You hear the word “super food” thrown around quite frequently these days, but often, the term connotes nothing more than a trendy food.
A true super food, however, straddles the line between a simple food, and one that functions as a powerful medicinal compound. There is very good reason why a true super food should pique the attention of endurance athletes.
When training for race season, athletes are required to look beyond standard dietary guidelines and fuel their body in a way that supports the additional stress and taxation of high-intensity training. Super foods, with their natural “super powers” offer exactly that kind of additional support.
More: Top 10 Super Foods for Endurance Athletes
Here are six new super foods to try this race season. Add them to your diet during training to fuel for optimum performance and to enhance recovery so you maximize your training potential.
Race Season Super Foods to Fuel You
Chia Seeds: Chia seeds have been quite the media baby recently and for good reason. This super food is a staple in both Native American and Mexican cultures.
Chia, which comes from the Mayan word for “strength,” fueled the Aztec warriors as they went to battle.
Chia seeds are bursting with energy-sustaining fiber and recovery-boosting protein. But they also contain high levels of an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). ALA is essential for energy production in the body.
More: The Importance of Nuts and Seeds in an Athlete's Diet
Chia seeds provide energy in another way. When added to water, chia seeds create a gelatinous substance. According to researchers, it’s thought that this gel forms a barrier between carbohydrates and the stomach’s digestive enzymes, slowing the conversion of carbohydrates to glucose and providing a slow, steady release of blood sugar which may help you stay fueled during long training runs or races.
More: What to Eat During an Ultra