10 Best Natural Foods Pre & Post Workout
It's true. You are what you eat.
You probably already know that. That's why, like all of us, you're most likely trying to eat healthy. But sometimes, it's not enough. Because if you're consuming too many green smoothies, sugary fruits, and lifeless salads, you may be eating healthy, but you could be missing out on the natural foods that can change the way you feel. It’s important to feed your body with all it needs to refuel, repair and restore. We’ve rounded up the best natural foods to supplement your pre or post cycling, yoga practice or daily run—whatever your thing is!
Bananas – more energy, less calories Bananas are slightly higher in energy than other fruits but the calories come mainly from carbohydrate, which makes them perfect for refuelling before, during or after a workout. They're also packed with potassium, which may help with muscle cramps during exercise.
Beetroot – Stamina, goodbye fatigue Beetroot is a staple food amongst athletes thanks to its high nitrate content. When our bodies breakdown them down, they are converted into nitric oxide which dilates the blood vessels in our body. Beetroot can improve exercise endurance and help to keep blood pressure low. By reducing the amount of oxygen we require to reach optimum performance, it slows down the rate of fatigue so you can get a longer work out from your muscles.
Honey – Energy Honey has anti-bacterial properties, and the complex sugars found in honey are slow releasing. Eating honey before exercise increases energy, speed and helps maintain higher energy levels. We love honey! You can introduce it to your morning grains, cups of tea and drizzle it over salads with a squeeze of lemon.
Fish Oils – Feel good in recovery Omega 3 fats boost levels of serotonin, the ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain, and are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Fish is a brilliant source of protein. Whilst protein is essential for muscle health and repair, the Omega-3 properties strengthen the immune system and controls inflammation in the body post workout. Plus, fish contains B6 which helps produce melatonin in the body – and melatonin is a sleepy hormone, which helps you rest.
Caffeine – pain free, fat burning dose in a cup Caffeine manipulates neurotransmitters to alter how the brain functions. While we all think of caffeine as a stimulant, it primarily blocks the action of neurotransmitters that promote sedation and relaxation. Your pre-workout caffeine however you like to drink it isn’t just going to give you the mental edge—it will also help you burn more fat. Caffeine also triggers a production of endorphins in the brain that helps block the feeling of pain. Caffeine aids the replenishment of those fuel cells to have you ready for your next workout.
Green Tea – Burning Calories If you’re not a coffee lover then try an energy boosting green tea, when you need it, full of fat-burning, free-radical-fighting compounds. Green tea is the new green juice. More than just a caffeinated pick-me-up, green tea contains powerful antioxidants that help metabolize fat and fight exercise-induced free radicals that cause inflammation and muscle pain. Who doesn’t love a nice warm brew after a trailblazing ride?
Blueberries – Inflammation and pain free Have you have ever become sore after an intense exercise session? What happens is that for a short period of time the muscle or muscle groups that you stimulated in your workout can become damaged and inflamed. Blueberries have antioxidant properties and eliminate muscle soreness, helping your body to heal itself. Blueberries demonstrate both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that aid in recovery. Goodbye post workout pain!
Magnesium – Muscle Soreness Use a magnesium supplement post-workout to decrease cortisol metabolism and enhance fat loss. After a long ride or intense session working out your muscles may feel tight and tired, one of the best thing you can feed your body is magnesium. This all-important mineral is crucial in helping your body relax and unwind. Plus it’s also vitally important in energy production. Try some magnesium rich foods like pumpkin seeds, cooked spinach and of course, dark chocolate.
Turmeric – Healing Turmeric's natural anti-inflammatory qualities mean it may work as well as some anti-inflammatory medications, without the side effects. Turmeric’s many healing benefits come from its key active ingredient curcumin, a powerful antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory, just what your body deserves after an active workout. We just love this Golden Blend of Goodness recipe!
Sunshine mylk by Pete Evans Serves 2 Ingredients: 1 ½ teaspoons coconut oil 5 cardamom pods, crushed 1 teaspoon Turmeric Paste (see below) 500 ml (2 cups) Macadamia Milk (see below) or coconut milk or coconut cream pinch of freshly ground black pepper ½ teaspoon vanilla powder 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup (optional) ground cinnamon, to serve Macadamia milk 160 g (1 cup) macadamia nuts Turmeric paste 4 tablespoons ground turmeric
Pete Evans is an award-winning chef, TV personality, best-selling author, certified health coach and Paleo Café’s Consultant Chef and brand ambassador.
Oh, and how could we forget to give you our much-loved Paleo Nut Bar—easy to make and ready to pack for your next ride, prendre plaisir!
Ingredients you will need: 1 cup almonds (activated if possible) you will need to read the Family Food cookbook for information on activating. 1 cup pecans (activated if possible) 1 cup walnuts (activated if possible) 1/2 cup almond meal 1/2 cup shredded coconut 1/2 cup coconut oil 1/2 cup almond butter 1/4 cup honey 1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 1 cup dried cranberries, dried blueberries, raisons or goji (a mix is nice)
Preheat the over to 160C and line a deep baking tray with baking paper. Place all the nuts on the baking tray and roast for 5 minutes until golden, put aside to cool. (If using activated nuts your can omit this step). Transfer nuts to food processor and pulse 4-5 times until coarsely ground. Place nuts in a large bowl, then stir in the almond meal and shredded coconut. Melt the coconut oil and almond butter in a small saucepan over the medium heat. Add the honey, vanilla, sea salt and mix well. Pour the honey mixture over the nut dry mixture, add all the dried fruit and mix until well combined. Spoon this into a prepared tray and smooth out using a palette knife. Refrigerate for 1 -2 hours. Once set you can cut into slices or bars. Store in an airtight container for about 1 week.
Keep Well, and enjoy introducing our favourite tasty and healthy food options into your adventurous active life. Share away with your buddies and we would love to hear what your favourite pre and post ride/yoga/workout fuel is? Tell us all about them by leaving a comment below..:-) The Soulfit Adventures Team.