Top 5 Superfoods For Sports Enthusiasts
These golden foods will help you get the most out of your fitness routine.
Working out regularly is one of the best ways to keep your body in peak condition. But working out on an empty stomach — or worse, a stomach full of junk food — can lead to less than optimal results. Feed your body regularly with the following superfoods to provide optimal fuel for your workouts.
Oatmeal is a heart-healthy whole grain that contains valuable soluble fibre to help soak up unwanted fat and cholesterol in the bloodstream. But perhaps even more importantly, it’s packed full of good carbohydrates, the most critical energy source for athletes. Oatmeal maintains your energy for a longer period of time during your workout and curbs appetite by slowing the absorption of glucose into your bloodstream. Oats are also a good source of B vitamins, important for athletes as a source of energy.
Quick and healthy: Mix plain oatmeal with milk and add a handful of nuts or seeds and dried or fresh fruits. Toss it in the microwave and cool off with a splash of milk before eating.
Yogurt is a well-known source of calcium, which supports healthy bones and reduces the risk of osteoporosis. But, did you know that calcium also plays a role in muscle metabolism? If you’re feeling zapped of energy during your workout, consider looking at your intake of calcium to see if you are meeting the recommended levels. If not, try adding some yogurt to your breakfast, lunch or snack. Rich in Vitamin B-12, this superfood also helps athletes prevent fatigue.
Quick and healthy: Sweeten plain yogurt with your favourite fruit and top with nuts and seeds for a quick snack before or after your workout.
This miniature super fruit is chock-a-block full of nutrients and is the star of the show when it comes to antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can help to reduce oxidative damage to cells resulting from free radicals produced during periods of strenuous activity. Nutrients in blueberries may also promote healthy blood pressure. These super foods contain vitamin C to support your immune system, and are a source of energy-enhancing carbohydrates and fibre to help sustain your energy and keep you in the game.
Quick and healthy: Blend fresh or frozen berries into your favourite smoothie or top up your morning breakfast cereal with these tiny bursts of nutrition.
Sweet potatoes may not be your typical vegetable of choice for dinner, but you might want to start making these nutrient-dense superfoods a staple after you hear what they have to offer. Sweet potatoes contain more of the antioxidant beta-carotene than any other fruit or vegetable. They are also a source of vitamin C and one of the only fat-free sources of vitamin E. Vitamins C and E have antioxidant properties and aid in muscle recovery among athletes. Last, but not least, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of iron, which is important in oxygen production for athletes during a workout. Bake, grill or microwave these nutritious superfoods.
Quick and healthy: Our favourite way to prepare them is by making sweet potato fries. To do this, cut them into thin slices, place on a baking sheet, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and garlic and roast then in the oven.
Salmon is a source of high-quality protein, iron and vitamin B12, which is important for optimal athletic performance. It also contains omega 3 fatty acids. The nutritional fats found in salmon have been shown in epidemiological and clinical trials to reduce the incidence of heart disease. Recent studies have also indicated that omega 3 fatty acids may be beneficial to intestinal health. In addition, omega 3 fatty acids may have anti-inflammatory effects, protecting against conditions such as arthritis. It’s no wonder salmon and other fatty fish have been touted as superfoods!
Quick and healthy: Consider fish a healthy fast food that can be a beneficial addition to your meal in just 10-15 minutes by poaching, baking or grilling it with your favourite herb. Add canned salmon to your sandwich or salad for a nutrient-dense recovery meal.