In the quest to be a peak performer, you need physical exercise, rest, and proper fuel. All three work together to help you in your growth. Here we will focus on Superfoods. These foods will not only nourish your body but your brain as well. We will be looking at a wide variety of foods, from seaweed to special mushrooms. These particular foods may be unfamiliar to you. We will also cover foods that you may already consume but may want to increase your daily consumption.
Planning how and when to eat for peak performance, takes thought, and then consistent action. Avoid using these foods sporadically and then switching back to foods that may adversely affect your ability to perform at peak ability.
Everyone’s situation is different. When superfoods are mentioned, it is possible that the cost of buying superfoods or superfood powders may cross your mind. Remember that many of the foods we discuss and others that exist can be grown in your backyard or in the house all year round. This will cut the cost significantly.
Seaweed – This humble food from the ocean may be one of the foods responsible for helping early man’s brain to develop into what it is today. Seaweed has been shown to improve mental performance, psychological function, and keep the nervous system on track. There are a number of nutrients in seaweed and the top ones you need to be aware of are…iodine iron and magnesium. You need a balanced amount of seaweed in your diet, as too much iodine can cause issues. Dried seaweed makes a wonderful snack and you should consider using it as a replacement for unhealthy snacks. There are a few different types of seaweed that can be eaten on their own. Many people eat sushi containing seaweed called nori. This seaweed contains B12. The B12 vitamin is necessary to help the brain ward off depression, memory loss, or the onset of dementia.
Seaweed for making sushi at home comes in large round packages or you can buy small snacking packages of black seaweed.
Another type of seaweed that comes packaged just like the potato chips people love to eat, is called dulce. This particular seaweed is a lovely shade of red/purple. It also contains B12 plus potassium and calcium.
Coconut Oil – This is primarily used as a backup fuel source for your brain. Studies have shown that the brain fuels itself on the glucose from the food you eat. If there is a shortage of glucose, the rain will look for MCT, which stands for medium-chain triglycerides. It can convert this to ketones in order to run at peak efficiency. As a peak performer, it is imperative to keep fueled properly and this means enough glucose provided in your diet. However, if you fall short there because your attention is elsewhere, then by having coconut oil in your diet, you have a backup. On the plus side, coconut oil has many health benefits, so you are wise to include in your diet at all times.
Avocado – Avocado has really taken off over the last few years and has become, “trendy or hip.” You hear about avocado on hamburgers or avocado toast. While some of the ideas may seem a bit odd, remember that avocado is indeed a superfood. It is used for [popup_product]peak performance[/popup_product] by people in business and sports. Anyone who is in business and needs to perform at the highest level must eat the right foods such as avocado. It has special fats that help the neurons to carry information to different parts of the brain. It also helps with blood flow, which means that every part of the body is getting a good supply, including the brain.
Walnuts – The vote is in and walnuts have won as the best nut to consume for brain health. You hear about Omega fatty acids frequently and they are essential to excellent health. Walnuts have a high amount of an Omega fatty acid called DHA. It has been shown to boost brain performance. Peak performers age just like anyone else and this means you need walnuts to keep your cognitive abilities from declining. Grinding up your walnuts and adding them to steel-cut oatmeal, makes for not only a healthy breakfast but a brain-boosting one as well.
Blueberries – To keep your brain healthy as you age, it is important to reduce oxidative stress in that area. Blueberries are very high in antioxidants, which make them an essential food source. If you are unable to source fresh blueberries, look to dark berries such as raspberry or acai. These dark berries are also heavy in antioxidants. Blueberries can be enjoyed by themselves as a snack to munch on or put them in the blender with other healthy ingredients before you need to power up for [popup_product]peak performance[/popup_product].
Mint – You don’t need a green thumb to grow a little pot of mint at home. This delicious herb goes great in foods or as tea. There are different varieties and many people love chocolate mint. When you pinch the leaves of chocolate mint, you release a wonderful chocolate smell. Mint keeps you alert, helps to increase performance assists the brain in solving problems. Mint can be consumed by chewing a leaf or brewing a cup of tea. Very tasty indeed.
Green Tea – We talked about mint tea and for brain performance, we cannot leave out green tea. One study showed that green tea helped make connections between two parts of the brain. Most people have heard of the frontal cortex in the brain. Another section is referred to as the right superior parietal lobe. When the pathways between these two sections are functioning fully, the ability to work on tasks efficiently goes up. Green tea also helps keep the brain healthy and it is less likely for aging adults to develop dementia for starters. There are many different types of green tea. Go for the matcha green tea right now. This tea is wonderful for improving your focus, memory, and other great benefit…is reaction time. Reaction time is super important in sports, so if you play tennis to stay in peak shape, put down the beer and drink matcha tea.
