If you’re a regular gym-goer, exercise enthusiast or a fitness junkie, you may want to add these superfoods to your grocery list!
The lowdown: Beetroot is an excellent superfood for endurance athletes since it increases blood flow to muscles. Studies have shown that over time, regular beetroot juice consumption can reduce the amount of oxygen needed by muscles during moderate intensity exercise, thereby improving the body’s efficiency and tolerance to higher intensity exercise and increasing endurance. Try juicing beetroot with an apple for a tasty performance-boosting drink.
The lowdown: Nut butters are loaded with muscle-fuelling protein and healthy fats for sustained energy, making them a favourite pre-workout snack. Try a tablespoon spread on a rice cake or on celery stalks to get a protein hit pre-exercise.
The lowdown: Chia seeds boast almost twice as much protein than other seeds and grains, providing fuel for muscles and assisting muscle regeneration. They also contain around five times more calcium than milk and are a particularly easy form of calcium for the body to absorb, helping to maintain bone density and prevent osteoporosis. They are packed with potassium (around double that contained in bananas!), known to balance electrolyte levels in the body, thereby helping to regulate heartrate and prevent muscle cramps. This is of particular importance for runners and other endurance athletes. Chia seeds make a great snack 15-20 minutes post-workout.
You can add a handful of chia seeds to your post-workout smoothie, or sprinkle over a bowl of fruit.
The lowdown: Kefir is a fermented milk product similar to yoghurt and is one of the best sources of natural probiotics. Rich in vitamins B1 and B2, calcium, folic acid, magnesium, and vitamin A, kefir is extremely easy to digest thanks to its unique fermentation process. This lets the body focus on absorbing nutrients and protein, required for muscle growth and repair. Kefir also contains the essential amino acid Tryptophan, which helps to relax the nervous system and contributes to serotonin production. Serotonin - our ‘happy hormone’ - helps to promote healthy sleep, making kefir the perfect food for late-night exercisers. Kefir makes a quick and easy recovery snack 30 minutes post-workout. We recommend adding some ground flaxseed or chia seeds to your kefir to give your digestive system a healthy boost.
The lowdown: Bananas make an ideal pre-workout snack, since they’re easy to digest and a great source of energy – just two bananas can provide enough energy for a 90-minute workout! More importantly, however, is the potassium and sodium found in bananas, which play key roles in muscle stimulation. Readily available and easy to transport, bananas are the perfect grab-and-go workout snack!