7 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat
Exercising is an important part of staying fit and feeling good. But you need to eat the right foods to fuel every workout and event—otherwise, you’ll be left a step behind the competition.
There are literally thousands of different products appealing to every kind of athlete, from weekend runners to Olympians, all promising to enhance athletic performance. But which products actually live up to the hype? This list is designed to help you figure out which food items you should be eating on a regular basis…
Beets are one of the healthiest natural foods in the grocery store. Not only do they provide you with a full dose of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, they’re also great for detoxifying the body. The betalain pigments found in beets can help in the neutralization and removal of toxins that can make us feel drained or ill.
In essence, beets are the perfect food for an athlete. Beets are especially ideal for anyone who’s constantly putting their body to the test and who needs to rebuild muscle quickly and efficiently.
2. Maca Powder
Maca is one of the hottest new trends in the health supplement market. It’s a plant that’s been grown in central Peru for several thousand years. But only recently have medical experts been talking about its health benefits.
Maca powder has been shown to help enhance energy, stamina, and athletic performance. According to research from WebMD, maca can also help people dealing with anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, memory loss, and fertility. Maca powder can be baked into foods, added to soups, or blended into smoothies.
Salmon is, quite simply, one of healthiest forms of meat you can consume. Not only is it packed with protein, but it’s also an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help with protein synthesis. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties that can optimize cellular functionality.
Overall, salmon is a great way to get your protein fill. Just be sure to acquire wild or organically farmed fish, which doesn’t have the pesticides and fungicides used by many salmon farms.
Turmeric spice is jam-packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a great way to avoid oxidative damage during exercise and a big helper in avoiding the inflammation of joints. Turmeric has also been shown to help with arthritis, which makes it especially beneficial for older athletes.
Turmeric, which is bright orange in color, is commonly used in Indian curry dishes, but can also be added to soups and smoothies. The spice has also been used on the skin to treat pain, bruising, and infected wounds.
5. Green Tea
It’s no longer a secret—green tea is a very healthy beverage. But it’s especially great for athletes, who benefit from its bioflavonoids, which have been shown to increase available oxygen and increase the amount of time it requires for an athlete to become tired.
Green tea can be found in many forms these days, but athletes should consider using it just before or during a workout. Since it does contain some caffeine, it can be particularly effective in preventing a crash.
Even if you’re a health food expert, there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of spirulina. If that’s the case, know that it’s a member of the blue-green algae family and that it’s capable of reducing oxidative stress, making it ideal during the workout recovery process.
As if that’s not enough, a recent study showed that spirulina can increase the amount of time it takes for an athlete to reach exhaustion, making it ideal for endurance athletes like marathon runners. Spirulina can also decrease the amount of carbs used for energy, triggering the burning of fat. That means spirulina can help with weight loss and stress reduction, according to Web MD research.
Yogurt, especially the kind packed with probiotics, can be a very effective way of helping control weight. Several studies, including this one from the Dairy Council, state that the consuming probiotics can improve gastrointestinal health and increase energy.
Probiotic yogurt is also known for reducing athlete recovery times and helping maintain an overall healthy digestive system.
Yogurt is great on its own, but it can also be added to sauces, soups, and smoothies. It’s a great source of protein and will keep you feeling full longer than many other food items.
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