June is a notable time of year for a variety of sports. The NBA, NHL, Wimbledon, MLB, the US Open of Golf, World Cup Soccer – each represents a sport fresh into a new season or winding a probably grueling one down. Whether a top athlete or training like one, hard core fitness takes a toll on the body, one workout or game at a time. What we put in to our bodies directly correlates to what we get out of our workouts and performances. As training ramps up, the cells in our body become stressed, strained and tired. Foods can nourish and replenish cells getting you in to tip-top shape for the next workout or performance. Among the top four foods that revitalize tired cells:
Studies show that strawberries encourage the production of collagen in the body as well as stave off infection and help prevent bruising. Bonus: high in the phytochemical, pelargonidin, strawberries are also highly anti-cancer. Because of their porous nature, buy organic whenever possible.
Remarkable blueberries are high in four types of anthocyanins, which are phytochemicals proven over and over again to protect and revitalize cells. Anti-aging, promoting eye health, stimulating true rejuvenation in the body, blueberries have the most restorative properties of all the berries studies show. When possible, eat daily as in the recipe here or include in a beautiful, fresh berry mixture as a breakfast side dish or snack.
With the exception of vitamin C, dried apricots have a more dense nutritive content than fresh apricots yielding up to 47 percent of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of vitamins and minerals in a half-cup serving. High in soluble fiber and potassium, dried apricots help extract toxins while at the same time regulating the balance of cellular water levels – a key factor in intense training periods.
Fresh cherries get their tart flavor from malic acid which has an alkalizing effect on the body. Cherries contain enzymes that dissolve other acids and help promote healthy gut bacteria. As well, whether training hard or not, sleep is vital to cellular recovery and fresh cherries are one of the few known food sources of melatonin – a natural sleep promoter.
From the flower of the tea tree plant, studies of manuka honey show that this honey is used to treat chronic wounds both inside and outside of the body. Topical applications suggest applying the honey directly to an open wound whereas it has been suggested that consuming manuka honey is linked to healing from ulcers and sore throats.
Before using any of these suggestions, it is recommended that you speak with your doctor / primary care physician to ensure that these suggestions do not interfere with current medications or protocols as recommended by the doctor.
Cherry Balsamic Granita (Serves 8)
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 cup strawberries, cleaned and trimmed
- ½ cup dried apricots
- 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ tablespoons manuka honey (or raw honey)
- About 10 fresh mint leaves
- Fine zest of one small lemon
- Juice of 1 small lemon
- Fine zest of one lime
- Juice of one lime
- 3 ½ cups sparkling water
Directions: Process the blueberries, strawberries, apricots, cherries, balsamic and honey in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add the lemon and lime zest and juice and process until smooth. Pour mixture into an 11”x7” dish and stir in the sparkling water. Cover and freeze about 8 hours. Remove from the freezer and let stand about 5 minutes.
Chop the mixture into large chunks and place in a food processor or blender in batches, pulsing 5 or 6 times. Serve immediately in a martini glass or other fun dish. Garnish with additional lemon, lime zest or mint.
Nutrition Per Serving (Serving size: 1 cup)
- Calories: 66
- Fat: 0.4g
- Saturated fat: 0g
- Cholesterol: 0.0mg
- Sodium: 3mg
- Potassium: 175mg
- Carbohydrates: 16.3g
- Fiber: 2.4g
- Sugars: 11.9g
- Protein: 1.1g