Long, gruelling workouts that take a toll on body and mind is what we endurance athletes live for. But to maintain these workouts and to recover its super important to know which foods to consume.
We’ve done the heavy lifting on this for you and found these 8 superfoods for building strength and endurance.
Nutrient dense and high in fibre, chia has 3x the antioxidants of blueberries. They’re also loaded with calcium, iron and protein, and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Absorbing 12x their weight in water, chia seeds help in retaining moisture and regulate the body’s absorption of nutrients. Chia was one of the secret keys behind the incredible endurance exploits of the Tarahumara tribe. Eat it and you’ll feel like you were Born to Run too!
Did someone say antioxidants? Cherries are a superfood packed with them! Consume cherry juice twice a day and you’ll have less muscle pain after those long runs (it has enormous anti-inflammatory benefits). A diet rich in cherries can lower body fat and inflammation, and help lower cholesterol too.
Kale has high levels of vitamins A, K, B6, calcium and iron, and is antioxidant rich to fight inflammation. It also contains carotenoids and flavonoids. These are two very powerful antioxidant friends that protect cells from free radicals that cause oxidative stress. It’s also high in fibre and helps lower cholesterol.
An awesome option for energy, bananas are loaded with potassium and vitamin B6 (which acts as an anit-inflammatory). They help lower blood sugar, regulate digestion and re-stock your body with lost electrolytes.
It’s high in soluble fibre and complex carbohydrates and a great source of protein. And with a low glycemic index, it provides a sustained release of energy into the bloodstream (great for us runners!). Oatmeal also offers your body a regular dose of Vitamin B and is rich in minerals and antioxidants.
Walnuts are a great plant-based protein and are rich in fibre, B-Vitamins and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. They contain more Omega 3 fatty acids than any other nut, walnuts have also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol which is beneficial to a healthy heart.
Not only do they taste great, sweet potatoes are also rich in Vitamins A and C. Both of these vitamins work to remove free radicals from your body. Endurance sports tend to leave us lacking potassium, iron, manganese and copper, so sweet potato is a great add to ensure healthy muscle function.
Salmon is one of the most nutrient dense proteins, full of essential Omega-3 fatty acids as well as vitamins B12 and B6. Salmon can help reduce inflammation in our bodies. A weekly dose will see you decrease the risk of cardiovascular problems. Just make sure you seek out wild caught salmon which has a far superior nutrient content to its farmed cousin.
If you have your own tips for healthy optimal performance – we’d love to hear from you.