Five foods for fitness

foods for fitness
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When I get asked to list the five best foods for fitness, I have to admit my heart sinks a little. There are three main reasons for this. One: there are already lots of superfood books and lists out there. Two: often there isn’t a best food for a situation but rather a whole food group. And three: it’s a bad idea to isolate your intake to five foods unless you really have to. But that being said, if push came to shove and I had to leave for a desert island with just five foods, here’s what I would take:


These little fish are great because you eat them whole: brains, eyes, bones and flesh. This means you get a lovely mix of minerals from the bones, protein and essential fats from the flesh, and additional fats from the brains and eyes. Just one small animal provides multiple sources of essential nutrition, plus they taste nice when they’re crispy

Mayonnaise (with a difference)

I’m not talking shop-bought but rather mayonnaise made with olive oil, egg yolks and garlic and sprinkled with paprika. The olive oil provides useful flavonoids and monounsaturated fat, which complements the omega 3 oils from the sprats. The eggs provide iron, B12 and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, not to mention healthy cholesterol to provide hormonal building blocks for steroid hormones, and antioxidant protection. A generous sprinkle of paprika gives some polyphenol protection to boot.

Sweet potato wedges with spicy seasoning

Sweet potatoes are among the most nutritionally dense foods in the starchy world. They contain high levels of carotenoids, which not only give them their orange colour but also protect the body against damage from free radicals, plus nutrients such as magnesium and B6. Oven roasting them (in a little cococut oil) makes them crispy and the perfect companion to the fish and homemade mayonnaise.


Vegetables in the cruciferous family – brussel sprouts, cauliflower and kale, as well as broccoli – are essential cancer protectors. They also provide valuable fibre, folate, protein, vitamin C and vitamin K. Folate is needed for optimal cell replication, vitamin C for a number of essential body functions and collagen formation, and vitamin K for optimal bone and blood health.

Ginger beer

Among its many important health benefits, ginger aids digestion and lowers excess inflammation. Brewer’s yeast also contains pretty much the full complement of valuable B vitamins, plus you’ll get instant energy from the sugars needed to make a strong brew.