Pumpkin Seeds – They are a really wonderful snack when toasted. Pumpkin seeds have four minerals that are needed by your brain for superior health. We talked about magnesium and iron previously. With pumpkin seeds, you get the added benefit of zinc and copper. The copper helps to supply energy to the brain. Zinc’s role in all this is to help with connectivity in order for memory and learning ability to be up to par. You can munch on pumpkin seeds or put them in homemade muffins for an awesome breakfast.
Kale – Kale is one of the best green smoothies out there. Combined with honey and green apple, it will quench your thirst and give your brain what it needs. Of course adding it to other greens for a salad is a fantastic idea. There are some very important vitamins in kale, which you may not currently have in your diet. Vitamin K helps your blood to clot when you have an external cut or internal bleeding. There are a number of different types of strokes that can happen. One is called a brain bleed and vitamin K in your diet may ward off the chances of having a stroke.
Vitamin A is an antioxidant and this is needed to ward off the inflammation that may occur in the brain. Good levels of vitamin A in the body will also ward off issues like developing Alzheimer’s. It is early yet, but studies are showing that vitamin A may be able to protect neurons in the brain that could be damaged by the disease ALS.
Kale leaves should be rubbed before consuming. This breaks down the fibers and makes it easier to chew. Chop it and blend it with spinach for a serious brain boost.
Beets – These red vegetables need to be on your dinner table. Scientists have shown that beets are one of the best foods for your brain due to the way it improves connections between neurons. Even more exciting is the idea of drinking a small glass of beet juice per day, especially before workouts. The juice has nitrate which ends up being converted to nitric oxide. The brain needs plenty of oxygen to work properly and nitric oxide helps the oxygen-rich blood to flow to the brain.
Beans – You really need the full spectrum of vitamins for a healthy functioning brain. To get those B Vitamins, incorporate a variety of beans such as, kidney, pinto, lentils or black beans. Eating a source of beans each day is important because they do not stay in the body. Your brain needs the B Vitamins they provide daily and believe it or not, they help build neurotransmitters. Those transmitters are needed to pass information throughout the brain.
Try to buy your dry beans in a bag and soak them overnight before cooking. Canned beans have a lot of sodium in the juice.
Note: If you are a bread lover, you should consider eating Ezekiel bread. This is the healthiest bread available and contains no sugar. It is made from sprouted grains and legumes, such as soybeans and lentils.
Dark Chocolate – The news that dark chocolate is on the list may cause you to break out in dance. Studies have been showing dark chocolate actually has a number of health benefits and people love chocolate. The biggest takeaway from dark chocolate is how it helps to improve your performance on anything requiring memory. That also means it works towards helping with keeping your aging brain healthy. Snap off a piece of dark chocolate and enjoy it for all the right reasons.
Coconut Water – This tasty beverage has amino acids, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. It helps to give you extra energy during [popup_product]peak performance[/popup_product] and stay hydrated. Maintaining hydration while expending energy, is very important during any type of work or athletic situation. It is best used in combination throughout the day with water. Too much coconut water per day means you may end up with too much potassium in your body.
Spinach – This is another great green leafy vegetable that should be in your fridge, next to the kale. Spinach provides the nitrates you need for proper oxygen flow. It is also packed with calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron. [popup_product]Peak performance[/popup_product] requires proper vitamin intake and spinach gives you vitamin C and K. Vitamin K is not talked about as much, but it is needed by the body to maintain healthy bones.
Watermelon – This is one of the “perfect foods,” you need to consume on a regular basis. The water content in watermelon is huge, so that means it will help you rehydrate when you are in performance mode. Don’t stop drinking water though…consuming watermelon is an add-on. Watermelon also gets turned into blood glucose quickly. This is what your body and your brain needs for energy. When you eat for[popup_product] peak performance[/popup_product], you will be having protein and watermelon has B6, which helps to break down and process the protein you have ingested. Remember that kids love watermelon and giving them as much as possible will help them stay hydrated and brain healthy. If possible, grow some in your backyard.
Sardines – Most people do not think of a tin of sardines when it comes to a healthy snack or even to make a super lunch with. Sardines are overlooked as most people see them as inexpensive fish in a can. How wrong they are. Sardines have 9 essential amino acids that your body cannot produce but needs to build healthy muscle. They are also stacked with essential B vitamins. This is super important in assisting your body to convert the food you eat into fuel. We are talking carbs here and when the B vitamins get busy, it helps to create that glucose you need.
