Exercise is a key ingredient for a healthy lifestyle for everything from weight loss to aging gracefully, but did you know there are healthy foods that can help your high energy exercise workouts before and after? Whether you exercise a lot or a little, your body needs the right healthy foods to give it the energy to perform. For those who are really into doing high energy workouts or sports, this is even more vital. Here are some of the food categories to make sure you include in your diet to support your body for intense, high energy exercise.
You need protein to build strong muscle and maintain muscle integrity and strength. Protein also keeps blood cells healthy which is important for getting nutrients and oxygen to the muscles. Good proteins come from lean sources such as beans, soy, and dairy, whole grains, sprouts, nuts, leafy greens and if you need a meat fix then opt for white meat chicken, turkey or seafood. Be sure to take the skin off the chicken before cooking as it contains lots of saturated fat. Whole grain rice combined with beans makes a tasty complete protein. The whole algae cell form of AFA bluegreen algae gives your body access to proteins necessary for physical energy. AFA bluegreen algae is not only a rich source of protein, but also contains all eight of the essential amino acids in perfect balance recommended for people. According to Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD, sports nutrition expert, author and nutrition professor at Georgia State University in Atlanta, consuming protein after exercise is best so that it can repair and build muscle.
Your body can only easily digest a certain amount of carbohydrates before it then converts those carbs to fat to store away so it’s important to eat the right kinds of carbs and limit them according to your activity level. Eating carbohydrates after a workout helps your body produce insulin which is needed for muscle building. They also help replenish your energy after an extreme workout by replacing glycogen and glucose. Many experts also recommend adding a lean source of protein such as chicken or dairy to your after exercise complex carb grain snack. Eating foods with carbohydrates from whole grains such as wheat bread, brown rice, and cereals can help increase levels of serotonin and are absorbed slowly by the body which means they help keep blood sugar levels stable and keep your energy level stable. Eating bread, cereals, rice, fruits or vegetables before exercise gives your body the carbs it needs for the energy to do a workout.
Drinking lots of pure water helps flush toxins out of the body, replaces the fluid lost from sweating during exercise, and keeps the circulation and body organs working efficiently. Water is essential to every function in your body, and the more stressed your body is, the more water you need. So the more high energy your workout is, the more hydration you need. Since extreme physical activity can increase your body temperature, water is needed to keep your body temperature down to safe levels. Whenever possible, avoid chlorine and other additives to your water. Chlorine tends to kill the beneficial bacteria in the gut, your first line of defense against illness. Stay away from tap water and drink plenty of spring or filtered water to keep your body pure and detoxified. Drinking water during the day and then drinking extra 2 hours before a high energy workout will help your performance. Christine Rosenbloom, PhD, RD recommends sports drinks with carbohydrates and sodium for exercise or sports activities lasting over an hour in a hot and humid environment or for people who sweat excessively.
Eating foods with monounsaturated fatty acid helps give you the energy needed for exercising, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps muscle strong. This is the type of good fats found in foods like peanut butter, olive oil, nuts, olives, sunflower oil, grapeseed oil, canola oil and avocados. Polyunsaturated fatty acids are also in the “good” fats category and our bodies do need some fat in order to function properly. Fat is needed to dissolve certain vitamins that are vital for a healthy body. Research has found that eating MUFAS helps keep blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels stable, reduce buildup of plaque, support healthy blood circulation, reduce the risk of heart disease and help burn off belly fat. They are also more filling so you don’t have to eat as much as with other foods to satisfy hunger. And really who wants to exercise when you are stuffed and bloated? PUFAS can help release fat, increase metabolism and the body burns them faster than saturated types of fat. PUFAS are found in fish and fish oils, bluegreen alage, nuts and seeds. Omega-3 fatty acids are a type of PUFAS and have many benefits for physical and mental health
In addition to eating healthy foods for high energy workouts, there are natural supplement solutions to help support the body with an active lifestyle, that exercises regularly, that engages in sports or that is prone to overdoing it physically. This combination of plant-based proteolytic enzymes—bromelain, papain, protease, lipase, and serratiopeptidase, together with Wild Bluegreen Algae, may help support joints, stimulate circulation, and support the comeback of overworked tissues. Then there is this one with vegetable-based glucosamine, chondroitin, UC-II® undenatured collagen and Wild Bluegreen Algae which have all been found to aid in the support of joint and cartilage health to help your body keep up with all you do.
Now that you have some ideas of what healthy foods your body needs before and after a high energy workout, get going! Eat well, hydrate appropriately and support your body so that whatever sport, exercise or activity you enjoy, you perform at your peak level.