The Art of Food

Nutrition PyramidFollowing injuries, it is paramount that dancers recover as quickly as possible, and diet can particularly aid this. And it’s not just about what you eat, it’s about what you shouldn’t eat too; junk food fills holes without providing any nutrients, just empty calories, and caffeine reduces bone-mineral density and increase fluid loss.

In order to promote healing, the following foods are of particular benefit: produce, dairy and meat aisles, rather than pre-packaged goods. Every nutrient plays a part in recovering from injuries, particularly protein, vitamin D and vitamin C. For calcium choose milk, yogurt, low-fat cheese and almonds; for vitamin A try sweet potato, carrots, blue/orange/purple fruits and vegetables; gain vitamin C with broccoli, citrus fruits and berries; to increase magnesium have almonds, spinach, pumpkin and ground flaxseeds; for omega-3 fatty acids: walnuts, ground flaxseeds, beans, wild salmon; and for protein: milk, eggs, tofu, beans and lean meat.

To ensure strong bones, rather than gorging on milk and other calcium-filled products, try adding a little more virgin olive oil to you meals, such as salad or pasta. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reports that men put on diets that included the Mediterranean staple showed a significant increase in levels of osteocalcin, a marker of healthy bone formation.

Another unexpected food tip is to use juice to stay slim. Juice is usually associated with ‘bad foods’ due to its high sugar content, however if you’re craving a fruity drink, try watermelon juice. A recent study published in The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry found that an amino acid in watermelon juice called citrulline might help with weight maintenance.