If you’re anything like me, your car is your baby. On most days, my car looks like it’s just cruised off the lot. I spend way too much time on the simple art of cleaning and polishing my car. Carwash solution used by professionals, microfiber leather chamois and oscillating buffer in hand, I consider myself a bit of a car-a-holic.

With such an immaculate exterior, it goes without saying that I treat the engine and interior to the best – best products, best service, best brands. Now, before you turn the page, thinking this is a car blog, and not a health blog, let me bring it home for you.

Gents, there’s no other way I can say it (okay, there probably is, but here goes): We can’t keep our bodies pristine on the outside if our insides aren’t taken care of. We need to give our bodies the highest quality fuel to keep up our stamina, amongst other things.

What is stamina?

Stamina is the ability to sustain prolonged periods of mental or physical effort. The amount of stamina and energy we have to get through a full day of work plus an evening workout is directly influenced by the foods we eat.

According to LiveStrong, caffeine and simple sugars, like sucrose, dextrose and high-fructose corn syrup, actually weaken our stamina as they provide a short energy boost followed by a crushing crash. Avoid these and rather stick to natural sugars found in whole foods. These are unprocessed and unrefined foods, free of artificial substances, that provide a steady stream of fuel to keep you energised throughout the day.

Here are five whole foods that build your stamina, naturally:

1. Protein Packed Chia Seeds

These nutritious seeds have become one of the most popular super foods in the health community.

According to Health Ambition, consuming chia seeds enhances your exercise performance, boosts your energy and increases metabolism.

Chia seeds are a great source of protein, which is vital to help your muscles repair themselves, especially after endurance exercise. Keep munching on these guys, and you’ll be back in the gym and ready to go in no time.

2. Naturally Sugary Dates

Dates are a carb-rich fruit, great for boosting your stamina. The natural simple sugars, including glucose, sucrose and fructose, help boost and maintain energy. They are digested quickly, giving an instant lift to your stamina.

Dates also have a high Magnesium content. A study by Oregon State University

found that Magnesium is essential to overall heart health, and helps reduce high blood pressure and regulates your heartbeat. Dates are an all-round goody.

3. Pre-Workout Bananas

Bananas are a fantastic source of carbohydrates and Potassium, which makes them the perfect pre-workout snack to top up your tank. According to Men’s Fitness, Potassium will keep your nutrient levels high and aid in nerve maintenance and muscle functioning. Bananas will also prevent blood sugar drops, which lead to light-headedness and fatigue.

Dried bananas are actually a far more concentrated source of potassium and other nutrients than fresh bananas, which are made up of 75% water. LiveStrong states that dried bananas are about four times higher in fibre, potassium, carbohydrates and sugar than the fresh variety.

4. Omega-3 Rich Walnuts

Walnuts are packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These fats have many health benefits to keep you going, such as:

  • Improved protein synthesis
  • Increased physical performance
  • Healthier immune system
  • Strengthened bones
  • Heightened cognitive functioning

For the athletes out there, walnuts will also improve your recovery time by decreasing inflammation in your muscles.

5. Iron Filled Sundried Tomatoes

A lack of Iron in your diet can cause a loss of stamina, poor concentration and fatigue. You don’t need to take supplements to boost your Iron levels. Sundried tomatoes are an excellent, natural source of Iron.

According to Men’s Health, Iron is essential to keep you going as it provides oxygen to your muscles. A 30g serving of sundried tomatoes will provide a third of your Iron RDA (recommended daily allowance) and keep your stamina up.

These stamina-boosting whole foods will give you the right fuel to keep you going all day long. And the best news of all is that premium quality walnuts, chia seeds and dates are conveniently available at your Montagu Dried Fruit and Nuts store, your one stop healthy food shop.