Written by Charlotte Campbell
Superfoods are everywhere nowadays, and sometimes it can be hard to narrow down which superfoods you should be including in your regular diet. Here, we’ve compiled our Sporting Superfoods. Consider it your cheat sheet to help your beat your competitors and your own personal bests:
Sporting Superfood Power: Getting Your Head In The Game
Tea contains theanine, an amino acid linked to improved attention and alertness. It also provides a caffeine hit, but over 50% less than in the same amount of coffee, making it much better for sportspeople who are prone to sensitive stomachs.
Sporting Superfood Power: Stealth Protein
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAH) may look like rice’s basic cousin, but this superfood has almost twice as much protein as any other grain. It’s versatility makes it a home cook’s best friend. Bulk buy it and use to make porridge, dessert, curries, to bulk out stews… the list is as long as your imagination.
Bonus Points: it contains all nine of the essential amino acids our bodies need to build lean muscle and aid post exercise recovery. There aren’t many other foods that can boast that accolade!
Sporting Superfood Power: Energy
Nuts are a high calorie snack which contain plenty of natural fibre. This means your body gets a good boost of energy, plus the means to keep that energy level stable for longer.
Bonus points: nuts are a great source of monosaturated fat that help your body regulate cholesterol and help keep your heart ticking along efficiently.
Sporting Superfood Power: Hydration
Small but mighty, chia seeds are packed with hydrophillic properties. Basically, that means they are brilliant at retaining moisture (they can absorb more than twelve times their weight!). In doing this, they help the body regulate it’s absorption of nutrients and prolonging hydration. So, you can spend more time practising and less time at the water fountain.
Bonus Points: chia seeds have three times the amount of antioxidants as blueberries, so you’re body will get a real boost in its battle with harmful free radicals.
Sporting Superfood Power: Recovery
A mid sized banana will give you around 420mg of potassium. This mineral is brilliant at regulating fluids in the body, helping you avoid muscle cramps. It’s important to replenish your body’s potassium stores after doing sports, as it is lost as you sweat.
Bonus Points: As their sweet taste suggests, bananas are full of natural sugar, so they make a very good pre workout snack if you need a natural jolt of energy.
Sporting Superfood Power: Fast Acting Support
Whey protein is very easy and quick for the body to absorb and use, making it very popular for sportspeople. In it’s popular protein-shake form, it can be consumed on the go, which is handy considering most sports don’t take place near your kitchen counter! Like quinoa, whey protein contains all the amino acids the body needs to prevent muscle breakdown, but it is digested by the body even quicker.
Bonus Points: Contains minimal fat and cholesterol.
Sporting Superfood Power: Quick Energy
Coconuts get a bad rep, with claims that they are high in saturated fat. However, they contain Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) – which are fatty acids of a medium length. This means that unlike the fats found in red meat or cheese, for example, the body can easily break down these chains to turn them into energy. If you don’t want to dissect a hairy coconut just before a competition, dried coconut is a solid plan B.
Sporting Superfood Power: Immunity
This Wimbledon favourite is a vitamin C stacked treat. Coming down with a cold can make even the toughest athlete feel like a loser, so keeping a regular vitamin C intake as part of your nutritional plan is vital. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and fights off symptoms of the common cold, as well as ensuring you don’t suffer from scurvy.
Sporting Superfood Power: Endurance
Oatmeal is high in energy and in fibre, so it is ideal for endurance sports where steady energy levels are key. A bowl of porridge or a flapjack on the go is often a staple for marathon, triathlon and other long distance sportspeople.
Sporting Superfood: Fatigue Fighter
There’s a lot of buzz around kale, and it seems this superfood is finally getting the attention it deserves. Kale gives the body lots of iron, which is vital to anyone taking part in sports activities. Firstly, iron helps create red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. That’s important because the more efficient your body is at delivering oxygen, the harder and longer your body can exercise. Secondly, iron helps to combat fatigue in a number of clever ways. Have you ever seen a sleepy Olympian before their event? Didn’t think so!