9 Superfoods for Athletes
What you eat before and after a workout can greatly affect how you feel and how you play. Choosing your pre- and post-workout meals are an important part of training, health, and not getting sick on the court because you ate four steaks and a slice of cake ten minutes before you started a game.
But what should you eat as an athlete and when should you eat it?
The Best Health Mag came up with nine superfoods athletes (and anybody working out) should eat. So they are broken down here for you in terms of pre- or post-workout appeal. The nine foods equate to five pre-game food choices and five post-game choices. And no, the math is not wrong here.
What Is a Superfood?
Before we look at what specific foods are ‘superfoods,’ let’s address what a superfood even is. According to Food Matters, a superfood is one that is low in calories, but high in nutrients, anti-oxides, and essential nutrients. It is not man-made. These all came from nature.
In other words, these foods give you the most bang for your buck, healthy living speaking.
You do not want to eat a huge meal right before you are doing anything strenuous. Your pre-game meal should be highly digestible, and still have the nutrients you need.
5 Foods that You Should Eat Before a Match
Here are five foods that are good to eat before you do anything athletic.
Millet could also be eaten post-workout, but for now, let’s focus on it as a pre-game food. It is a source of pure protein, and it is great to eat at least three hours before a game.
Bananas are great because they are easy to digest and boost energy. But the high level of nutrients in it also make it a good way to stimulate muscles. So eating a banana 30 minutes or so before a game can really help you hydrate and increase muscle recovery.
However, the people over at Best Health Mag point out that you might not want to eat a banana every day to better avoid developing an allergy.
It is a good idea to eat lots of protein before strenuous activity because it prevents muscle breakdown (and helps muscle growth as well). It is important to eat the right type of protein.
Salmon not only contains a lot of protein, it also helps with joint inflammation. This makes it a great food to eat a few hours before your athletic endeavor.
Beans are high in protein and fiber and a whole other types of nutrients, so they are great additions to any diet. However, they also have another benefit that makes them especially good in a pre-workout meal: they contain a lot of vitamin B, which is an energy boosting vitamin perfect for getting you revved up for a game. Just make sure to eat them a few hours before you do any intense workout.
Carrots contain a lot of vitamin A. In fact, it is about 600% of what you need every day. Vitamin A is a great antioxidant. So eating these before the match can help fight the ‘free radicals’ that build up while you are exercising.
According to the Best Health Mag article, a good way to have carrots, if you can accomplish this, is to juice it to help the digestive process.
After a match, your body has gone through an intense workout and it needs to refuel. What you eat after the game can affect your health and how you feel the next day.
5 Foods that You Should Eat After a Match
Here are five foods that are good to eat after you do anything athletic.
- Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are great sources of protein, calcium, and potassium. Which makes them a great addition to a post-workout smoothie or salad.
Eggs are another food that can be eaten at any time, including mid-workout if you are an endurance athlete. However, a great time to eat this is post-workout. It will boost muscle and bone cell regeneration.
Kefir, which is similar to yogurt, is chock full of vitamins and antioxidants and is great for muscle recovery. It can, however, be expensive, so it might not be good as an everyday source of nutrient.
- Acacia Berries
The vitamins in acacia berries make them great at post-workout muscle contraction aid. If you add them to a shake or smoothie shortly after a match, they can help with this. Plus, they are a great antioxidant.
Acacia berries are a huge trend right now, so you can find them in a lot of different options. However, if you really want to reap the full benefits of this fruit, try to find them in whole form (often in the frozen aisle or in the organic food sections of grocery stores) and then add them to yogurts or drinks.
This is why the math was not wrong earlier. Carrots make a great pre- and post-workout snack, and it was hard to decide where it was best to put them. So they made both lists. Perhaps if you do try the juicing technique mentioned earlier, you can eat a whole carrot now. Or just decide when the best time for you is. Maybe you find that you like eating them before the game but don’t like them after. Or vice versa. Figure out what works best for you.
Eat Healthy, Play Well
The healthier you are, the better you are going to play. So make sure you have a nutrient rich diet. It will get you through the long practices, camp sessions, and matches that you participate in to reach your star player status.