombs –
How to use –
- Make marinades
- Add to smoothies
- Make stews and chillis
- Add to stir frys
- Make turmeric or chai tea
- Add to vegetables when roasting
Who doesn’t love a big bowl of colourful berries?!? Berries are regularly touted as a superfood and for good reason. They are full on anthocyanins, fibre, polyphenols and vitamins which help supercharge your recovery. Berries can be eaten anytime but may be of particular use when you are in an intense training cycle and need all the support you can get.
How to use –
- Add to your breakfast – on top of greek yoghurt/porridge/protein pancakes/overnight oats
- Blended in a smoothie – using frozen berries is a cost effective way of buying them and reducing waste
- Add to your meals – berries go really well with game meat such as venison
Berries help with recovery and are full of fibre and vitamins
Providing protein, essential fatty acids and vitamin D, wild fish should be staple in your diet. Exercise can cause muscle damage which leads to increased inflammation in the body. Protein, omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin D are all essential for muscle recovery. Wild fish is a superior to farmed fish as they have higher levels of these nutrients and lower levels of toxic compounds such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Smaller oily fish such as sardines and anchovies are a great choice as they have shorter life spans so don’t have the time to build up toxic load.
How to use –
- Trying to eat fish 4 times per week is advised
- Wild salmon (sockeye), trout, sardines are great as a main meal – simply roasted with lemon and garlic
- Tinned sardines and anchovies are great option as an afternoon snack
So wild fish have high levels of health boosting omega 3 fatty acids – where do they get this from – yep – algae. Spirulina and its close neighbour Chlorella are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. Compared to any other plant, spirulina has the highest concentration of antioxidants in the world, the highest concentration of beta carotene in the world and can support healthy gut bacteria. And if that isn’t enough it contains over 40 vitamins and minerals despite having only one calorie per serving. When it comes to boosting CrossFit performance Spirulina provides iron, nitric oxide, has high levels of B-Vitamins that can support endurance gainz! It really does deserve the label of super-food.
How to use –
- To really reap the benefits you need to be consuming around 4-6g per day.
- My recommendation is to use a mix of tablets and powder.
- Add the powder into smoothies or shakes and take your tablets with main meals.
Spirulina has an incredibly high concentration of antioxidants. Excellent for recovery from high intensity exercise.
At least one serving of broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale or cabbage should be on your plate or in your smoothie daily. Containing high levels of fibre, folate, b-vitamins, vitamin C and compounds to help remove toxins, cruciferous veggies regularly top the lists of the healthiest foods in the world. We know that the intense nature of CrossFit and high intensity exercise can lead to increased inflammation in the body. We also know that green veg can lower inflammation levels and reduce oxidative stress, allowing you to keep coming back for more!
How to use –
- Soups are a great way to get different veg into your nutrition plan. Curried cauliflower, green thai chicken and broccoli or pesto supergreen soup are some great options
- Adding greens into smoothies is also recommended. Blending kale and broccoli into a smoothie containing almond butter, chocolate protein, cacao powder, almond milk and avocado will provide a huge dose of nutrients to supercharge your training performance.
Incorporating these foods into your diet as often as possible will supercharge your health, recovery and performance. AND BE CREATIVE!