Best Foods for Athletes: Cruciferous Veggies

Sure, carbo-loading's important—but for top-notch performance, it's just part of the story. Supplement your training with these healthy eats that will help you build strength, sustain energy, and recover faster.

Kale chips     Photo: Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

All vegetables are good vegetables when it comes to providing the vitamins and minerals your body needs for optimal performance. But some—including dark, leafy greens and members of the cruciferous family (like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and kale)—have higher concentrations of antioxidants, fiber, and other important nutrients. As with fruits, it's important to eat a variety of different colors, says Lewin—but, as a general rule, "darker is usually better." One exception? Cauliflower, which holds its own against its colorful cousins in terms of health benefits and antioxidant properties.

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