Ok we all need a little extra boost when we are training, but where do we start? What foods are good for endurance? If you had just 7 foods to give you that extra edge which foods would you stock up on in your kitchen? Health and Fitness expert- Jamie Lloyd explains…
Chia Seeds. These little beauties are becoming highly popular amongst endurance athletes these days. The little seed either in white, black or dark brown has a massive nutritional profile. They are a great source of Omega 3 fats and fibre. But are also packed with calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. They come from a flowering plant in Mexico and Guatemala and have proven to boost endurance, increase energy, ease digestion, stabilise blood sugar levels and lower your cholesterol.
Protein Power! Chia seeds also give you a protein kick too as one 28 gram serving contains 4.4 grams of protein, so they are great to blend into a smoothie for extra energy.
Beetroot. Ok let’s not BEET you round the bush, its scientifically proven this wonderful root vegetable helps reduce delayed onset muscle soreness and cleanses the liver. Yes they are a great all round superfood and help boost performance! They contain Nitrates which help widen blood vessels in the body which increases blood flow and increases oxygen levels. If you need a boost to make it through your next training session beetroot juice may again give you an extra boost. Studies from the Journal Of Applied Physiology (2009) suggest that those who drank beet juice prior to exercise were able to exercise for up to 16 percent longer. The benefit is thought to also be related to nitrates turning into nitric oxide, which may reduce the oxygen cost of low-intensity exercise as well as enhance tolerance to high-intensity exercise. If you're considering beetroot as one of your 5-a-day, it contains potassium, magnesium, iron, vitamins A, B6 and C, folic acid, carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants and soluble fibre. Try making a great cleansing juice- beetroot, carrot, celery, apple and ginger.
Lucuma. This superfood provides 14 essential trace elements, including a considerable amount of potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Try Tribes Wild Apricot and Lucuma bar its very tasty, not only that it contains 184 calories per bar! According to My Fitness Pal, 1 tablespoon of lucuma provides 2 percent of the recommended daily value for iron, which may help stimulate the immune system and improve physical endurance. So don’t forget to load up on this before you go on a long run!
Goji Berries. These have a great source of vitamins and minerals. They contain 8 essential amino acids and have the highest concentration of protein from any fruit. They are great for popping into your morning porridge or even snacking on the go. They also contain significant amounts of vitamin C so they boost your immune system and they contain 15 times more iron than spinach! Now is that a fact! So when you are feeling a bit sluggish, load up on these delicious berries to give you that extra edge.
Raw Cacao. Great on its own or in a smoothie! Surprisingly, raw cacao contains high concentrations of magnesium and nearly four times the antioxidant content of regular processed dark chocolate, 20 times more than blueberries, and 119 times more than bananas. Raw (naturally fermented) cacao and processed chocolate sold in bars and shops, are two very different foods. Processed chocolate is made with roasted cocoa, sugar, milk, and other ingredients that turn it into a solid food. Studies have proven that by adding dairy this actually blocks the absorption of antioxidants in chocolate. While processed chocolate may taste delicious, the true benefits of cacao are only discovered in its raw and natural form.
Cherries. A great little snack on the go! Packed full of anti-oxidants and provide a wide range of benefits, as well as performance and recovery to athletes. They are full of the chemical-melatonin, a phytochemical helpful in regulating sleep. Studies have shown that drinking tart cherry juice concentrate increases melatonin levels. This improves sleep duration and quality. Add a dose of tart cherry juice to your bedtime snack to sleep like a log which will see you bouncing out of bed and hitting another days training!
Matcha Tea. This is packed full of anti-oxidants called catechins and is becoming the drink of choice amongst endurance athletes. It also has amounts of polyphenols increases fat oxidisation as it increases the capacity for fat burning during exercise by reducing the amount of free radicals that inhibit fat metabolism. It also boosts endurance as it contains caffeine which also when drank before any event can have a positive impact and can help improve endurance.
Jamie Lloyd is a Health and Fitness Coach based in London. He’s an endurance specialist and competes in Kettlebells and recently cycled from London to Paris in 24 hours. He is available for personal training, group fitness training and nutrition coaching. www.jamielloydfitness.com