5 Wonder Foods for Athletes
We train all types of athletes at EZIA: surfers, softball players, golfers, MMA fighters, triathletes, soccer players, equestrians, rugby players and at all levels, from little leaguers & high schoolers to weekend warriors, amateurs & the professional elite. Whatever your athletic profession, 3 things are key to your success: performance & skill development, recovery and body composition.
As an athlete, what you put in your body will either fuel you or fail you. A food that fuels you keeps your metabolism operating efficiently, offering you energy and repair from oxidative stress. The intense stress an athlete’s body & mind is subjected to requires efficient and rapid removal of waste & toxins and prevention of inflammation. Every sport and even position within the sport, requires a unique body composition. It’s no secret that your diet can make or break you in that department.
These foods are nutrient dense super foods to incorporate into a healthy diet. They are not meant to replace protein or fiber sources, and best utilized in smoothies, salads, drinks (i.e. added to healthy alternatives to Gatorade), yogurt, acai bowls, and if you consume grains: oatmeal or quinoa.
Chia… the super seed! Low calorie and nutrient dense, they were once known as fuel for ancient Aztec warriors! The tiny seeds are packed with vitamins, minerals (such as calcium & magnesium), antioxidants, protein, fiber, healthy Omega 3 fat and aid in reducing inflammation, increasing stamina, burning fat & protecting the heart.
Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research reported Chia as an effective source of fuel for endurance athletes.
“Under our conditions, Omega 3 Chia loading appears a viable option for enhancing performance for endurance events lasting >90 minutes and allows athletes to decrease their dietary intake of sugar while increasing their intake of Omega 3 fatty acids…”
Chia seeds are very fibrous and when soaked in liquid they swell up to a jelly like texture (the outershell as an ability to absorb up to 10x its weight in water).
Hemp Seeds Another ‘super seed’’. The macro and micro nutrient profile of this little seed is quite remarkable. They contain bioavailable complete protein, both soluble and insoluble fiber and is an excellent plant source of omega 3 fatty acid. Further more, the ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 is ideal. What that means for you? It will aid your body in managing inflammation, protecting your heart, supporting muscle growth and eliminating toxins.
The little seeds also offer B Vitamins Vitamin E, Iron, Magnesium & Zinc, but no worries, no THC.
Bee Pollen is revered as a ‘miracle drug’. Bee Pollen contains complete protein, almost a complete B complex and a nutrient profile that meets the vital needs of humans. Bee Pollen can support the immune system, increase stamina, boost energy, help maintain healthy weight & even moderate allergies when using local bee pollen.
When using bee pollen, I highly suggest using local bee pollen.
Maca, also known as “Peruvian Ginseng”, is a root found in the Andes. It has been used for strength & stamina, bone support, recovery, stabilizing blood sugar as libido and mood enhancers and even fertility. Admittedly, the research on Maca is relatively small, but growing research is offering praise to another ‘wonder food’.
If you were to choose only 1 of these 5 foods, I suggest Coconut Oil. Coconut Oil is such a therapeutic and beneficial food to anyone’s diet, especially an athlete’s. It is an excellent source of fuel and has anti inflammatory properties. It can be utilized raw or cooked/baked into recipes and if your sport keeps outside for an extended amount of time, it can be used topically to soothe the skin. You can read more on my blog on The Health Benefits of Coconut Oil.
Whether you are a high school volleyball player, a surfer, a climber, an indoor soccer player competing in between 40 hour work weeks or a professional football player this applies to you, but the truth is, these foods are beneficial for everyone, ‘athlete’ or not.
Nutrition Coach Michelle Uher
llian, T.G., Casey, J.C., and Bishop, P.A. (2011). Omega 3 chia seed loading as a means of carbohydrate loading. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 25, 1, 61–65
ecera R, et al. The influence of maca (Lepidium meyenii) on antioxidant status, lipid and glucose metabolism in rat. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. (2007)