Superfoods don't just help you live a healthier life, they also supercharge your workouts with clean fuel. Natural fuel can help your body push harder during workouts, repair muscle faster and restore lost electrolytes. Here are some rules to follow when incorporating superfoods into your diet, with list of options to get started.
- Go whole. You may already have superfoods lurking in your pantry. Look for foods in their "whole" state. Processed foods and "super" foods do not go together. Think brown rice or barley, fruits and vegetables.
- Don't forget to exercise. Don't slack off on training just because you're eating right. Let superfoods fuel your training, and you'll start seeing impressive results.
- Watch your portion size. This is less of a concern with active athletes than it is with sedentary people trying to lose weight, but it's possible to have too much of a good thing with superfoods. Dark chocolate, for example, is packed with antioxidants, but it's also high in calories and fat.
Superfoods for Athletes
- Blueberries. Rich in antioxidants, phytoflavinoids, vitamin C and potassium, blueberries can help lower the risk of cancer and heart disease and decrease soreness after training. Learn more about the training benefits of blueberries.
- Omega 3 foods. Superfoods that are rich in omega 3 include walnuts, ground flax seed, eggs and fatty fish. Because these foods have high levels of healthy monounsaturated fats, they help keep cholesterol in check.
- Soy. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, soy can be just as effective for lowering cholesterol as statins. Be sure to choose whole forms of soy, like tofu and edamame, and don't go overboard if your family has a history of breast cancer.
- Tea. Green and black teas are thought to be able to help drop cholesterol levels and prevent cancer. Green tea also contains epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant.
- Fiber. Whole foods that contain high fiber encourage weight loss and keep cholesterol in check. Fiber also helps the body maintain healthy levels of blood sugar, making it essential for athletes who burn a lot of calories. In addition, when you eat more fiber, you feel full, which keeps your body from overeating. To consume superfoods high in fiber, opt for whole grains like quinoa or barley, beans, vegetables and fruits.
Ready to start eating superfoods? Check out STACK's Superfood A-Z series for more healthy ideas.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock