9 Unexpected Foods That Will Enhance Your Performance

Food is fuel. If you’ve heard it once, it’s likely you’ve heard it 1000 times.

But food is so much more than energy or calories (what those fitness peeps mean when they call it fuel). The issue with referring to it as fuel is that you only end up looking at the macronutrients (you know the drill: protein, carbohydrates and fats) and neglect to look at the other equally if not more important inclusions: micronutrients, phytochemicals, zoochemicals & water. Each of these carry their own messages & communicate other unique information to the body and its processes – making them critical for energy, performance, mood, and optimal long-term health.

In case you couldn’t tell, we at Lucid are passionate about body betterment, neuro-enhancement, productivity & focus. To be kept up to date on any other blogs or infographics, add yourself to our community mailing list.

I’d love to go into detail on the benefits and importance of each but there’s so much to say, it needs its own story for another day. For now, here are 9 completely unexpected foods that will optimise your performance – thanks in part to the role they play in altering and interacting with chemical processes in your body.

Red Wine for Memory & Mental Agility

red-wineThe grapes that are the primary ingredient of red wine include a powerful antioxidant called Resveratrol which, in addition to its cardiovascular benefits is also known to protect against cell damage and prevent age-related mental decline. Dr Philippe Marambuad, a researcher who has made this his specialty suggests exercising your brain with a puzzle or a teaser then winding down with a glass of red. My kind of doctor!


Butter for Laser Sharp Focus

bulletproof-coffee-butter“First wine, now butter?!” I hear you exclaim. It gets better. This one isn’t just plain butter, it’s grass-fed butter. In coffee! Biohackers & Nootropics lovers (as well as Himalayan Tibetans) known about this one for a while: it is said if you mix butter & coconut oil into black coffee it has the ability to provide several hours of hungry-free energy & intensive focus.


Saffron for Good Mood

World-Famous Naturopath Dr Andrew Weil points out that buttered coffee is a drink that is more common than we realise around the world and that in conjunction with a balanced diet (this part is true of all our food hacks btw), could well work. Here’s a recipe.saffron Yes, yes, chocolate is the best known mood enhancer thanks to all the antioxidants it contains but I suspect you knew that one already. Which is why I’ve gone with the lesser known spice.

That and the fact I’m all about the savoury over the sweet 😉 So what is it about saffron then? Apparently it can have antidepressant effects comparable to fluoxetine (Prozac) by helping to make the feel-good, warm & fuzzy neurotransmitter serotonin more available to the brain. Impressed? Ladies – wait until you read about the PMS study where 75% of participants reported their mood swings & depression declined by HALF when consuming saffron filled capsules!

Hemp for Sustained Energy

hempI’m fast realising hemp is one of the most versatile products on this planet. All parts of the plant are good for you from the seeds to the stalk to the leaves – it’s full of omega-3 & omega-6 fatty acids which I know you know the benefits of. In addition to being a great source of magnesium and iron (pregnant ladies, this one’s for you), hemp seeds are full of protein & fibre which takes a lot longer to break down than carbohydrates. This means they release energy nice and slowly, sustaining you throughout the day. And because they’re loaded with fatty acids, these super seeds spend their time repairing and building cells as they break down too. BONUS!

Bananas to Sleep Better

bananaBetter known as a morning pick-me-up, bananas are full of potassium & magnesium – both of which are natural muscle relaxants and making them ideal for bedtime. Not to get TOO technical but bananas also contain an amino acid (L-tryptophan) which the brain converts to serotonin and melatonin – our calming hormones.

For a snooze-fest smoothie, try blending one banana with a cup of almond milk. Almonds are not only another source of the relaxing magnesium but almonds also have proteins that can help maintain your blood sugar level while sleeping, letting you fall into a nice, deep sleep.

Kimchi for Healthy Digestion

kimchiThis superfood condiment is served with virtually every meal in Korea and is considered one of the key components of a diet that has kept obesity at bay. Low in fat, high in fibre kimchi is a fermented cabbage dish made with salt, vinegar, chili and spices – easily identifiable by its red colour and pungent aroma. Loaded with vitamins A, B & C, its real benefit though is that it contains healthy bacteria (lactobacilli – also found in yogurt) and probiotics which help aid your body’s digestive process.

The absorption of all the nutrients we have spoken about starts in your digestion so it is vital this part of your body is operating at its best in order to be able to get all the benefits on offer. Not so minor side note: it has also been suggested & in some cases proven that eating kimchi will give you radiant skin & shinier hair, lower your cholesterol, slow down ageing… AND possibly even help prevent cancer.

Purple Foods to Keep Blood Pressure Down

purple-foodsAside from the obvious health issues that come along with high blood pressure (premature death due to cardiovascular disease being the main one), it can feel pretty terrible too – nervousness, sweatiness, poor sleep – getting in the way of you getting the most out of your day. Which is where purple foods come in!

Not only is it scientifically proven that the darker the food, the higher its antioxidant levels are (which protect your heart in and of themselves) but purple foods such as blueberries, dark grapes, purple cabbage & onions, figs & prunes contain anthocyanin & resveratrol (there it is again!) which help reduce blood pressure by relaxing the arterial walls, allowing for better circulation. The same molecule (anthocyanin) works a treat on urinary tract infections as well. Double BONUS.

Soup before Dinner to Maintain Weight

soupingSouping is the new juicing, haven’t you heard? To understand the real benefit of this, we need to chat juice for a minute. You’ll no doubt have seen (or likely consumed) one of the many ‘cold-pressed’ juices that have been so fashionable lately. Promising to have all kinds of untouched nutrients, the juices claim to help with detox and ultimately aid weight loss. While that may be possible – the problem is that with many juices (whether made from fruit or vegetables) – you lose the valuable fibre.

Fibre doesn’t just keep your digestive system moving, it also offers of other benefits including reduced risk of heart disease & diabetes & keeping your gut bacteria thriving. With all that in mind, the main benefit of soups is pretty obvious – the whole vegetable goes into the broth and along with it, all the fibre. The bit that got me though is that studies have shown that having a bowl of vegetable soup before your dinner could help you lose weight. Apparently this kind of low-calorie pre-loading resulted in 20% fewer calories being eaten during the meal!!

The Ultimate Tipple to Cure Your Hangover

dr-hendersonThere is little worse than attempting to start a day with a shocking hangover. Which is why my final food productivity hack is THE ultimate hangover cure. Actually, calling it a tipple may be understating it just a tad. “Industrial in strength and concocted by a mastermind”, I introduce the Dr Henderson:

2 parts Fernet Branca

1 part Crème de Menthe

Mix together and drink. Add ice.

Chef Fergus Henderson (who is incidentally one of the world’s greatest chefs), we salute you.

In case you couldn’t tell, we at Lucid are passionate about body betterment, neuro-enhancement, productivity & focus. To be kept up to date on any other blogs or infographics, add yourself to our community mailing list.
Amie Weller Colbert

Amie is the CXO of Lucid. With her decade of experience in successfully creating and building brands, Amie is integral to the future reach of the Lucid brand and products.