A yoga diet promoting a healthy body and mind is vital to living your yoga. Your body and mind perform best when fueled by healthy and satisfying foods. Our goal is not to endorse a specific yoga diet or yoga foods, but rather to introduce you to foods that may increase flexibility, brain function and overall health.
In addition to performing asanas, a yoga diet full of green foods can help to increase overall flexibility and body health. It is also important to supplement your yoga diet with natural vitamins and minerals. The following items may increase flexibility, improve digestion and assist with detoxification.
Barley Grass Extract: Barley grass is an excellent source of nutrition and is recommended for every yoga diet. This green food is packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. It also contains high levels of chlorophyll, which can stimulate tissue growth and accelerate the healing of wounds. Barley grass is full of beta-carotene, iron and calcium for strong, healthy bones.
It can be found in dry form at herbal shops or you can buy the seeds and sprout them yourself. Try adding sprouts to sandwiches and salads.
Spirulina: This super algae has countless health benefits and is one of the best yoga foods. It contains ten times more concentrated beta-carotene amounts than carrots in order to help your body's natural defense systems and to help improve your eye health. In addition, spirulina is loaded with the rare but essential fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), found in mother's milk to help develop healthy babies.
Spirulina is the only other whole food with GLA and also has the highest source of B-12 for healthy nerves and tissue (essential for vegetarians). For your yoga diet, this plant allows you to intensify your yoga because it helps create and mend muscle mass. Muscle endurance is heightened and cramps are warded off with use.
It can be found in tablets and in powder form in health shops. Try taking a tablet each day as a dietary supplement or add a scoop of powder into you blended health shakes before or after a yoga class.
Chlorella: This algae is found in fresh water and has more chlorophyll per gram than any other plant. The chlorella plant has been known to have very beneficial body and blood cleansing attributes due to its detoxifying effects. There is evidence that supports chlorella's ability to alleviate chronic bad breath and constipation. Chlorella is often used to prevent or curb the spread of cancer, promote a healthy immune system, balance good bacteria in the gut, and to lower blood pressure.
Adding this plant to any yoga diet can be overall very beneficial to both health and flexibility. It can be found in tablets and in powder form at health shops. Try taking a tablet each day with meals as a dietary supplement or mixing a scoop of powder into water or juice. *Note: Do NOT take if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.*
Sulfur: Sulfur is known to heal and repair connective tissues in the body and is needed to manufacture the proteins for muscle formation. It contributes to fat digestion and absorption and also cures muscle soreness naturally. Intake of sulfur can make your hair, skin and nails shiny and healthy as well as regulate blood sugar levels.
It can be found in talbet form under the name Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) as a nutritional supplement for stretching and flexibility. Sulfur is also found naturally in many foods such as meat, eggs, parsley, onions, chives, leeks, garlic, oysters, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, cress and brussel sprouts. Try making a sulfur-rich meal at home to improve your yoga and diet.
Some of the great benefits of yoga include mental calmness, stress reduction, body awareness, and spiritual clarity. Yoga and diet can coincide to make your brain healthy and keep it functioning properly. As the old adage says, "a mind is a terrible thing to waste". The following yoga foods, in addition to a well balanced diet, can dramatically increase brain function.
Cold Water Fish: Fish is often described as one of the original "brain foods" because it contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and oils. The best candidates for brain function are cold water, wild-caught fish like salmon and cod. Omega-3s promote neuronal growth and strengthen myelin sheaths (which facilitate communications between neurons). Other mental benefits of omega-3 fish oils include a decreased risk for developing Alzheimer's disease and treatment/prevention of depression as a lack of omega-3s have been linked to depression.
Try baking a filet of salmon or cod with sulfur-rich spices like garlic, chives and onion for a healthy meal for both body and mind.
Fruits: Fruits rich in antioxidants can have tremendous effects on brain function. Antioxidants can prevent cell damage, repair damaged cells, and reduce chances of developing neurological diseases. They have also been shown to slow the aging process. Fruits that are full of antioxidants include all berries, especially acai and goji, apples, lemons, limes, grapes, mangos, apricots, pineapples, tomatoes, pomegranates, coconuts, and blood oranges. It is recommended to try and eat 3-5 or more servings of antioxidant-rich fruits per day.
Try making a fruit salad with sliced pecans and sprinkled cinnamon, which are also very high in antioxidants.
Vegetables: Vegetables can also have high levels of antioxidants, which may reduce the risk of developing cognitive impairment by diminishing oxidative stress. Keep in mind that it is recommended to add antioxidant-rich foods into your yoga diet instead of trying to use supplements. Vegetables that are jam-packed with antioxidants include corn, kale, squash, carrots, peppers, spinach, broccoli, soybeans, artichokes, and red beets. It is recommended to try and eat 5 or more servings of antioxidant-rich vegetables per day.
Try making a vegetable casserole with a side of brown rice, pinto beans or sweet potatoes as these are also loaded with antioxidants. Wash it all down with a glass of green tea or cranberry juice for a meal saturated with antioxidants.
Chocolate: Surprisingly, the right chocolates in the right amounts can actually be great for a healthy brain. Cocoa beans (raw cacao) contain antioxidants and have even showed signs of being able to improve memory.
When searching for chocolate that can benefit the brain, choose dark chocolates with the lowest sugar content. Keep in mind that moderation is key.
Water: Drinking enough water each and every day cannot be stressed enough. Make sure you drink enough on a daily basis to keep your body and brain hydrated. Dehydration can cause headaches in the immediate future and long-term neuronal damage sustained from elevated stress hormones. For your yoga diet, a good rule of thumb is to try and drink one liter of water for every 50 pounds of body weight (ex. if you weigh 150 pounds, drink three one liter water bottles).
Try adding a slice of fruit to your water or diluting sugar-free juices with water.
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed learning how yoga and diet can coincide to make a healthier you! Try these yoga foods today!
~ Go Green!
If you are serious about your yoga diet, a great resource is www.thewholejourney.com. The Whole Journey is a holistic nutritional counseling company. It was created to empower others to take control of their own health and lives using customized whole food nutrition, top quality supplementation and healthy lifestyle strategies and guidance. For more information, complimentary recipes, videos, healthy product reviews and other resources, please visit www.thewholejourney.com