5 Foods That Enhance Sports Performance

Foods Sports Performance

Nutritional Support for Sports Performance

Are you looking for a dietary aid to help kick your athletic power up a notch? Don’t settle for refined commercial products when you can reap equal benefits from natural, clean label foods. These five options offer a deliciously nutritious way to enhance your sports performance or recovery.

5 Foods That  Enhance Sports Performance

1. Raisins

Raisins are nature’s alternative to commercial energy chews and sports gels. For long athletic events or endurance races, chewing a handful of raisins mid-way can help sustain your energy levels and replenish glycogen stores. Raisins supply 33 g of carbohydrates and 123 calories per ¼ cup and are a concentrated source of iron and potassium.[1]

2. Coconut Water

Coconut water offers an additive-free way to stay hydrated without settling for sports drinks. With 600 mg potassium, 252 mg sodium, 60 mg magnesium, and 58 mg calcium per cup, coconut water can help replenish some of the electrolytes you lose through sweat, and reduce temporary muscle cramps in healthy adults due to exercise.[1]

3. Beet Juice

A study published in the 2012 issue of International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that cyclists who drank 500 ml of beet juice per day for six days improved their performance by 1.2 % in a 10 km time trial.[2] Although this dose of juice is too extreme for most people, you can certainly benefit from droppin’ a few beets into your diet.

4. Milk

The balance of carbohydrates and protein in milk make it an excellent post-sport recovery drink to help rebuild your muscle energy stores. With 314 mg of calcium per cup, milk can also help you replenish the calcium lost through sweat.[1] To boost the taste and protein of milk, add a scoop of Dark Chocolate PGX® Satisfast Whey Protein.

5. Cherries

After a long session of high impact exercise, loading up on the anti-inflammatory polyphenols found in cherries may help you to recover more quickly from joint pain due to over exercising. Cherries are also a natural source of melatonin, which supports a good quality sleep – and sleep is a key factor in physical recovery.

Tell us which foods help you reach your athletic goals in the comments section below.


[1] USDA. “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27.” Agricultural Research Service. Web. 1 May 2015.

[2] Cermak, N., Martin Gibala and Luc van Loon. “Nitrate Supplementation’s Improvement of 10-Km Time-Trial Performance in Trained Cyclists.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 22.1 (2012). Web. 1 May 2015.

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How Daily Meditation Supports Body and Mind


How Daily Meditation Supports Body and Mind

For long-term practitioners of meditation, it’s pretty much a given that daily practice benefits both mind and body. Simply making time to meditate can significantly improve our ability to handle stress and cope with the pace of modern life.

Meditation is a great way to learn how to quiet anxious thoughts and create a sense of safety and empowerment that allow us to feel safe and positive when reflecting on past hurts. By practicing meditation regularly, we are better equipped to figure out how to move forward with peace and contentment. Experienced meditators have long recognized the practice of regular meditation as a great way to shield ourselves, to some extent, from the physiological impact of stress.

But how does meditation actually affect the body? Can learning to control our thoughts help to enhance our overall health?

The Benefits of Meditation

For many years the precise physiological effects of meditation have remained relatively elusive, largely because it’s difficult to monitor blood pressure, brain activity, and other factors without being obtrusive to the actual practice of meditation.

Now, thanks to new wireless technology, researchers in California have at last begun to describe the effects of meditation on mind and body, with the publication of a study in the “Journal Frontiers of Human Neuroscience” generating plenty of interest among long-term practitioners of the meditative arts.

The scientists behind this study devised discreet ways to detect the effects of meditation on the autonomic nervous system, the major mediator between mind and body. They recruited 20 experienced meditators, and 20 novices at a week-long wellness retreat and used non-invasive devices to collect data on heart-rate and brain activity during meditation and at rest.

Meditation and Cardiovascular Health

The majority of the volunteers in the California study had small, but significant decreases in blood pressure associated with meditation, despite most having normal baseline blood pressure. The effects of meditation on blood pressure were most pronounced in novices, with an average 3 mmHg decrease; experienced meditators had an average 2 mmHg decrease.