Sprouts – These little gems are water-filled and that is great for your hydration. There are a number of different types of sprouts you can eat, from broccoli to mung bean. Take mung bean sprouts as an example to grow in your kitchen. Simply grab a basket, preferably bamboo, and place that on a plate. Layer the bottom of the basket with a damp paper towel. Wash your mung beans and then soak overnight in warm water. Place the mung beans in the basket and put a layer of damp paper towel over them. Over the next few days, just spritz the paper towel with water as the mung beans sprout. Add to your salads and soups for starters.
The mung beans and other things you may want to sprout have a huge amount of nutrients that are essential to your peak health. Once you, “sprout them,” the nutrients begin to skyrocket and multiply.
Chia Seeds- Thirteen is considered to be an unlucky number. This doesn’t hold true for chia seeds. They have a total of 13 vitamins and minerals combined. We have talked about some of these in previous superfoods, so let’s add a few new ones. Many are important for energy levels and also they work together as a team for essential health. Eating chia seeds will give you thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), folate (B9), phosphorus, and finally selenium. Is there any reason why after reading this, you would not add some to your oatmeal today? J
Flaxseed- This seed contains omega 3 fatty acids, lignans, and fiber. In terms of performance, omega 3’s reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can make movement difficult as it affects the joints. Omega 3 has been shown to help with the heart pumping out blood and slowing down the amount of oxygen your muscles use. This is important as the oxygen needs to be properly regulated, as there is a limited supply to the body.
Flaxseed, like chia can be added to just about anything, so there is no reason not to put them in your daily meal plan.
Goji Berries- These are expensive to buy in the store, so remember, you can grow them in your backyard. Start growing some goji, raspberry, and blackberries that you can eat right off the vine.
Goji berries are a very different type of fruit. They are considered a natural vitamin that you can eat right in the backyard. Goji berries have protein and 18 amino acids. All the essential amino acids are there and that is good news because they help to repair your body tissues after exercise. Tissues get broken down and repaired which can make them bigger. This is how those big biceps are built. These tasty little berries which are also known as wolfberries, have vitamins A and C, with a number of very important minerals included.
Banana- If you need energy right away for [popup_product]peak performance[/popup_product], then 1 to 2 bananas should be what you reach for. Early morning performance can be enhanced by eating just bananas on that empty stomach. They get processed super-fast, especially if there are no other foods being digested ahead of them. The natural sugar in that banana will be quickly converted to glucose for energy on tap. They are full of potassium which can help you stave off dehydration. When you need a “pick me up”, after lunch or supper, eat a banana. The manganese contained in a banana will help to quickly break down the food present in the stomach.
Quinoa- There are a number of ancient grains that were grown not only as a food source but as a way to boost the energy of warriors. Quinoa is an excellent food source to add to your diet and it is gluten-free. The protein from quinoa gave the ancient Incas of South America, the boost they need to run long distances. It has most of the essential amino acids that you require and for extra energy, it has magnesium.
Almonds- When you are looking for a healthy snack, you should really consider a handful of almonds. Or you can buy organic almond butter and have it on a rice cracker if that sounds more appetizing. Just limit the amount you eat or you will be ingesting a lot of calories. That is why you need the “handful,” instead of one cup per serving. Almonds have a lot of protein and they have good fats, which are great for your heart. With almonds, you will get vitamin E and a good percentage of calcium. Calcium helps you to build those strong bones to keep you moving.
Sweet Potato- This food is really coming into its own. You now see people making sweet potato fries or eating sweet potatoes at lunch as a very healthy way to drop a few pounds. Your body requires vitamin B6 for healthy nerve function. Along with the B6, you have manganese which boosts your energy production.
Cordyceps Mushrooms- This particular superfood may have surprised you. The Chinese are well known for their herbal medicine and of course acupuncture. The cordyceps mushroom plays a key role in Chinese traditional medicine for reducing fatigue for starters. Studies are being done and the current belief is that this particular mushroom has the ability to up the amount of oxygen that is in the bloodstream. It is used widely in China and Tibet for endurance purposes. The Tibetan Sherpa guides attribute their ability to climb Mount Everest without supplemental oxygen due to prolonged use of this mushroom. Their preferred method to consume it is via a tea that they make.
Conclusion[popup_product]Peak performance[/popup_product] has many different parts, from mindset, physical health and right down to what you fuel yourself with. We covered superfoods that will help you not only with your mindset/brain but your overall physical health.
Print out this post and check off the superfoods you have not been using on a regular basis and then write down where you will source them from. Next, make a note of what you can grow and what supplies you might need.
It is suggested that you also do some reading about hydration and how to stay properly hydrated. There are some that believe the idea that pain is our bodies cry for water. It is also very helpful for your performance if you use the “right spices.” Perhaps you grew up in a household where turmeric, cayenne pepper, and real cinnamon were not used at all. It is time to broaden your food base in order to feed your brain for[popup_product] peak performance.[/popup_product]