Top 11 Superfoods For Endurance Athletes | Healthy Foods For A Balanced Diet

– Supporting your triathlon training with
a good, balanced diet is
essential for your performance.
Today, I’m looking gonna be
looking at which superfoods
can give you that natural boost.
(robotic burst)
– Let’s start by addressing
the term or word “superfood.”
Now, many nutritionists
actually shudder at the thought
of that word, because there
is no one singular food
that can give you that amazing
boost, that can make you a
better, faster, stronger
athlete overnight.
It is about a combination
of various nutritious foods
combined with a training plan
that will make you a better athlete.
That said, some foods pack more of a punch
when it comes to their
nutrient values than others.
It is these nutrient-rich
foods that are thought
to actually be more beneficial
to our overall health.
But before we go into the
foods that I’ve chosen,
I had to obviously cap it somewhere,
and I couldn’t include every
food that’s good for you.
And I did some research,
spoke to some experts,
and I have chosen my 11
favourite superfoods.
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Starting with eggs.
The standout reason for eating eggs
is for their protein
content, because they contain
all of the essential amino acids
and they’re easy to digest.
Now, on top of this
macro-nutrient, they’ve also got
vitamins, minerals,
omega-3, and antioxidants.
Well, all of this combined
makes them great for
muscle synthesis and recovery.
Well, one of the important
parts for me about the egg
is that it’s convenient and it’s cheap.
Now, admittedly, much to
my colleagues’ disapproval,
I do quite often have a
hard boiled egg in my bag,
which comes out for a mid-morning snack.
But if you don’t want to
upset your colleagues,
there’s so many ways in which
you can include eggs into your nutrition.
A great way is to make a Spanish omelette.
So you’re gonna have
it hot in the evening,
maybe make a large one and
then use the other half
for breakfast if you’re
on the go the next day.
It’s also a great way for using up
all the contents in your fridge.
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Next, we have kale.
Now, this one does get some mixed reviews,
but it’s definitely become pretty
fashionable in the next few years.
And I remember as a child
actually hating eating kale
and my parents now are
laughing at me because
I include this in quite a lot of my meals.
Well, this comes from the cabbage family
and it’s really high in vitamins
A, K, B6, iron and calcium.
This supergreen food is full
of antioxidants, carotieoids,
and flavenoids, which are great for
the anti-inflamitory process,
something really important
for athletes because we put
so much stress on our bodies.
And talking about putting
stress on our bodies,
we also need a higher
amount of calcium and iron.
So it comes in really handy for that,
especially for female
athletes, and those who maybe
don’t eat meat or dairy.
So you might be wondering how to make
this vegetable exciting or tasty.
Well, recently, I actually
experimented with popping it
in the roasting oven with
a bit of coconut oil and
some almonds, which toasted nicely
and it came out really crispy.
Another option is obviously
steaming veg or boiling it,
but if you do cook it this
way, just try to keep it
to a minimum, because
you don’t want to lose
those vital micro-nutrients.
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Next up, we’ve go the humble
root vegetable, the beetroot.
Well, this has increased
in popularity recently
partly because of its
high antioxidant level
in the form of anthocyanin.
But more recently and more
significantly for sport,
it is because of its
high levels of nitrate.
Now, studies have actually
suggested that consuming
high levels of nitrate can
help with athletic performance,
especially when it comes
to endurance athletes.
This veg has become so
popular that you even see it
popping up in cakes, although
I would not recommend
trying to get your nitrate
quantities out of a
red velvet cake, for
example, because the amount
of cake you’d have to
eat to get enough nitrate
would certainly cancel
out the benefit there.
But there are so many other ways in which
you can use this veg.
You can pop it into other bits of baking,
but probably best kept as a savoury dish,
either roasting it, you
can grate it in salads,
or add it into smoothies and juices.
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Another root vegetable, the sweet potato.
Now, this one has a lot
more health benefits
over the bog-standard white potato.
One of which being the fact
that it has plenty of fibre
and slow-releasing carbohydrates.
But on top of that, it also
contains beta carotene,
giving you vitamin A, it
also has plenty of vitamin C,
so it’s packed full of antioxidants.
They also help to lower blood pressure,
and they’re a great food for athletes,
because they are so packed
with vitamins and minerals.
They include the likes of
potassium, iron, manganese
and copper, all vitamins that athletes are
quite often susceptible to lacking.
And the latter two, copper and manganese,
are great for healthy muscle function.
Well again, how to use
this root vegetable?
There are so many simple
options, roast it, mash it,
slice it and have it fried with breakfast,
or you could even put it in brownies,
although I’d suggest keeping
that one to a minimum.
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One of the most convenient foods
from this superfood list
is the humble banana.
Not only comes in its own
environmentally-friendly packaging,
it also packs a punch nutritionally,
while it’s full of
potassium and vitamin B6.
They’ll keep your blood
sugar levels more stable
as well as replenishing
your carbohydrates,
as well as actually aiding digestion.
So, it’s no wonder that
we often see cyclists
