Top 10 Plant-Based Foods For Peak Performance & High Energy
Constantly improving your athletic performance is tough, and it means ensuring everything you do, eat, and think plays a part.
It’s not enough to simply have a well-balanced diet, you should be eating specific top whole foods for peak performance and high-intensity exercise that can give you extra energy and stamina for the exceptional results you desire.
Some of these foods might surprise you, but they’re all part of a healthy, plant-based diet, so if you’re committed to eating well in general, you may well be consuming them already—but maybe not enough.
Keep reading to find out the top foods for peak performance and high energy to support your healthy, vital, active life.
Aside from being chock full of antioxidants, berries can actually help you perform better. The darker the berry, the more it has phytochemicals and protective elements that help your body defend against oxidative stress that comes from intense physical activity. The high antioxidants in berries also help your body recover faster, so you can get back to training earlier.
Try our convenient BERRY Raw Juice Powder before a workout for a refreshing drink that also works wonders on your muscles. Just mix a couple of tablespoons in a glass with cold water and you're good to go!
Bananas are delicious and the perfect on-the-go healthy snack, but they also bring you essential, natural electrolytes that are depleted after working out, making them one of the best top foods for high performance. They provide a great, low-calorie nutritional boost that’s much superior to drinking a sports drink, with more benefits. The potassium, antioxidants, fibre, and Vitamin B6 are all beneficial before, during, or after physical activity, so peel away!
3. Chia Seeds
Small but mighty, chia seeds are an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids, which help prevent inflammation to reduce soreness from exercise and works to prevent heart disease and support heart health (not even top athletes are immune from heart disease, after all). In fact, gram for gram, chia seeds contain more omega-3 than salmon, making them an uncontested heavyweight of power foods. Chia seeds are incredibly easy to incorporate into your diet. Add some to your recovery smoothie to support optimal muscle regeneration, or sprinkle some over your salad or add a dash to soup. The possibilities are almost endless.
Learn more in 5 Amazing Benefits of Chia Seeds.
Raw nuts (and/or those that have been slightly salted with a good nature-made salt) are perfect for athletes looking to fuel their performance. They have plenty of plant-based protein to rebuild muscles and are high in healthy fats, which your body actually needs.
Macadamias, Brazil Nuts and Walnuts are renowned for their performance-fuelling powers - and their ability to curb hunger whilst delivering vital pre or post workout nourishment to your cells.
Nuts also come with magnesium, calcium, and iron, all of which an athlete needs to maintain good health and a strong body. They make a great pre or post-workout snack, giving you a boost of energy that burns off slowly instead of crashing.
Try Cornucopia Epicurean Snack for a delicious and healthy mix of raw nuts with corn that you can throw in your gym bag.
Learn more in Go Nuts For Nuts!
This juicy fruit is spectacular at reducing inflammation, which can be a huge problem for athletes. Cherries can reduce the swelling and pain that comes from working your muscles hard, to make recovery smoother and help you get back to your routine faster. Cherry juice can also help increase melatonin levels, so drinking it before bed may help you get an easier, deeper sleep to help boost overnight muscle recovery and keep yourself alert the next day.
Our Cherry Coco Pulse Sacred Meal can be a great breakfast, snack through the day, or consumed before or after a workout to keep you energised.
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is quickly gaining popularity for everyday use, similar to that of extra virgin olive oil, thanks to its many health benefits, delightful taste and versatility.
Raw coconut oil is packed with long and medium chain fatty acids, which are beneficial for sustained energy, satiating the appetite the body and protecting the body from bacterial and viral overwhelm.
Coconut oil is ideal for frying and baking due to its extremely high heat point, which means that it doesn't go rancid when under heat stress like many other oils do, causing chaos in the body.
Versatile, it can be used in so many ways, but very easily a tablespoon added to a a fruit smoothie for a satisfying, easily digestible meal that won't weigh you down.
Try MCT Coconut Oil for a burst of quick, clean sustainable fuel, as since the long chain triglycerides have been removed, it basically by-passes the liver and stomach, entering the blood stream to be used immediately as fuel (without causing you to crash and burn like athletic gels, drinks and sugar products can).
Learn more in What's The Difference Between MCT Oil & Coconut Oil?
Oatmeal is one of the classic top foods for high performance—and it’s definitely not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s a fantastic source of energy and carbs, to give you what you need to ace that workout, and it’s packed with fibre so that you’re not hungry again in just an hour. Steel cut oats have a lower glycaemic index, so your blood sugar won’t spike, and they’re whole grain which is good for your heart health. Plus, it’s a delicious health food that doesn’t feel like health food!
Learn more in How to Curb Constant Hunger.
8. Apple Cider Vinegar
Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar is pretty much a miracle worker, from boosting energy to fighting bacteria.
Drinking apple cider vinegar might be tricky for most people at first, but it’s well worth the effort. The benefits are endless for general health, but for athletes it can help regulate the body’s pH levels to avoid cramping, stabilize blood sugar levels so you don’t crash partway through a long workout, promotes gut health so that you’re distraction-free, and it even stimulates the cardiovascular system so you don’t feel sluggish or lethargic when you need to be at the top of your game.
It’s easy enough to drink a spoonful or two of apple cider vinegar a day, but you can also add it to tons of recipes if you’re not a fan of the taste.
We use and recommend Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar for an organic, raw product that can enhance your athletic abilities.
Learn more in The Self Care Powers Of Apple Cider Vinegar
Ginger is quickly gaining notice in the athletic community, and it’s not surprising. We’ll all used ginger to soothe stomach aches, fight nausea, or simply for the interesting, unique taste.
Ginger can be quite beneficial to athletes by providing an immunity boost (so that you’re not at the mercy of your immune system before an important event), helping with digestion, and providing anti-inflammatory and anti-pain benefits. These Gin Gins Original Ginger Chews make for a delicious, healthy snack and give you all the above benefits of ginger in a convenient candy form.
Learn more in Immune System: Top Immunity Boosting Foods
10. Dark Chocolate
Surprised to see chocolate on a food list for athletes? Dark chocolate has long been touted for its cardiovascular benefits, but it can also give you the edge you need to take your fitness to the next level.
Dark chocolate increases nitric oxide in the body, which dilates blood vessels and reduces oxygen consumption so that you can do more for longer. That’s not too say you should overindulge (everything in moderation!), but a few squares of dark chocolate before a workout can give you a nice energy boost and show an improvement in your performance.
Pana Chocolate is totally plant-based and dairy-free, made of raw, organic handmade dark chocolate and agave nectar for a rich, smooth taste that feels like an indulgence.
Learn more in Chocolate: Powerful Healing Food Or Poison?
Now you’re armed with the top foods for high performance, based on cutting-edge research and findings from doctors and high-performing athletes. From fruits to nuts, oils to vinegars, a smart balance of these foods will put you over and above your competitors, and they’re incredibly easy to incorporate into your everyday routine. With these simple additions, you’ll see a noticeable improvement and be able to enjoy next-level results from your training.
Tolman Self Care.