Foods That Help Prevent Dancer Body Burnout

February 15th, 2017 by Roy Patterson

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By dance career coach Catherine Mancuso.

The odds are that you have or will sustain an injury over your lifetime as a dancer, but did you realize that most injuries are caused by fatigue and burnout? Many of us are experiencing low grade inflammation throughout our bodies on a daily basis which causes our bodies to burnout.

StarQuest Dance CompetitionStress, environmental toxins, poor sleep habits and poor nutritional habits are the culprits of chronic low grade inflammation in the body and it’s causing many more issues than we’re often aware of. In my own career I experienced burnout at 25, and it wasn’t from an injury. While I had experienced some knee problems early in my dance career – chronic low grade inflammation is what caused my body to shut down from fatigue, migraines, and digestive issues.  Clearing your body of this chronic low grade inflammation will allow your body to perform optimally, heal more quickly and prevent fatigue in the first place. Want to the know the secret? It has a lot to do with the food you’re eating.

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When I first started dealing with my health issues I quickly discovered that prescription medications didn’t work for me. In fact, in my case they exacerbated the problems. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Mother Nature had a wealth of foods in her arsenal to combat and prevent chronic low grade inflammation. This discovery not only became the key to my healing but allowed me to save a ton of money since I was no longer filling expensive prescriptions that weren’t working. What are these magic foods? Here’s the top 12 foods to fight inflammation, boost your immune system, and keep your body from burning out.

Ginger: This warm spice boosts your immune system, cleanses your lymphatic system, is a natural remedy for nausea and aids in digestion.

Green Leafy Vegetables: Kale, Chard, Bok Choy, Dandelion roots. These are just some examples of this powerful food group. These vegetables contain anti-inflammatory flavonoids and are rich with antioxidants that restore cellular health. Whether in a salad or a smoothie, get in those greens!Dance Competition

Celery: This veggie is loaded with Vitamins K, C, and B6 as well as folate and potassium. Celery naturally helps to restore hydration because of its high concentration of water and natural electrolytes. Additionally, its full of antioxidants and enzymes that aid in reducing joint inflammation.

Turmeric: This is natures natural prescription anti-inflammatory. It contains curcumin which has been shown to be more powerful than aspirin and ibuprofen.

Virgin Coconut Oil: With antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties this healthy oil fights free radicals and has been proven to be effective in treating osteoporosis. Bonus: It’s more heat stable than most oils making it ideal for cooking with since it won’t go rancid at medium-high temperatures.

Beets: Their deep vibrant color is due to it high concentrations of antioxidant betalain, a powerful anti-inflammatory. They help to repair cells and contain high levels of magnesium and potassium.

Broccoli: Another veggie full of magnesium and potassium, it also is chock full of flavonoids, vitamins, and carotenoids. Essentially these lower oxidative stress in the body, reduce chronic inflammation, and may help prevent cancer. StarQuest Dance Competition

Fermented Foods: These include foods like raw sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, and kefir. The foods are chock full of probiotics that boost your immune system and help regulate underlying infections you may have that are causing chronic inflammation. The also build up your healthy gut flora making you digest and absorb your nutrients more efficiently.

Wild Caught Salmon: This fish is loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids that has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body and lowers your risk of chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Some research suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids are key to brain memory and performance as well as behavior function.

Pineapple: This yummy tropical fruit is loaded with bromelain which is an antioxidant that naturally boosts your immunity.

Blueberries: These beautiful blue pearls contain high concentrations of the flavonoid quercetin which has been shown to slow cognitive decline and improve your memory and motor function. Look for wild blueberries as these are the most potent.

starquest, starquest dance, starquest dance competition, dance competition, dance comp Soaked/Sprouted Walnuts: A great vegan option for getting in your omega-3’s. It contains phytonutrients that protect you from metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular issues, and type 2 diabetes. Soaking and sprouting your walnuts removes the natural enzyme inhibitor they have making the powerful antioxidants more accessible and easy to absorb.

To help prevent inflammation from dancing, I recommend beginning to incorporate these foods into your diet on a daily basis. Remember though that Rome wasn’t built in a day, so it’s ok to take small steps. I suggest trying one new food per week and finding fun ways to make them a part of your snacks and meals. My favorite way to get in these powerful antioxidants is in smoothies. Blend up some greens, blueberries, walnuts, ginger, turmeric and celery for a quick, easy, and delicious snack on the go! These are the foods that changed my life as a dancer and I know they can help you as well. Get a leg up on inflammation and enjoy blissful days of dancing.

This blog first appeared on

A Note From StarQuest

The views and advice expressed in this blog are that of the author, and were gathered through her experience as a professional dancer coping with inflammation. Every dancer and every body is different. StarQuest urges you to seek advice from a medical professional prior to treating inflammation or any heath concern.

Post Blog Workshop

  1. What are three foods from above that you can begin incorporating into your diet?
  2. Research and make one recipe using an inflammation-fighting food from the above list! Share your delicious meal with your dance fam!

Want more dance tips? Click here for my special gift just for StarQuest dancers!

StarQuest Dance CompetitionCatherine Mancuso is a dancer/choreographer turned dance career coach. As founder of Aries In Flight, it is her mission to empower dancers to show up as their best selves every day and create the life of their dreams. Visit her at or on social media – @AriesInFlight