Top superfoods to supplement your diet
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As fall heads toward winter and coronavirus cases are increasing, it’s important for endurance athletes such as runners and cyclists to ensure they are getting enough quality food for recovery.
I recommend to my running clients that they make sure they're eating the right amount and the right kinds of food, regardless of their dietary preferences. A runner’s diet can get pretty creative, as I indicate in my post "Can You Get Enough Protein on a Plant-Based Diet?"
Here are some suggestions on how to boost your meals with nutrient-rich superfoods.
When it comes to recovering after a run or a marathon, probably one of the best things you can add to your diet are tart cherries. Men's Journal reports that tart cherries are chock full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that can help ease recovery and strengthen your muscles and fibers. It also helps keep your gut healthy and helps you get better sleep, ensuring your body is in tip top condition for your next workout.
Every athlete needs a healthy dose of protein, and one of the best plant-based protein sources available is, of course, quinoa. According to BBC Good Food, quinoa is a complete protein that contains all nine essential amino acids, most notably the lysine and isoleucine acids that aren't always available in the usual grains. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help hasten recovery, with additional amounts of the omega-3 fatty acids for a healthier heart.
Another great superfood that's readily available and not too pricey is wheatgrass. Brightcore suggests that wheatgrass is packed with healthy antioxidants, with higher alkalinity that helps reduce fatigue. It also has properties that boost your immune system, which means that you'll be healthier and stronger. Wheatgrass can be grown at home, or you can purchase wheatgrass powder or capsules that have been specially cold-dried to preserve healthy enzymes and nutrients for complete, convenient energy boosting.
As someone with Celiac Disease, it was interesting for me to learn when researching wheatgrass is that it is gluten-free when harvested from a growing wheat plant without any seeds. Wheatgrass is actually the sprouted leaves from the wheat plant. The gluten is found in the seed kernels of the wheat plant, but its grasses do not contain gluten.
The humble beet is a surprisingly great source for essential nutrients and minerals for runners. Runner's World reported on a 2017 study that found that beet juice can improve cardiorespiratory endurance in athletes, increasing efficiency and thereby improving performance and endurance.
Beets are filled with nitrates that, once in the body, get converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps improve muscle performance and efficiency, as well as improve blood flow to the muscles. This is an especially great booster for competitive runners and athletes, and is an easy way to boost your endurance and performance naturally.
If there's an ideal post-run snack out there, it has to be yogurt, whether you prefer the traditional version or — like me — the non-dairy variety.
One of the oldest foods in human history, yogurt is filled to the brim with important nutrients and vitamins to keep our bodies healthy and thriving. Among the many benefits of yogurt outlined by Healthline include calcium for stronger bones, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium for blood pressure and metabolism, and impressive amounts of protein.
It's especially important for promoting bone health, which can greatly help runners recovering after injuries or even dealing with the wear and tear of years being in the sport. Yogurt can also promote heart health and reduce high blood pressure, which is great news for athletes in particular.