with bananas in their back pockets,
and at races or other
events you have bananas
chopped up as part of a snack.
And these are one of the
easiest things to incorporate
in your food, you can
pop them into smoothies,
chop them up in your cereal,
you can even experiment a little bit,
and I’ve been making
some ice cream with them,
freezing them, adding a bit of milk,
and then blitzing that,
and it’s a pretty yummy,
but healthy desert.
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The perfect recovery drink, milk.
You cannot get away from the
healthy benefits of cows milk.
Now sports recovery drinks
have a ratio of three to one,
three parts carbohydrate
to one part protein.
Which is designed for optimal recovery
straight after a workout.
Well, that’s the exactly same
ratio that you find in milk.
On top of this it’s also
got high levels of calcium
and vitamin D, essential
for healthy bones,
and especially with
doing triathlon running,
we’re putting a lot of stresses and doing
micro damage to our bones, so calcium
and vitamin D are needed in abundance.
Milk is the obvious food
for calcium and vitamin D,
but it also aids hydration,
but if you don’t want to
drink it, then you can look
at other dairy products
to get those micronutrients, such as
yoghourt, creme fresh,
cheese, cottage cheese,
the list goes on.
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Not the sexiest of superfoods,
next we have whole grains.
Now, these have been
raved about for the last
10 years or so, mainly
because of their low
glycemic index or GI.
Which means, they basically
got very slow releasing
carbohydrates, but there is so much more
to this group of grains.
Foods such as brown
rice, whole wheat pasta,
barley, and quinoa, like I have here,
are also high in fibre and protein.
Which makes them great
sustained energy release,
as well as slowing down your digestion,
and the fibre is also thought to help
maintain good gut bacteria.
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Today I have specifically chosen
walnuts, because this is the nut that
actually has the largest
percentage of omega-3,
as well as having vitamin
B’s and vitamin E.
On top of this, it’s got
selenium, zinc, calcium,
and iron all packed into this little nut.
And something we haven’t really
mentioned so far, are fats.
Now, all nuts contain good fats,
so the monounsaturated
and polyunsaturated fat.
So, all in all, it
makes this little walnut
great for brain health as well as helping
with physical recovery from training.
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This next one is cocoa, and
before you get too excited,
no, I’m afraid I’m not
talking about the chocolate
confectionery that you might find
at your local supermarket checkout.
Cocoa is actually full of antioxidants
which is great for your
cardiovascular health,
as well as defending
against free radicals.
It also contains high levels of magnesium,
and I found a study
recently, well actually
quite a few studies, suggesting that
having high levels of
cocoa can actually help
protect your skin against sun, but
I’m not suggesting that you replace eating
chocolate, for your sun cream.
Right, let set the record straight, as to
what I’m talking about
when I talk about cocoa.
While it is the purest form of coco.
So when it comes to chocolate for example,
you want to find a dark chocolate
that says it has a high
percentage of coco or cocoa.
So, for example, this dark
chocolate here is 85 percent.
I’m gonna have to try some of that later.
Or, you could go for
something like cocao powder,
which again, is full of
all the same benefits,
and this you can use
in baking or you could
even use it in savoury dishes and sauces.
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Alright, now we’ve got chia seeds.
These are dense in nutrients, they’ve got
protein, fibre, calcium, and iron
as well as having high
levels of antioxidants
which actually surprised me, plus omega-3.
You can obviously, get them in seed form,
or as we have here, the milled version.
But it’s worth noting as
well, that flax seeds,
or otherwise known as lin seeds,
these have very similar
nutritional values,
but you usually find they
come in a little bit cheaper,
so a great alternative.
(mellow music)
Now I’m not a nutritionist,
but I always say
that anything that is this rich in colour,
is pretty likely to be packed
full of goodness and nutrients.
Well, the cherry is no exception,
and one of the selling
points of the cherry,
is the fact that it is
full of antioxidants.
So, it works really well
as an anti-inflammatory,
and athletes, and sports nutritionists
have been experimenting with cherry juice,
actually having higher
concentrates with a cherry
shot to help aid that
anti-inflammatory process.
The hardest part for
this video was actually
nailing it down to just 11 superfoods.
But as I mentioned at the start,
incorporating all of
these foods into a healthy
balanced diet, is the best
way to get the benefit
from all of the different nutrients.
And admittedly, some of them do overlap,
so it is going to be
a matter of trying out
what you like, and also
something that you’re
realistically going to include in
your everyday cooking on a regular basis.
But anyway, enough talking of this food,
I think it’s time I went
and did some baking.
Got my fingers a little bit dirty,
and you might be feeling
to go and do so as well.
But before you do, make
sure you hit the globe
to subscribe, hit the thumb up button
if you’ve liked this video, and if
you are interested in how you can get some
of these vitamins or minerals
from a supplement form,
we’ve actually done a
video looking at five
supplements for triathlon.
You can find that just here, and Mark
recently made a video looking into
whether you should train when you’re ill,
and that’s just here.

William Babineau

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