Food plays an important role in success in sports. An appropriate diet can be a deciding factor when it comes to taking the gold medal or facing defeat.
That is why you might often find it referred to as “invisible preparation”. However, the correlation between food and results does not just apply to professional athletes.
If you live in Malaysia and are a big fan of all the lovely food on offer, and find that you can’t fit into your running apparel anymore, you might want to start paying more attention to what you put in your mouth.
Making sure you’re fed with the right foods can help you get the most out of your workout even if you’re a regular Joe (or Jane). Chowing down on the wrong foods can be a formula for gas, bloating, and diarrhoea, none of which you probably want to contend with.
Nuts in general are nature’s fuel source packed with nutrition and energy-stimulating goodness. Almonds are a good example and are often touted by athletes worldwide as a healthy snack. Almonds are a great source of magnesium, manganese and vitamins B and E. They are also high in antioxidant content which essentially leads to faster recovery rates and better endurance for athletic performance. Not a fan of raw nuts? Check out this Chunky Almond Butter that can go great on its own or on a slice of bread, or try Cashew Butter and Chunky Peanut Butter for an assortment of nutty goodness.
Spinach is fuel for muscles. But not because it transforms you into a lean and hot mess. Rutgers University researchers found that a leafy green compound enhances protein development by 120 per cent, allowing the muscle tissue to rebuild itself more efficiently after you work out. The problem, though, is that to see drastic results, you’d have to consume Popeye-sized amounts (we’re talking about nearly 2 pounds of iron-packed veggies a day). The good news is that, even when you’re not exercising, spinach is not the only choice when it comes to foods that can help you lose weight and feel better than ever.
3. Arugula (Rocket Lettuce)
Several research studies have shown that beet juice may boost athletes’ cardiorespiratory endurance by increasing productivity, improving performance and increasing time to exhaustion. To increase your endurance ability, you may have heard of drinking beet juice. The nutrient secret? Naturally occurring nitrates that the body transforms to nitric oxide, a molecule that helps regulate the blood vessels, improves the ability of blood flow and oxygen production, literally the endurance athlete’s rocket fuel.
Arugula, or rocket, does have a higher dietary nitrate content by weight than beets, at around 250 milligrammes of nitrate per 100 grammes. Arugula is part of the cruciferous vegetable family, which, according to promising research, also includes kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, which contain a compound called sulforaphane that, according to promising research, may potentially inhibit cancer cells. You might fancy arugula and eat it straight out of the bag because you just love the taste. However, it is also a lovely salad base, pizza topping, and a tasty addition to rice bowls.
Protein is important to enhance endurance performance, of course, and having enough is a valid concern for athletes who want to make the transition to a diet focused on plants. In the upper range, athletes normally need 1.2 to 2.0 grammes of protein per kilogramme of body weight per day, so you want to think about eating a nice range of protein-rich foods distributed all through the day, especially after intense exercise. Someone of around 70 kilogrammes requires around 100 grammes of protein a day or around 33 grammes of protein per meal.
5. Herring Fish
Australian researchers discovered that during heavy cycling, cyclists who consumed fish oil for eight weeks had lower heart rates as well as consumed less oxygen than the control group did. To take effect, the fatty acids in fish oil need to be integrated into muscle and heart cells, and that takes weeks of intake, so either take fish oil pills every day or try and eat fish rich in fatty acids several times a week to see similar effects.
Berries are some of the most nutritionally rich foods on the planet, and because of their high antioxidant content, they are great for recovery. This helps counter the oxidative damage and inflammation that occurs during exercise and, in a laboratory setting, has been shown to be very successful against muscle pain and in improving recovery. They taste delicious as well and have a better source of carbohydrates. Blueberries and raspberries are great too. Usually, in season or frozen, try to buy berries locally because they cost much less than their fresh counterparts, and they go well in smoothies, pancakes, and oatmeal.
7. Black Coffee
Coffee can not only improve the efficiency of your workout, it can also assist with recovery. Researchers from the University of Georgia found that taking a caffeine boost equal to two cups of coffee post-exercise generally decreased muscle pain more efficiently than pain relievers. This is because caffeine was found to conveniently deactivate pain receptors. Give it a try with these freshly roasted beans from PacificBru Coffee.
You’ve heard it all before, but the truth is a timeless one and for good reason. Bananas are undoubtedly one of the greatest sources of low-calorie goodness comprising electrolytes which need to be replaced right after an intense workout or a big sports tournament.
They’re also high in potassium, making them the ideal snack after the case. Having a banana will help you control your intake of fluid (since before, during and after physical exertion you drink more water). It will protect you from muscle spasms and cramps as well.
Checkpoint Spot, your one-stop race solutions provider.