Earlier studies have also shown that practicing transcendental meditation regularly over the longer term can have significant benefits for maintaining healthy blood pressure already with the normal range (Brook et al., 2013), but this is the first time a study has successfully captured the immediate effects of meditation.

The Brain, Pain, and Meditation

The research in California also showed that even on their first day at the retreat novice meditators had significant changes in brain activity during meditation. Both novice and experienced meditators had significant changes in brainwave patterns, with the greatest effects seen in experienced meditators. Novice meditators had noticeable changes in brain activity between their first session at the retreat and their last session.

In one recent review, scientists concluded that meditation can help inhibit or relieve pain perception (Nakata et al., 2014). . Meditation is thought to modulate activity in areas of the brain associated with the perception of pain, including the anterior cingulate cortex, insula, secondary somatosensory cortex, and thalamus.

There is evidence of an association between long-term practice of meditation and anatomical changes in the brain that could influence the perception of pain.

Yoga’s Benefits for Mood Support

Meditation and yoga often go hand in hand, and scientists have recently reported significant psychological benefits of hot yoga (Bikram; a heated form of Hatha yoga). In this study, women who engaged in two 90 minute Bikram yoga sessions each week had greater decreases in anxiety and stress, scores compared to women assigned to a control group.

The California study involved 52 women, aged 25-42, who had slight elevations in anxiety, occasional depression, and high stress scores on a range of tests. None of the women had done any yoga or similar mind-body exercise over the 12 months prior to the study.

Interestingly, the most significant effects were seen in the 11 African American women in the study. Although the study group was small, this does suggest that yoga may be especially beneficial for African American women, where stress tend to be higher than in white women, and where access to and use of mental health resources is often poorer.

So, if you’re affected by stress and anxiety or are living with occasional pain, why not talk to your health care practitioner about the benefits of meditation and yoga?


Nakata, H., Sakamoto, K., Kakigi, R. (2014). Meditation reduces pain-related neural activity in the anterior cingulate cortex, insula, secondary somatosensory cortex, and thalamus. Front Psychol, Dec 16;5:1489.

Steinhubl, S. R., Wineinger, N. E., Patel, S., Boeldt, D. L., Mackellar, G., Porter, V., Redmond, J. T., Muse, E. D., Nicholson, L., Chopra, D., Topol, E. J. (2015). Cardiovascular and nervous system changes during meditation. Front Hum Neurosci. 2015 Mar 18;9:145.

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3 Healthy Ways to Spruce up Your Water


3 Healthy Ways to Spruce up Your Water

Do you enjoy drinking water, or do you find it boring? Although water is a key player in your overall health and energy, it’s easy to find yourself reaching for juice, pop, or sports drinks to quench your thirst instead. Everyone has different needs for daily water intake depending on where one lives, activity level, health status and age. To rekindle your love for water, add some flavor using fresh herbs, fruits, and vegetables.

Refresh and Revitalize Your Water

Here are three healthy and refreshing ways to revitalize your water this spring:

1. Cucumber Mint

This cleansing combination will make you feel fresh out of the spa. Drop 5 slices of washed cucumber into 6 cups of water, then crumple a handful of fresh mint leaves and mix them in. Stir, chill for about 30 minutes, add ice, and enjoy.

2. Lemon, Orange and Ginger

A detoxifying medley of citrus and ginger to keep your breath fresh and body hydrated. Grate 2 tablespoons of fresh, peeled ginger root into 6 cups of water, then add half an orange and a quarter lemon sliced into rings. Stir, chill for about 30 minutes, add ice, and enjoy.

3. Strawberry, Beet and Lime

This adventurous mix creates a purple-red hue that’s hard to pass up. Add two slices of peeled raw beet and half a cup of sliced ripe strawberries to 6 cups of water. Squeeze in the juice from two lime wedges then drop the wedges in. Stir, chill for about 30 minutes, add ice, and enjoy.

Remember to always drink an additional water (8 fl. oz.) after ingesting PGX®.

What do you like to add to your water? Let us know in the comments section below.


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