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6 Best Foods to Fuel Your Body

Polly Pitchford - Friday, February 15, 2013

It's February you know.  Are you still setting that alarm an hour early to get in that morning workout before heading to work?  Good for you!!  That means a healthy habit is strongly in place, YAY!  Now in order to enhance this wonderful routine you're in, you need to fuel your body pre and post workout for best energy and recovery. I'm offering 6 natural foods from the plant kingdom that you've got to try...and, of course, the reasons why.

1.  Beets - New studies show that nitrates in these root vegetables help your blood vessels dilate, increasing oxygen delivery to working muscles. How to:  Shred raw on a salad; boil in its skin until fork tender, peel and quarter; trim, peel and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil and a grind of black pepper and roast at 400 degrees for @ 30 minutes.

2.  Apples -  Recent data suggests that quercetin, a potent antioxidant, can improve exercise endurance.  How to:  Chomp chomp; grate in your morning oatmeal, chop coarsely and add to a pan with a little water and cinnamon = applesauce!

3.  Sweet Potato - Its high carbohydarate content make the sweet potato a natural energy provider for long-lasting workouts.  My favorite how to: bake till soft, peel and mash with a little almond butter and a splash of real maple syrup.  Delish!!

4.  Quinoa - This Ancient Peruvian grain is chock-full of energizing complex carbohydrates and magnesium, an essential mineral known for evergy metabolism.  How to: 2 cups water, 1 cup quinoa - bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Use it as you would any rice.

5.  Yogurt - With its perfect balance of protein and carbs, yogurt is fantastic fuel for post-workout recovery.  Choose plain Greek-style versions for more protein and no processed sugars.  How to:  insert spoon in yogurt, insert spoon in mouth.  

6.  Lentils - This humble bean is packed with iron which research has found to be essential to athletic performance.  How to:  Boil in plenty of water for 30 minutes.  Drain, use in soups, on salads, add chopped fresh veggies and a vinaigrette for a cold bean salad.

There you have it!  Six power packed foods that not only enhance your athletic performance and recovery, but add to your overall health and energy on any other day.  As with all of my suggestions, start small and just add one a week until it's routine and comfortable.  Then try another, and another until your menu plan includes these fab foods within a week's time.  Now write that new grocery list!

From your motivational speaker who smells that the sweet potatoes are almost done.  Gotta go!

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