There are so many superfoods around these days that you’d be forgiven if you’re finding it hard to know which to pay attention to. It’s important to do everything you can to ensure overall wellbeing, and generally following a healthy, balanced diet - that means lots of leafy greens and veg, avoiding refined sugar and steering clear of processed foods - can get you far.
If you like to stay active, then honing in on your nutrition is that bit more important. What you put in your body has an effect on how fast you recover, how strong you feel in a session and how much energy you’re able to offer a workout.
Try these superfoods with specific benefits that will boost your workout. Don’t know where to start? Come see us at the Energy Kitchen after your next Psycle class.
This root vegetable can usually be found in powder form and is the perfect addition to smoothies, baking and health shots if a quick pick-me-up to smash your workouts is what you’re looking for.
Packed full of nutrients, it’s the B vitamins, iron content and antioxidants that can really help you work out harder - and for longer! If you’re a woman who really feels drained every time your period comes around, this could also help to energise you until you get back feeling to your usual self.
Try it: added to a protein smoothie after a tough morning workout to reinvigorate you for the day ahead.
Greens powders are nothing new in health circles, but this blue-green algae is having somewhat of a renaissance, perhaps partly due to the rise in popularity of plant-based eating.
Spirulina might have an acquired taste (if you can have it straight-up, we salute you!) but added to smoothies, it’s easy to ingest and the health benefits you’ll reap make it more than worthwhile. Incredibly nutrient-dense, this green powder is high in omega-3 fatty acids, iron and calcium along with many other micronutrients.
Its popularity among plant-based foodies is down to the fact that it contains a super high protein content for a plant, and boasts all nine essential amino acids. This makes it especially useful after workouts to assist with repair, recovery and lean muscle mass growth (ideal for a healthy metabolism!).
Try it: to turn your post-workout smoothies bright green after a hard session. Your body will thank you!
If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ll be happy to hear that cacao (the beans that cocoa comes from) is a serious source of antioxidants - in fact, one of the richest sources naturally available. It usually comes in powder form or as ‘nibs’, both useful in baking.
Cacao’s magnesium content also makes it a helpful superfood for people who work out regularly, as this mineral is necessary to assist with muscle contraction - and also happens to be one that many people are deficient in.
Cacao also contains caffeine and theobromine, two stimulants that can offer quite the pick-me-up, making it a common choice instead of coffee to kickstart the mornings.
Try it: in your breakfast porridge or smoothie bowl for a caffeine hit that’ll perk you right up - and boost overall health, too.
4 Bee pollen
This one may take a while for some people to welcome on board their diet, but bee pollen is a nutritional powerhouse that packs a punch and shouldn’t be overlooked.
It contains a high level of free amino acids, which can help with recovery from exercise, and B-complex, essential for creating energy within the body. It’s perhaps because of these particular nutrients that bee pollen has been shown by British Sports Council records to improve physical performance - specifically strength and stamina. We’ll take that!
Try it: sprinkled on your breakfast or in your home baking for an added dose of serious health benefits.
Turmeric root has been recently lauded for its benefits to the immune system. For this reason, you might’ve recently seen it as an ingredient in health shots, herbal teas and immunity-focused supplements. Commonly found in ground powder form, turmeric has become a firm favourite when it comes to the warding off colds and illnesses and is especially popular due to its versatility.
It’s actually curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, that gives turmeric its superpowers. Curcumin is a natural, powerful anti-inflammatory that boosts antioxidants in the body, in turn helping to keep free radical damage to a minimum. Since free radicals are created whenever we push ourselves through a tough workout, upping our intake of antioxidant-rich superfoods like turmeric helps to combat this, allowing us to really reap the benefits of our hard work.
Try it: in herbal tea with lemon and ginger or added to curries, stews and soups for a quick and simple health boost.