Improving your diet is a great aspiration but how to make it a success? We’ve made it super easy for you with our Supercharged Ten. Learn all about the benefits of a plant-based diet and its health-boosting benefits.
The list contains foods that form the basis of a super-nutritious plant-based diet – full of healthy proteins, complex carbohydrates, low in harmful fats, crammed with damage-limiting antioxidants and other health-boosting phytochemicals (1, 2, 3, 4).
Eating these foods in the recommended quantities will help you increase your stamina, energy levels, aerobic capacity, muscle oxygenation and performance (5, 6, 7, 8, 9). ow thanks to the Supercharged Ten, you will also recover faster, strengthen your immune system and may experience less achiness post-training (8, 10, 11).
We’re leaving outdated food systems like the pyramid or Atkins behind and focusing instead on nutrient-rich food groups, which – as science and experience shows – make us thrive and nourish our bodies in the best possible way. The Supercharged Ten is carefully designed to provide all the nutrients you need on a daily basis in sufficient quantities so by following the checklist, you won’t have to worry about omega-3 quantities, vitamins or minerals. Our Skill Yoga Supercharged Ten gives you a solid structure to work with, tips on how to incorporate the foods in your diet and ensures an adequate nutrient intake. The time to switch to a plant-based diet is now!
Building a new habit can be challenging but with our help, you can start right now and supercharge your diet in no time. If you make these ten foods a part of your daily routine, they will help you achieve optimal health, peak performance, and enhanced well-being. Tailor-made for Skill Yoga Athletes!
Why? Packed with antioxidants protecting your health and speeding up recovery
How much? 1 serving a day; 1 = 0.5-1 cup of fresh or frozen (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blackcurrants)
Berries have the highest antioxidant content among all fruits. Some of their most powerful antioxidants are called phenols – they protect your DNA from damage, have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, help lower your blood pressure and cholesterol, and have been shown to offer some protection against cancer, diabetes, arthritis, and neurodegenerative diseases. And as a bonus, they help you recover faster!
A handful of fresh or thawed berries is a good amount to throw in your morning cereal, smoothie, plant yogurt, on pancakes or a slice of bread with nut butter. If you’re travelling, grab a pack of freeze dried berries to boost your diet.
2. Nuts and Seeds
Why? Great source of healthy fats, protein, B vitamins and minerals
How much? 1+ serving a day; 1 = 30g (small handful) or 2tbsp nut butter (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, peanuts, sesame and pumpkin seeds) – if you’re very active, have 2 servings
Nuts and seeds are not only an excellent source of good fats, protein and fibre, they are also great for your heart. Regular nut consumption helps to improve the lipid (fat) levels and ratios in your blood, decreasing your risk of heart disease and keeping your blood vessels in good shape. Nuts also provide some important vitamins (E, K, and many B vitamins) and vital minerals (calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc).
A small handful is enough and it’s best to aim for variety – almonds are great for calcium, Brazil nuts for selenium, cashews for magnesium and iron, walnuts for omega-3 fats, pistachios for extra antioxidants and pecans for manganese.
Why? The best source of healthy, energy-giving complex carbs but also protein!
How much? 2+ servings a day; 1 = 1 cup of grains or 2 slices of bread (muesli, oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, buckwheat, wholegrain bread, and wraps) – if you’re very active, have 3-5 servings
Whole grains are a must! They are a super-healthy source of complex carbs that keep you going but won’t make you gain fat. Making them a part of your diet will also increase your protein and fiber intake, and will add some vitamins and minerals too.
Whole grains help to keep your blood sugar steady, giving you long-lasting energy, regulate cholesterol levels and encourage beneficial bacteria in your guts, supporting your immune system.
Why? Perfect protein package with healthy carbs and essential minerals
How much? 2+ servings a day; 1 = 1 cup of beans or 100g of product (beans, lentils, chickpeas, peas, edamame/soy, tofu, hummus, plant-based burgers and sausages) – if you’re very active, have 3-4 servings
These little wonders pack a lot of protein, some complex carbs, fiber and a good portion of important minerals. You can add beans, lentils or chickpeas to almost any savory dish (chilli, curry, casserole, salads, risottos, pasta), plant-based meat alternatives easily replace the meaty versions, and hummus or bean dip is excellent as a mid-afternoon snack. Marinated tofu is great in stir-fries and who doesn’t like pea soup?
5. Omega-3 seeds
Why? Essential omega-3 fats that our bodies cannot make
How much? 1 serving a day; 1 = 2 tbsp (ground flaxseed, shelled hempseed, chia seeds)
Omega-3 fats are vital for our health. They are polyunsaturated fats that we only need in small amounts but it’s crucial that we eat some every day. It’s easy to build these omega-3 seeds into your regime – add them to your breakfast, soup or savoury dish (only after it’s been cooked because they are heat-sensitive) or blend them into a smoothie.
