Top 3 Natural Energy Boosting Foods for Athletes
Energy drinks and supplements have flooded the market as an over-worked, over-trained, over-stressed society grabs for anything in reach to get us through the day. I generally recommend caution with these products as ingredients in them might not be the safest or healthiest choice for most of us. For a natural pick-me up, include the following foods, along with enough rest in your health regimen:
- Neutral, Filtered Water – while not a food at all, water is a substance that we ingest, and lots of water helps our bodies function properly, flush out toxins and run on all cylinders. If you aren’t well hydrated, your energy will surely lag. Pure, clean water will do your body best. Choose 10 stage carbon filtration systems for your water like New Wave Enviro brand or Pur Faucet filters and aim for a pH of your water close to 7, which is considered neutral.
- Green Tea – green tea’s energy supplying properties can be contributed to caffeine. Some of us metabolize caffeine differently than others, which translates into caffeine being a no-no for some, but a winner for others. You can usually tell by the way you feel when you drink caffeine-containing beverages if you tolerate it well and when you have had too much. Caffeine in moderation has some athletic enhancing benefits in addition to supplying an energy boost, like increasing mental sharpness. If caffeine agrees with you, green tea is a top choice because it also provides antioxidants which fight against damaging oxidative stress. Look for green teas that are organic, certified fair trade, and made from real tea leaves. Brewing your own tea is cost effective and wholesome. If you are looking for a pre-bottled version, choose a tea in a glass bottle rather than plastic, like Honest Tea’s “Just Green Tea” (honesttea.com).
- High Glycemic Fruits – While a low glycemic diet is normally recommended, athletes need high glycemic foods during training or an event, or during their recovery period to quickly replenish glucose and glycogen stores. Organic versions of dates, watermelon, pineapple, peaches, oranges, grapes, apples and bananas provide antioxidants and a plethora of vitamins and minerals, providing natural oxidation fighters, transporters and builders that help your body’s system run at its peak, while offering a quick energy boost. I always have a banana in my gym bag for those instances when I just need a little more to help me push through a workout, and all of these fruits make delicious recovery shakes when mixed with protein.
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