New Year, New Green You Lynne Algar, MSc, PhD, TI High Performacne CoachA question worth asking yourself is “what improvements have I made, and how can I be better in 2015?”A new year often represents a time for a fresh start or a revision of personal or performance goals. A step in the right direction towards achieving new goals is to revise your diet and build a better and improved you from the inside out. The first place I suggest you begin is by increasing your intake of “green foods”.What do we mean when we talk about “Green Foods”?The terms ‘green foods’ and ‘plant based foods’ are used interchangeably. Plant based foods include; vegetables, fruit, nuts, and wholegrains. A consistent balanced intake of these types of foods increases your phytonutrient intake. Hence, the reason why they are called ‘green’, ‘Phyto’ is the Greek word for ‘green’.Why should I care?A diet rich in phytonutrients is beneficial for a number of reasons;Strengthens your immune systemThere are certain factors crucial for your success in training and performance. Your diet is one of those factors. Would you put rubbish fuel in your car and expect it to run optimally? Of course not. As a triathlete, consider the multiple environmental conditions you’re exposed to when swimming, biking or running. The nutrients found in plant based foods help to keep the barriers of your immune system high and strong against bacteria and viruses which we are exposed to in our lifestyles.Fuels performance and adaption to trainingTo train and perform we demand our physiological system to metabolise fuels to produce energy and force. These nutrients offer natural sources of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats vital used in catabolic processes to fuel your body during activity. They also contain anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories which through anabolic processes help your body repair and adapt to strenuous activity. For example, if you are going through a ‘build-phase’ in your training programme then a healthy diet that includes your usual suspects like; carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, tomatoes, grapefruit, will contribute towards a more efficient training adaption and recovery.Contributes towards a healthier body compositionA diet rich in plant based foods is naturally lower in processed sugars and higher in ‘good’ polyunsaturated fats. Foods such as nuts, seeds and pulses are high in protein which if ingested after exercise can contribute towards a faster recovery and minimise hunger cravings. A diet like this is more economical too. If you are on-the-go, smoothies or soups are a simple answer. Udo’s Choice Beyond Greens brings together the finest green foods, essential fatty acids, fibre, whole food concentrates, phytonutrients and digestive enzymes in one formula. This convenient formula will contribute towards a healthier well-balanced diet. Beyond Greens comes in powder form and blends quickly and easily into food and drink, making it great for people on the run who need an instant, nutritious boost or a quick pick-me-up snack www.bit.ly/BeyondGreensTake home messageSo if you are using the New Year as a motivator or a starting point to refurbish your lifestyle .Design it with a philosophy based on a healthy diet and exercise programme, and decorate it with a variety of plant based sources of phytonutrients. Make a choice, a strategy and conform to achieve your goals.