Priming Your Pump with Proper Nutrition
Fueling your body properly is a two-step process. It’s important to eat the right things, but it also makes a difference to eat at the right time. Men’s Health recently featured “A Day of Perfect Eating” on its website. Here are some of the tips given to help you perform to your prime:
- Start your day with a protein-heavy breakfast within an hour of waking up. This revs your metabolism and will help keep you feeling full. Eggs are a great choice; protein fragments contained therein may curb blood pressure from rising.
- If you’re feeling stressed out, set down your coffee cup and reach for a pack of gum. Chewing has been shown to reduce stress levels, possibly due to the motion’s positive association with mealtimes.
- Focus need a boost? Have a mug of peppermint tea. Periodic whiffs of peppermint have been shown to improve concentration and performance on tasks requiring sustained attention.
- Power your system with a lunch of salmon (or trout or halibut - these fish help keep you alert), blueberries (a great antioxidant), steak (the B-12 helps fight age-related brain shrinkage), garlic (which ups your brain’s serotonin and improves memory), or Brazil nuts (which has selenium that preserves cognitive functioning).
- Turn up the heat to combat a headache. Capsaicin, which is what gives chilies their heat, can deplete the neurons that trigger headaches, but not by consumption. Instead, add a little cayenne powder to warm water and let it settle to the bottom. Then dip a swab of the solution inside your nostril on the side of the pain. It might burn a bit but is worth a try.
- Keep your immune system strong with ginseng pills and foods rich in vitamin C. Canadian researchers found that people who took 400 mg of ginseng extract each day had 56 percent fewer recurring colds than their placebo-popping counterparts. Vitamin C’s been known to shorten the duration of symptoms when fighting a bug. Kiwis, oranges, and red bell peppers are great Vitamin C food options.
- Need a quick snack before the gym? Eat half an apple and a shot of espresso for fast energy. According to Australian researchers, caffeine paired with carbohydrates boosts the rate at which the body replenishes its glycogen stores post-workout, compared with carbs alone.
- Having a tough time falling asleep at the end of a long day? Drink some cherry juice. Carbohydrates can help boost your brain’s production of serotonin, helping you sleep deeply and well.