These power plants have more to them than just flavor, these can have a huge impact on your ability to recover from workouts.


1. Chard

Popeye’s got it wrong: green leafy vegetables make bones strong, not muscles. Research in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that making sure you have enough Vitamin K in your diet was the biggest factor in fending o bone fragility. The richest natural source of this essential vitamin is chard. Fry it in a pan with some garlic and pine nuts or add a few handfuls to stews, quiches and soups.


2. Nasturtiums

Before you bust out the weed killer, your back yard may be harbouring hidden performance boosters. They’re called nasturtiums and they do more than sit around and look pretty. a study in the German journal Drug Research (formerly Arzneimittelforschung) found this herb was effective at treating acute sinusitis, bronchitis and urinary tract infections. Since it grows prolifically everywhere; it is often used as an immune booster, which can also improve the health of your lungs. Add its spicy tasting leaves to a potato salad or as a side garnish.


3. Watercress

Ever bought watercress? Probably not. Most dudes regard it as little more than an annoying garnish. But before you brush it o , consider research in the British Medical Journal of Nutrition that found it alleviates the stresses put on your body by a tough workout. “What we’ve found is that a small amount each day can help raise the levels of important antioxidant vitamins, which may help protect our bodies and allow us to enjoy the rewards of keeping fit,” says Dr Mark Fogarty, the study’s author. Its peppery taste makes it perfect in a sandwich, in a stir-fry or in a soup.


4. Basil

Research in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the oils in basil work as antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial agents. It’s the kind of health elixir that’ll keep you fighting fit from the inside out. To punch further above its weight, the United States Department of Agriculture found that fresh basil leaves have the broadest spectrum of nutrients out of any food on earth. That’s a fancy way of saying it’s your one stop shop for just about every vitamin and mineral. If you want to keep yourself in ‘sick’ health then add the leaves to risottos, salmon dishes, soups and bruschetta.


5. Parsley

After a big match or marathon, your battered body is more susceptible to infections and your immune responses can also be severely compromised. A quick fix is being smart about the garnish the meat on your plate hangs out with. New research at Case Western Reserve University found that parsley is rich in a flavonoid called Apigenin, which supes up your recovery from exercise and battles prostate cancer. And what could be more important than protecting your manhood? Stung a few sprigs in your grill after eating garlic works better than a mint, too.


Find nutritional information and more in every issue of TRAIN magazine.