6. Dark green leafy vegetables
Why? Full of antioxidants, health-protective phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals
How much? 1 serving a day; 1 = 1 cup packed (broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, mixed salad leaves)
These bad boys give you an ultra-healthy edge – not just because they are bursting with nutrients but their antioxidants and phytochemicals also help protect your tissues from damage, and supercharge your immune system. Some studies show that they may be ultra-potent in fighting cancer cells too!
7. Fresh fruit
Why? Healthy carbs for sustained energy together with antioxidants and vitamins
How much? 3+ servings a day; 1 = 1 medium piece or 1 cup equivalent (apple, pear, orange, clementine, banana, grapefruit, mango, kiwi, pineapple, grapes) – if you’re very active, have 4-5 servings
Fruit is one of the most natural foods for us and we cannot thrive without it. Bursting with vitamins, healthy carbs for energy and water for hydration, fruit is the perfect snack, meal or smoothie ingredient, or dessert. No need to worry about sugar in fruit (fructose), it’s absorbed slower, doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes and together with fiber provides a healthy carb bundle.
It’s important to either eat fresh whole fruit or make/buy fresh smoothies from it – store-bought fruit drinks in cartons only have a fraction of fruit’s nutritional value and tend to be high in sugar so stay away from those!
8. Brightly colored vegetables
Why? Full of health-shielding and recovery-aiding compounds such as carotenoids, anthocyanins and other antioxidants
How much? 2+ servings a day; 1= 1 medium piece or 1 cup (sweet pepper, tomato, carrot, purple cabbage, sweet potato, green beans, pumpkin/squash, asparagus, red onion, eggplant, radishes) – if you’re very active, have 3 servings
The recommendation to eat a rainbow is not some random hippie nonsense. It’s based on science – brightly coloured vegetables contain plant pigments that, aside from being pretty, have powerful health-protecting properties. The pigments, such as carotenoids, anthocyanins, lycopene, and chlorophyll, protect your muscles and other tissues from damage, help them repair faster, protect your blood vessels, skin and vision. Quickly filling up on these nutrients is so achievable with a plant based diet.
Why? Vitamins B12 and D tend to be lacking in our diets
How much? 2 servings a day = 1 a day of each; supplement or fortified foods (cereal products, plant milks, etc. – check the packaging)
Vitamin B12 is necessary for a healthy nervous system, the production of DNA, red blood cells, and a healthy immune system. It’s produced by bacteria in the soil, and both people and animals used to get it from eating unwashed plants. Not only do we wash produce before eating (it’s certainly needed these days) but food production is now so sanitised that most vegetables are washed in chlorine, or other sterilising solutions, so there’s not a trace of B12 left. Animal products contain some but that’s because most farmed animals are given B12 supplements.
In short, it’s best to take a supplement or consume B12 fortified foods – aim for at least 4 micrograms daily. The supplements have the ‘good old’ bacterial B12 so it’s not anything artificial.
Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, has a different story. We need it for the regulation of calcium levels in the blood, healthy bones, teeth and muscles. It’s produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight and this can be the main source of vitamin D for us. However, if you always use sun-block, cover most of your skin or live in a country where you don’t get enough sunlight over the winter, you need a supplement – 400 IU or 10 micrograms daily (or fortified foods). Otherwise, you can make all the vitamin D you need by exposing your face, arms and legs to the sun for 10-30 minutes twice a week (without sun-block). The weaker the sunlight, or the darker your skin, the more exposure you may need.
10. Superfood booster
Why? To boost your immune system, reduce inflammation and help your recovery
How much? 1 serving a day; 1 = 0.5 tsp of turmeric, ginger, ginseng, schisandra, matcha OR 1 tsp of moringa, ashwagandha, maca, wheatgrass powder
This is an extra boost that can help you conquer everyday challenges. A plant-based diet can contain natural compounds helping the body resist physical, chemical and biological stress. They won’t make you bulletproof but can help you deal with all kinds of stress better, making you feel stronger and less prone to illness and injury.
Feeling stoked to do it? Or rather apprehensive about the whole thing? Chase Armitage, a lifelong athlete, professional stuntman, free runner, and actor can offer a lot of encouragement:
“When I was 18, I was struggling. I would feel it in my joints, I would have injuries that would just last forever. Now I am 31 and I train so much harder than I did back then. I am still getting stronger, faster, better, still making progress… Once I made that switch to whole foods, superfruits, and a load of fruit and veg — I’ve just been flying! That is my message now: As an athlete, you can take the level up by going vegan”.
There’s no doubt you can kickstart your plant-based diet with these foods in a matter of weeks. You’ll see how great you feel and how much more energy you have on the mat, in thy gym or out in the wild. Try to have one portion of each food from the list daily (unless your diet already includes all these), and increase from there. You’re probably eating many of these foods on a regular basis so, with just a little push, you can achieve the Supercharged Ten pretty soon.
“I thought I was healthy and strong before, but after adopting a plant-based diet, I started to feel energetic and I was having quicker recovery after training.”Frank Medrano, calisthenics expert, athlete and trainer