It’s thought that chia seeds also “pre-hydrate” the body. Because chia seeds are hydropholic, they prolong hydration in the body and help to retain electrolytes and protect against dehydration.
Eat chia with ample amounts of water. Ideally, soak 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia in a cup of water for 10 minutes then drink the gel down. Or, you can toss them into your morning smoothie or oatmeal. Just make sure to drink a large glass of water whenever you eat chia.
You can find chia seeds at nearly any natural food store and even in many standard grocery stores.
Dried Golden Berries: Also known as Incan Berries, golden berries are like nature’s sour patch kids with a massive punch of nutrition.
These powerful little berries are found dried in most natural food markets, and are a perfect pre-run snack—providing an abundance of easily digestible carbohydrates for quick energy.
Surprisingly, golden berries also contain 16 percent protein. Unheard of in most fruits, that protein helps ward of hunger and can help enhance post-exercise recovery, as well.
More: How Berries Also Fight Off Disease
Include 2 tablespoons of golden berries as part of your pre-workout snack. Eaten an hour before your workout, golden berries provide a blast of nutrients, minerals and powerful antioxidants that may help reduce free-radical muscle damage caused by exercise-induced oxidation.
Yerba Mate: The use of caffeine for training is much debated in the world of endurance athletes, but wherever you land on the debate Yerba Mate is worth a try.
Made from the leaves and stems of a South American rainforest tree, Mate is thought to have “the strength of coffee, the benefits of tea, and the euphoria of chocolate all in one.”
Yerba Mate naturally contains 24 vitamins and minerals, 15 recovery-enhancing amino acids and an abundance of antioxidants. With less caffeine then coffee, it provide a jitter-free boost of energy for some athletes.
More: The Facts About Caffeine and Athletic Performance
But Mate is not for everyone. And it’s best to try it during a training run, rather than on race day, to see how your body responds.
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Coconut Water: Most likely, you’ve heard of the many benefits of coconut water, but it begs repetition.
Coconut water is truly natures sports drink. An excellent source of electrolytes, coconut water will provide whole body hydration after exercise, without the harmful sugars and chemicals found in most sports drinks.
Depending training intensity and times, you may want to add a small pinch of sea salt (my favorite is Himalayan pink sea salt) to your coconut water for a more diverse electrolyte balance.
For the ultimate super food recovery, make your own full-spectrum sports drink by blending 8 ounces coconut water, 2 dates and a pinch of sea salt. Drink immediately after your workout.
More: Protect Your Body with This Coconut Smoothie