Superfoods are a powerful classification of foods that can provide enormous benefits for athletes. You’ve heard the saying “Let your food by thy medicine, and thy medicine be your food” right? Eating an abundance of healthy whole food is really important. Fruits and vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes, and phytonutrients that are critical for the body to function optimally.
Superfoods are in a class of their own when it comes to food. They are literally super powerful and super potent. True superfoods contain therapeutic levels of certain nutrients that simple whole foods cannot provide. Similar to supplements, they contain high levels of certain nutrients like vitamins, minerals, or antioxidants that are extremely beneficial to athletes. The biggest benefit of superfoods is that they are whole foods that come directly from nature. When you are deficient in a nutrient, simply eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds may not be able to get you over the hump to correct the deficiency. Superfoods can help.
Here are five extremely powerful superfoods every athlete should know about:
1. Maca is a root from Peru that is an incredible hormonal regulator and adaptogen meaning that it helps your body deal with stress. Maca has been shown to help improve symptoms of PMS, menopause, depression, and chronic fatigue.
2. Cacao looks like cocoa but it is the raw, unprocessed, un-alkalized form. Cacao is powerful because it is mineral and antioxidant-rich. Also known as the “food of the Gods,” cacao contains more magnesium than any other food on the planet. Magnesium helps improve digestion, reduces muscle cramping, and aids sleep.
3. Chia is typically found as chia seeds. Yes, like the chia pet. Chia seeds are loaded with Omega 3 fats which is the type of fat that reduces inflammation in the body. Also, they are filled with soluble fiber which absorbs water and helps lubricate the intestinal wall, improves digestion, and helps modulate blood sugar.
4. Kelp is a type of seaweed. It is loaded with iodine and other minerals including calcium and magnesium. Increasing iodine helps to kick-start a sluggish thyroid and boosts metabolism to allow for weight loss and improved organ function.
5. Chlorella is a single cell algae that contains lots of chlorophyll. It is very high in vitamins and minerals and helps the body detoxify, improves digestion, reduces inflammation, and supports healthy weight loss.
If you’ve never heard of these superfoods, don’t worry. You can find most of them at your local health food store. Pick one or two that appeal to you and give them a try. I’d recommend starting with cacao or raw chocolate. It is easy to incorporate into your diet and is absolutely delicious in smoothies.
Source by Erin A Harner