5 Superfoods That Will Make Your Workouts Better

You know you’ve got to sink your teeth into some solid protein to gain strength and size. But when it comes to improving your cardio endurance, do you know what you should be putting on your plate?

First, let’s get a solid understanding of what exactly cardio endurance entails. According to HealthGuidance.org, it’s “the body’s ability to continue exertion while getting energy from the aerobic system used to supply the body with energy.” In other words, cardio endurance is the supply of energy to your circulatory system and muscles over extended periods.

We’ve rounded up five foods that will not only support your training with that needed energy boost, but will also strengthen the cardiovascular system. And to make things really easy, we’re offering a serving suggestion for each if you’re pairing strength training and cardio. Get ready to eat your way to a fitter body. 

1. Bananas

Sliced banana

Bananas are one of the most underrated superfoods. | iStock.com

This portable fruit is packed with potassium, a mineral found to regulate blood pressure, safeguard blood vessels, and reduce the risk of stroke. Bananas also deliver a solid surge of energy because they’re composed of complex carbohydrates.

Serving suggestion: Slice and pair with almond butter and oats for a little protein kick that will begin to repair muscles, whether it’s after a long run or a HIIT strength circuit.

Other foods high in potassium include citrus fruit, fish, green leafy vegetables, legumes, and yogurt.

2. Matcha

matcha tea

Matcha has plenty of antioxidants. | iStock.com

A finely ground powder made from a type of specially grown and processed green tea, matcha is pretty much the “it” tea. This isn’t your typical brew that’s infused in a cup of hot water, but a powder from hand-picked, steamed, and air-dried leaves. This process brings its antioxidants, which help protect against heart disease and cancer, and polyphenols, which can regulate blood sugar, reduce cholesterol, and lower blood pressure, to a whole new level. Matcha also contains L-Theanine, an amino acid that can boost cognitive function.

Serving suggestion: Scoop some matcha into a post-workout smoothie with a berry base. The fruit contains fiber, which promotes heart health.

3. Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are a delicious and healthful snack. | iStock.com

Getting oxygen to the muscles being utilized during your cardio training is essential, which is why you may want to consider tossing some iron-rich chickpeas into your diet. Iron is found in the hemoglobin in red blood cells. It’s main role is to transport oxygen to every cell in the body where it then produces energy. Chickpeas are also loaded with protein to aid muscle recovery.

Serving suggestion: Roast some chickpeas with a splash of lime juice and a dash each of cayenne pepper and smoked paprika for a crunchy and filling snack.

4. Beets

red beets

Beets may help reduce blood pressure. | iStock.com

Beets are not only on the radar of elite athletes, but also researchers have found this veggie contains high nitrate levels. These compounds have been shown to reduce blood pressure and aid blood flow. The root veggie is also rich in choline, which can aid in muscle movement via the transmission of nerve impulses.

Serving suggestion: Juicing. Sure, it may taste a bit earthy, but once beetroot juice hits the sweetness of fresh apple and carrot juices, you can guarantee that it’ll pack a tart and tasty energy boost.

5. Salmon

salmon skewers

Salmon is great for reducing inflammation. | iStock.com

There’s no avoiding it, a good workout leads to a certain amount of inflammation. It just so happens that the omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon can do the trick when it comes to easing the flare. Chronic inflammation in the body can damage blood vessels; however, these fatty acids can fight the effect while also decreasing triglycerides.

Serving suggestion: You can’t go wrong with grilled salmon over a fresh bed of leafy greens and accompanying diced veggies. Yes, we’re talking a salad. Opt for a citrus-based dressing instead of something creamy or overly fatty.