Good Wellness Wednesday!
Bryanna and I will both be giving insight into some athlete diet staples. Last time I talked about stretching and recovery. Like these two topics, nutrition is also an important element in an athlete’s daily regime. If you are like me, you may succumb to the inaccurate belief that just because you burn a lot of calories, you can eat whatever you want. Although you may not “wear” the extra calories, you will not reach optimal performance if you do not properly fuel your body. That is why I want to provide an overview of the key foods that are necessary in an athlete’s diet. I try to include the following foods in my daily diet.
Beans and Legumes
Beans and Legumes are great sources of protein. Although they may not contain as much protein found in chicken or red meat, they contain less saturated fats and more fiber. On days when I don’t feel like cooking, which is most days, I eat my beans from the can. Bryanna adds these are a great source of protein for those no-meat athletes and those who need additional fiber.
Bean and legumes are also great sources of iron as well as of key nutrients. Add to salads, use in sauces or to bake healthy treats.
Fish are also great sources of protein. Fish provide your body with omega-3 fatty acids, which helps reduce inflammation and aids in recovery. Bryanna’s favorite are salmon and Tilipa. She would suggest supplementing with a fish oil, if you don’t consume fish or other sources of essential fatty acids. I don’t eat as much fish I as I would like because I am on a budget, but I have found Costco’s salmon patties to be reasonably priced.
Bryanna also suggests increasing your essential fatty acids to help promote anti-inflammation. Exercise creates a flammatory response, so consuming EFA’s will help reduce inflammation. You an find EFA’s in ground flaxseed, avocados, nuts, fish and tuna.
Dark cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, spinach, and kale have higher concentrations of fiber and antioxidants than other vegetables. I eat spinach or kale just about every day. I put it in my smoothie in the morning or make one of Bryanna’s salad recipes with it.
Bryanna adds to that roasting kale, adding leafy greens to smoothies, stir fry’s or into pasta are great ways to increase your antioxidant intake as well as essential vitamins and minerals. Green veggies are great sources of iron, potassium, vitamin K, B vitamins and more.
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants like vitamin A and C which help lower blood pressure and are rich in Beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Like Spinach and Kale, we eat sweet potatoes just about every day. At restaurants I always ask for sweet potato fries instead of regular fries. I may have an addiction, but at least it is a healthy one.
Berries and Bananas
Raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are also rich in antioxidants and help aid in recovery. Like berries, bananas help replenish your body after a strenuous workout. They are great sources of potassium and help relieve muscle cramps. I usually put bananas and berries in my smoothies.
Ultimately, you should view your relationship with nutrition as a symbiotic friendship. As you nourish your body with good nutrients, your body rewards you by giving you extra energy and strength come race day. Fortunately, most of Bryanna’s recipes are delicious and healthy! Within the next month, I will list some of my favorite recipes on the blog that contain powerhouse ingredients like the ones mentioned above!
Stay tuned for more!! And let us know in the comments your favorite additions to your health diet.
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Kit