Top Five Super Foods for Athletes
Super foods earn their superstar status for good reasons. Super foods earn their “super” superlative by being rich in nutrients and antioxidants. And while super foods are unquestionably vital for all people to eat in abundance, for the athlete, super foods hold an extra level of importance. The demands, stresses, and requirements placed on an athlete’s body require high caliber fuel for optimal performance and support. Athletes should aim to get a wide variety of super foods on a regular basis, but these five super foods deserve a spot at the top of the list of must-have super foods for athletes.
Sweet potatoes should practically be required eating for all athletes; that’s how beneficial they are. Their complex carbs provide a great source of energy for sports performance, and their levels of vitamins E and C are needed to help with muscle recovery.
Bananas are nature’s energy gels. Rather than relying on sugary processed gels, athletes should reach for a banana for a quick source of easily utilized energy. In addition to providing an energy source, bananas also provide a rich source of potassium. Among other things, potassium helps athletes prevent painful muscle cramps. Plus, with their convenient peel and eat design, they are perfect to toss in a gym bag before a tough workout.
Not only is olive oil one of the most heart healthy fats out there, it also provides a natural inflammatory effect, which helps to relieve muscle soreness without the chemicals that over the counter pain relievers have. Additionally, adding healthy fats like olive oil to the diet helps athletes feel fuller longer, even during tough workouts.
The rich hues in berries are an indication of their tremendous antioxidant content. The antioxidants in berries like blueberries and blackberries fight against free radicals and oxidative stress that is produced during intense workouts.
Along with being a terrific source of quality protein, salmon also provides a great source of the essential fatty acid omega 3s and vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is known for being key in supporting healthy energy levels, a key factor in optimal performance. Omega 3s are critical for a variety of functions including brain and heart health as well as keeping inflammation levels down, an especially key attribute due to the stresses placed on an athlete’s body.