Power Foods for Race Day
Providing the right type of nutrients at the right time can make or break your performance and your energy.
Honey has been considered a power food by some researches who are even declaring it an ergogenic aid. We know that honey has power benefits because of its wound healing ability. During the ancient Olympics, athletes were known to eat special foods, such a honey and dried figs, to enhance their sports performance. Some of the current science finds that honey maintains optimal blood sugar levels for two hours after a workout. Research also found honey to aid in muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration.
More: 50 Ways to Feed Your Muscles
Quinoa is an amino acid rich seed (not actually a grain). Quinoa packs a punch in the protein world and contains 11 grams of protein in as little as a ½ cup. Quinoa is rich in magnesium, potassium, zinc, vitamin E, riboflavin and even a little iron. Considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa has a good amount of lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. One phytonutrient abundant in quinoa, is lignans, when converted in the gut is thought to protect against breast cancer and heart disease.
More: 5 Heart-Healthy Nutrients for Athletes
Steel Cut Oats
Steel cut oats contain a fiber known as beta-glucan. Starting out your day with blood sugar stabilizing oats keeps your own levels stable for the rest of the day! Oats, with their high fiber content, are known to help remove cholesterol from the body. Antioxidants, called avenanthramides, found in oats, protect against, free radical damage. To make your breakfast more powerful add a little whey protein powder, pumpkin seeds and berries.
Pumpkin seeds are a stellar source of magnesium, which keeps energy and metabolism high. In animal studies, the addition of pumpkin seeds to the diet has compared favorably with other anti-inflammatory drugs in reducing symptoms. Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron, copper, and zinc.
More: 3 Kid-Friendly Pumpkin Recipes
Cinnamon is considered a power food because of its ability to slow the release of arachidonic acid from cells placing into the anti-inflammatory category of food. Also, when you season higher carbohydrate foods with cinnamon it may also help to stabilize blood sugar levels. When it comes to competition, cinnamon is considered a powerful antioxidant. When compared to other spices, cinnamon actually prevented oxidative stress more effectively.
Power Foods to Soothe Aches and Pains
It's normal to feel a little achy after a tough workout, but cramps or pain could mean you're low on electrolytes like potassium or magnesium. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps to control the fluid balance in the cells and magnesium is important for consistent cellular energy production. Try these foods below to make sure your electrolytes are well-controlled and your inflammation is in check.
To boost potassium levels, try avocados. They actually contain more potassium than bananas! The fat found in avocados is oleic acid; it is considered a monounsaturated fat and known to help lower cholesterol.
Pacific Sardines are the number one fish for packing a punch when it comes to omega-3s. They are known to be the most concentrated source. They are low in calories and low in mercury so eat them up as a recovery snack. Sardines are also a good source of B12. Vitamin B12 promotes cardiovascular well-being by keeping homocysteine levels low. Sardines are a rich source of bone building Vitamin D. Vitamin D plays a role in bone health by increasing the absorption of calcium. Sardines are also a good source of phosphorus, which is a mineral that is important in strengthening the bone matrix.
More: Nutrition Tips for Better Bone Health