5 Natural Performance Foods That Put Synthetic Stuff to Shame

5 Natural Performance Foods That Put Synthetic Stuff to Shame

Think you need supplements to improve your performance? Think again. Nature has everything you need to run faster, bike longer, climb stronger, and be more productive every day. There is nothing in protein powder or vitamin cocktails that you can’t get in a better form in food. In fact, it’s proven that you absorb nutrients better in food. This is because foods don’t just contain one isolated vitamin or mineral, but many. This mixture of nutrients, along with things like fat and fiber, helps your body absorb those nutrients far more efficiently. 

Vitamin supplements tend to isolate a small number of nutrients, and don’t have fibre or fat to optimise the absorption. There is also very little scientific evidence that supplements improve your health. The experts at Harvard say that you’re better off improving your diet if you want to improve your health and only take supplements if you have a serious vitamin deficiency. This is good news because supplements are crazy expensive! I probably saved you hundreds of dollars just then.

Much worse than supplements, there is a trend of leaning on drugs to gain a superhuman edge. This is a recipe for disaster of course. Drugs like Adderall and Modafinil can take you from average Jane to Wonderwoman overnight. Users report laser-like focus, massive amounts of energy, exponential productivity, and reduced need for sleep and food. Too good to be true? It is. Your body is designed to handle small amounts of stress in response to a real threat. This is a natural survival mechanism. Drugs artificially trigger that survival mechanism by stimulating your central nervous system when there is no threat present. 

You can improve performance naturally with simple everyday foods

The problem is, your body is not designed to be in that state long-term with no recovery period. You are putting yourself into permanent overdrive and that will have very damaging long-term effects on your body. More importantly, these drugs are both chemically and emotionally addictive, and very hard to stop using. You may have to go through some type of rehab programme if things go far enough.

You don’t need expensive supplements to improve your health. You also don’t need to put yourself at risk of lifelong drug addiction just to get the energy kick you want. You can get all of that naturally from simple foods without the cost and danger to your health. So ditch the pills and check out these 5 natural foods that put the synthetic stuff to shame:

Eggs

Eggs are a natural superfood that improve performance

I have eggs for breakfast every morning because I believe they are a true superfood. They contain just about every nutrient your body needs to function healthily. The thing I love most about eggs is the quality protein you get from them. Protein helps stave off excess hunger, builds muscle, increases focus and provides vital amino acids. One egg contains about 7 grams of protein. An adult needs about 45 – 55 grams of protein per day and eggs provide a good dose.

Key nutrients in eggs:
  • Vitamin A: 6% RDI
  • Folate: 5% RDI
  • Vitamin B5: 7% RDI
  • Vitamin B12: 9% RDI
  • Vitamin B2: 15% RDI
  • Phosphorus: 9% RDI
  • Selenium: 22% RDI
  • Good amounts of vitamin D, E, K, B6, calcium and zinc

Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate a natural superfood that enhances performance

I used to see chocolate as a naughty treat. Boy was I delighted to discover that it’s also an antioxidant superfood. Don’t get too excited though. I’m not talking about milk chocolate truffles filled with cherry cream. That definitely falls into the naughty treat category. I’m talking about dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%. The cocoa is the good stuff. A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate provides surprisingly high amounts of vitamins and minerals, including almost 100% of your daily manganese requirement. It also stimulates the brain and helps with focus, so you can be more productive at work or more honed in on your goals during training. Here is what a 100g bar of dark chocolate has to offer:

Key nutrients in dark chocolate:
  • 11 grams of fibre
  • Iron: 67% RDI
  • Magnesium: 58% RDI
  • Copper: 89% RDI
  • Manganese: 98% RDI
  • Good amounts of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium

Salmon

Salmon is a natural superfood that improves performance

Salmon is the king of fish. It’s so delicious and decadent. It doesn’t seem possible that it’s also really good for you. Salmon really shines in the omega-3 fatty acid department. A 100 gram serving of salmon has 200 – 260 milligrams of omega-3. The recommended daily intake is 250 – 300 milligrams, so a 100-gram serving of salmon has almost your full daily intake of omega-3s. 

Why do you need omega-3s anyway? They improve brain health and focus, lower blood pressure and decrease inflammation in the body. Salmon is also high in protein, which is essential for repairing and building muscles after training, as well as keeping your cells functioning at their peak.

Kidney Beans

Kidney beans are a natural superfood that enhance performance

The humble kidney bean is wonderful for the body and the wallet. It has a generous amount of plant-based protein for muscle repair. It also has the dream combination of fibre and carbs. This fibre-carb dream team provides slow-release energy that fuels long endurance workouts. They are the perfect food to load up on before a big race or multi-day hike. Whip up vegetarian chilli or nachos the night before a big race as part of your carb-loading programme. 

Key nutrients in kidney beans:
  • Protein: 13.4 grams
  • Fibre: 13.6 grams
  • Folate: 23% RDI
  • Manganese: 22% RDI
  • Thiamine: 20% RDI
  • Copper: 17% RDI
  • Iron: 17% RDI

Avocado

Avocado is a superfood that enhances performance naturally

Aren’t we lucky that the outrageously delicious avocado is also a performance-enhancing superfood? Avocados are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. It’s also well known that they are a great source of potassium. 

I also think it should be shouted from the rooftops that avocados are one of the highest food sources of magnesium. An average avocado has 58mg of magnesium which 15% of your daily intake. Decent amounts of magnesium in foods are hard to find, and it can be a challenge to meet the recommended daily intake, so good sources of the mineral are worth knowing about. 

Why is magnesium significant for performance? It plays a major role in muscle repair and function. Magnesium is a calcium blocker, and calcium is what generates contractions in your muscles. The right amount of magnesium in your body will block the right amount of calcium and allow your muscles to relax and release after your workout. This improves muscle recovery and helps make the muscles responsive to release when you are stretching or getting a massage.

Magnesium can also be used to prevent muscle cramps. Nothing will kill your performance more imminently than sudden cramping, so make sure you are getting Magnesium in your diet from excellent sources like avocado. Here are the other wonderful vitamins and minerals that the creamy dreamy avocados provide:

Key nutrients in avocado:
  • Magnesium: 15% of RDI
  • Vitamin K: 26% of the daily value (DV)
  • Folate: 20% of the DV
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the DV
  • Potassium: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B5: 14% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 13% of the DV
  • Vitamin E: 10% of the DV

Just a happy side note, dark chocolate is also an excellent source of magnesium. A 100gram serving provides 58% of your RDI. Oh yeah 😋

There you have it! 5 natural foods that put synthetic performance enhancers to shame. There are plenty of other foods that can provide everything you need for top performance without any supplements or artificial enhancements. Most of them are normal everyday foods that are cheap and easily accessible. Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet comprised mainly of vegetables, and you will see your performance skyrocket naturally.

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