Why Athletes Should Consume Antioxidants for Sports Performance and Muscle Recovery | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Why Athletes Should Consume Antioxidants for Sports Performance and Muscle Recovery

February 22, 2012

Must See Nutrition Videos

In sports, it's often said that defense wins games. When it comes to nutrition, antioxidants provide a powerful defense against attacking molecules called free radicals, which damage muscles through a chemical process called oxidation. Free radicals play a role in cellular and muscle inflammation; they may also lower resistance to colds, flu, cancer and heart disease.

But you can fight against free radicals. Studies have shown that the antioxidants in many fruits, vegetables and whole grains can help prevent the kind of damage they cause.

Antioxidants offer protection against oxidation damage (hence the name "anti"-oxidants), helping muscles recover faster after intense games, practices and workouts. Antioxidants also boost your immune system so you're not sidelined by sickness, causing you to miss practices, games and workouts and reversing your hard-earned training gains.

But if you want to receive these performance benefits, you have to start consuming antioxidant-rich foods and drinks on a regular basis. Consume antioxidants before and after a workout, practice or game to promote muscle recovery and reduce the risk of muscle damage. This also will help you build muscle between workouts, contributing to improved sports performance.

Below is a recipe for Antioxidant Bars, a high-calorie, nutrient-dense and antioxidant-rich food that can be consumed for breakfast or as a pre- or post-workout snack. It only takes 20 to 25 minutes to make four servings of this delicious and healthy food.

Antioxidant Bars

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1-3/4 cup Milk
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Cocoa Powder
  • 2 tsp. Honey
  • 1/2 cup Raisins
  • 6 Prunes
  • 3 tbsp. Oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup Peanuts or Almonds
  • 1/4 cup Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Butter
  • 2 small slices of Cheese
  • 3 tbsp. Wheat Germ or Farina (optional)

Directions:

Stove Top
In a large bowl or medium-sized pot, beat eggs in milk. Add in remaining ingredients. Cook on stove in pot with some olive oil at the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking. Stir at low heat until mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Place in two cereal bowls and let cool until mixture sets.

Cut each bar in half to make four total bars. You can reheat the bars in the microwave or eat at room temperature.

Microwave
In a large bowl, beat eggs in milk and add remaining ingredients. Pour into two cereal bowls. Cook in microwave for five to six minutes. Make sure to cover each bowl with a paper towel. Let cool until mixture sets.

Nutrition Information

Serving size: 1 Bar
Calories: 450
Protein: 46g
Carbohydrates: 54g
Fat: 23g
Antioxidants: carotenoids, selenium, flavonoids, arginine, polyphenols, lignan and vitamins A, C and E

Photo:  50andnifty.com

Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, a New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness director at the Greater Morristown YMCA in Cedar Knolls, N.J.

Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
Jim Carpentier
- Jim Carpentier is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, New Jersey-licensed massage therapist and a health/fitness writer. He currently serves as associate health and wellness...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

As nutritionists, we learned in Nutrition 101 that unsaturated fats are the "good" fats whereas saturated fats are the "bad" ones. For years we were...

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

The Case for Red Meat

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

The Boston Cannons'

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?