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Eating for Yoga

By: Jennifer Grossman
Posted: June 13, 2008, from the September 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Yoga’s power to transform the body—and one’s life—is what draws many to the practice. With any process of rebuilding, raw materials are required. And, in the case of the body, that means the proper food.

Just as you wouldn’t build an ashram out of random trash, attention to nutrient function—not just taste—should inform your approach to rebuilding the temple of your body. That’s because the kinds of food you choose can greatly affect energy levels, recovery time, and the health of muscles, joints and bones being reconditioned.

Based on research conducted and reviewed at the Dole Nutrition Institute, as well as many years of my own yoga practice, here is a list of top food sources that can help speed healing, ease soreness, promote joint health and otherwise support your body as it reaps the benefits of yoga.

Support healthy joints

A joint is where two bones make contact, or articulate. Maintaining the joints can allow for better movement and mechanical support of the bones.

Broccoli. Cruciferous vegetables, or edible plants from the Brassicaceae family, contain sulforaphane—a compound that triggers the body’s own antioxidant defenses. New research suggests that this process may block cyclooxygenase (COX-2) enzymes that cause inflammation. Broccoli sprouts are one of the most potent sources of these indirect antioxidants, which also can be found in cabbage, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.