5 Foods to Be Thankful For

3. Chia Seeds

These seeds are an amazing source of Omega-3s. Because our bodies can't produce Omega-3s, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) are nutrients we must consume regularly for optimal health and brain development.

Chia seeds are easy to throw on cereal or yogurt. An additional tip for athletes: If you soak these seeds overnight, they will absorb water and help maintain hydration levels during exercise.

4. Kefir

This probiotic is chock full of good bacteria required for optimal digestion and helps control the gastro-intestinal issues that may plague some athletes. It tastes great when added to oatmeal or cereal.

There are 10 times more bacteria cells in (and on) the human body than there are human cells. A lot of these bacteria are beneficial and necessary. Bacteria are responsible for converting our nutrients into vitamins, promoting stool regularity and boosting our immune system. When good bacteria are using up the space and resources in our bodies, there's no room for bad bacteria to grow. This is why probiotics like Kefir work to keep athletes healthy.

5. Flax Seeds

Another great source of Omega-3s, these seeds have also been shown to promote bone health by reducing bone loss. This is important for athletes who regenerate bone more frequently than most people. Flax seeds help make active bones less prone to injury.

These seeds also help control blood pressure and have cholesterol-lowering benefits. They are rich in fiber, which helps keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Eat these seeds ground instead of whole to maximize absorption.

Foods to be thankful for are all around us this season: pumpkin, apples, spices and squash to name a few. Prepare them healthfully and enjoy the holidays.

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Vanessa Rodriguez is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, an ultra-endurance athlete, and an online editor for Active.com.

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