Do Athletes Need Superfoods?
You've probably heard the term "superfood" thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? And are these so-called "miraculous" foods really that much better than other nutritious options? These are important questions to consider, especially if you're an athlete or someone who is serious about their fitness and wants to maintain a healthy diet.
At Whole Supp, there's a reason why we prioritise superfoods in our formulation, but it's equally important to be aware of foods that may not live up to the "super" label. In this article, we're going to dive into the science of superfoods, explore their incredible benefits, and reveal how they can complement a well-balanced diet.
What are superfoods?
From a nutritional standpoint, the term "superfood" is essentially just marketing jargon. While it doesn't have a set definition, the word is used to describe foods that are rich in nutrients and believed to have a positive impact on health.
So, why all the hype? Superfoods have become increasingly popular in recent years, due in part to their perceived health benefits, which include the following:
- Rich in nutrients: Superfoods are densely packed with various nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are essential for our bodies to function optimally. These nutrients help maintain good heart health, boost the immune system, enhance brain function, and much more.
- Low in calories: Most superfoods are low in calories while being high in nutrients, making them an excellent choice for those looking to maintain a healthy weight or shed some pounds.
- Reduce disease risk: Consuming superfoods can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
Sporting performance and food
A healthy lifestyle begins with what you put in your body and this is especially important when it comes to training and sports. No matter how hard you train or how much you improve your skills, inadequate nutrition can hinder your body's ability to perform, recover, and limit your potential.
Athletes can gain a nutritional edge and improve performance by complementing their dietary regimens with superfoods. There are a number of fruits, vegetables, roots and seeds which offer an edge to recovery, ultimately leading to improved performance.
4 Superfoods for athletes
As an athlete, your body needs specific nutrients to fuel itself, recover, and continue to improve performance. Incorporating the right balance of superfoods can provide these essential nutrients. Let's explore the top superfoods that have potential performance-enhancing benefits for athletes:
Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, berries help combat oxidative stress and inflammation induced by intense physical exercise. They are also packed with fibre, boosting your satiety and promoting healthy digestion.
Several studies suggest that including berries and cherries in your diet can potentially reduce muscle damage, alleviate soreness, and speed up recovery. This is due to their high anthocyanin content, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
At Whole Supp, we're passionate about crafting nutritionally complete meals that not only fuel your body, but also provide a wholesome, balanced experience. That's why we've incorporated the remarkable power of cherries into our formulations.
Looking for some ways to incorporate berries into your diet? Try blending a handful of mixed berries with 2 scoops of Whole Supp, and your favourite plant-based milk for a nutritious post-workout recovery drink. You could also sprinkle some berries onto a salad for an antioxidant punch. A mix of spinach, crumbled feta, thinly sliced almonds, and a generous portion of berries makes for a refreshing and hearty meal.
Flaxseeds have long been hailed as a superfood and for good reason! Despite their tiny size, they pack an astonishing nutritional punch. Athletes can benefit from the rich amounts of omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseeds, as they can reduce inflammation and aid muscle fibre regeneration. What's more, flaxseeds have the highest percentage of the essential omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) found in any plant-based source, making this quite the superstar superfood.
Flaxseeds are also packed in calcium, magnesium and manganese. Manganese is especially important for athletes as it plays a key role in helping your body recover from strains, sprains and post-exercise exhaustion.
Incorporating flaxseeds into your diet can be easy and effortless. Try blending a tablespoon of ground flaxseed into your smoothie for a nice texture, add it to yogurt or mix it into a homemade pudding.
And at Whole Supp, we've harnessed the extraordinary potential of flaxseeds, carefully blending them with other superfoods like cherries, spinach, beetroot and algae to fuel your athletic journey.
Spinach is a true superfood, packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and disease-preventing phytochemicals that make it a valuable addition to your diet. And if you're working out, spinach can do wonders for your performance. That's because it's loaded with antioxidants that stave off harmful free radicals, the culprits behind muscle fatigue and delayed recovery after a tough workout.
But what makes spinach truly remarkable is its high levels of dietary nitrates. Studies have shown that nitrates can improve athletic performance by making the mitochondria in our cells more efficient – these are the powerhouses that keep us going.
So how can you get more spinach into your diet? Try blending it into a smoothie with your favorite fruits, using it as a base for a delicious salad, steaming it as a side dish, or tossing it into a stir-fry for an extra nutrient boost. We’ve even added spinach into our formulation to help you
We at Whole Supp know just how beneficial spinach can be, and that's why we've put it to work in our expertly crafted blends, alongside other powerful superfoods like cherries and flaxseeds. Get ready to unleash the full potential of these mighty ingredients and take your health to the next level!
Turmeric, well-known for its main component curcumin, is considered one of nature's most powerful anti-inflammatory unsung heroes. When you engage in high-intensity workouts, your body undergoes stress leading to inflammation and muscle pain. But adding turmeric to your diet can help. One study found that football players who took a turmeric supplement experienced less inflammation and muscle soreness than those who didn't. Additionally, curcumin can boost antioxidant capacity and fight off oxidative stress caused by intense physical activity. Hence, athletes who consume turmeric may experience less muscle damage and fatigue, and find themselves bouncing back from strenuous workout sessions more quickly.
Want to incorporate turmeric into your diet? You can spice up your dishes by adding a dash of turmeric to your omelettes, baked potatoes, or rice; blend it into your smoothies to give them a vibrant colour and enhance their nutritional content; brew a cup of turmeric tea by boiling water with half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and adding sweetener or lemon; combine it with milk, honey, and pepper to make golden milk, a soothing bedtime drink; or simply add it to your soups and salads for extra taste and refreshment.
Are superfoods enough?
As an athlete or someone who enjoys engaging in physical activities, it's crucial to understand the importance of balanced nutrition. While incorporating superfoods like turmeric into your diet can have many benefits, relying solely on them may not provide all the nutrients that your body needs. This is why a balanced diet should always form the basis of your nutrition, supplemented with superfoods for optimal health. A balanced diet for athletes includes a variety of nutrient-rich foods from all food groups.
This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and healthy fats. These foods provide the essential vitamins, minerals, and energy that athletes need to perform at their best.