Doctor's orders: performance prescriptions
When it comes to athletic performance, hard work and determination are the main factors, but hard work depends on recovery and determination depends on mental fortitude.
We now know that foods can directly affect athletic performance, especially those high in nitrates, which contribute to better relaxation of the muscles in the blood vessel walls, and improved blood flow to the muscles that need it. Nitrate rich foods eaten before exertion have been shown to decrease oxygen cost and increase time to exhaustion, two super valuable components of athletic performance. The plant-based diet is also associated with lower baseline heart rate, which is a marker of cardiovascular health. Green leafy vegetables and beets are nitrate power houses, capable of taking your performance to the next level, by helping you push harder for longer.
We also know that exercise is a highly inflammatory activity. Burning oxygen as fuel produces oxygen free radicals that are highly inflammatory. Foods rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory power are a must for accelerated recovery. Cue plants that have on average 64 times the antioxidant power than all animal foods. Cue spices that pack the most potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory punch. The spices ginger, cinnamon and turmeric have all been found to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness, getting athletes back to training faster than their carnivorous counterparts.