Athletic rejuvenation Top 10 Energy Food

Athletic rejuvenation

Top 10 Energy Foods: Carbs Athletes Should Love

By Kimberly Brown, M.S., R.D. • Her Sports + Fitness

 Restricting carbs can zap energy levels and compromise the quality of

Not since the public outcry against fat has there been such uproar about
popular nutrition--the message in the mainstream media seems clear: It's
protein you want not carbs! With all the hype, no wonder so many of us are
second-guessing our eating habits. In truth, the message about carbohydrates
has been so over-simplified that many people are skimping on the most
critical energy source the body has.

Restricting carbohydrates can zap energy levels, compromising the quality of
workouts and negating the benefits of a fitness program.

Here's the simple truth: There are many high-carbohydrate foods beneficial
to both your health and athletic performance. The key is choosing the right

Following is a breakdown of ten of the best energy-sustaining foods, all
loaded with powerful nutrients to keep your body running on premium fuel.

1. Rolled Oats
Heart disease still tops the charts as the No. 1 cause of death among women,
so it's no surprise that the Food and Drug Administration recommends women
on a 2,000-calorie daily diet eat about 30 grams of fiber a day.

With a mere half cup of cooked oats providing four grams of dietary fiber,
adding rolled oats to your diet will help you meet this recommendation.

Fiber not only helps reduce risk for heart disease, it slows glucose
absorption into the bloodstream, helping maintain peak energy levels and
curb appetite. Rolled oats are also an excellent source of B vitamins (great
for stress management and energy production) and contain a significant
amount of zinc for immune function.

2. Lentil Soup
Lentils produce a low-glycemic response, meaning you won't experience a
spike in blood sugar followed by an energy-sapping crash. Also loaded with
dietary fiber (eight grams per half-cup serving), lentils provide the
feeling of satiety, helping mute those intense cravings for sweets.

Lentils also are packed full of folic acid, a nutrient essential for keeping
cardiovascular risk low and guarding against birth defects.

3. Fresh Figs
Just three figs provide a whopping 30 grams of good carbohydrates along with
a multitude of B vitamins, calcium and potassium to help ensure peak muscle
function and optimal bone health. Figs also are an excellent source of
soluble pectin fiber, shown to lower cholesterol and ultimately reduce
cardiovascular risk. For a tasty snack, try serving quartered fresh figs
with a dollop of reduced-fat ricotta cheese or flavored yogurt.

Top 10 Energy Foods: Carbs Athletes Should Love

By Kimberly Brown, M.S., R.D. • Her Sports + Fitness

4. Roasted Chestnuts
In comparison to other calorie- and fat-dense nuts, chestnuts contain less
than one gram of fat per ounce while providing a hefty dose of fiber,
vitamin C and folic acid, nutrients important for immune function, formation
of collagen and reduced risk for cardiovascular disease. Chestnuts are tasty
in stuffing, pilaf, vegetable side dishes and soups. Or try them as a snack
by themselves.

5. Blueberries
A one-cup serving and a mere 80 calories later, you get 20 grams of
energy-enhancing carbohydrates, four grams of appetite-curbing fiber as well
as a significant amount of vitamin C, a potent antioxidant that keeps the
immune system revved. Blueberries have the highest ORAC (oxygen radical
absorbance capacity) score of any fresh fruit, which means they can destroy
free radicals in the body before they cause damage to healthy cells.

In addition, the dye that makes blueberries "blue" has been shown to improve
memory, balance and coordination. Blueberries are a tasty addition to
cereals, salads and smoothies. In the colder months when fresh blueberries
are less prevalent, opt for the frozen variety.

6. Low-fat Plain Yogurt
Yogurt has always been touted as a nutritional powerhouse, partly because
it's loaded with calcium, a critical nutrient considering osteoporosis
affects 20 million women each year. Rich in vitamin B-12, yogurt also helps
prevent fatigue. And plain yogurt just may be the perfect recovery food for
athletes, as it promotes glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery.

Give yourself an energy boost after your next workout by slicing a ripe
banana into a cup of plain yogurt. Make sure your yogurt contains active
cultures called probiotics, hugely beneficial to immune function.

7. Rice Bran
The USDA reports more people are eating refined white bread, which lacks
quality nutrients due to processed flours. Rice bran boasts superior
nutritional credentials, with five grams of carbohydrates and more than two
grams of fiber in a mere two tablespoons.

Furthermore, it provides 23 percent of the RDA for magnesium, a nutrient
directly responsible (along with calcium) for the production of adenosine
triphosphate (ATP), for energy during metabolism, as well as conversion of
glycogen to glucose for use as the body's fuel during exercise.

Rice bran can replace up to half the flour in any quick bread or muffin
recipe and be added to recipes for meatloaf and casseroles. If you don't
plan on baking in the near future, try sprinkling rice bran on cereal, salad
or yogurt.

8. Whole Wheat Pasta
Despite some concerns about the glycemic response of large portions of
pasta, this common carbo-loading meal can be a healthful addition to your
diet. Whole wheat pasta provides nearly 40 grams of energy-rich
carbohydrates per one cup (cooked) serving. In addition, whole wheat pasta
provides five grams of dietary fiber, most of it insoluble fiber, shown to
reduce risk for breast cancer.

To ensure you are buying the healthiest whole wheat pasta, look for at least
four grams of dietary fiber and five grams of protein per two ounces dry (or
one cup cooked) serving. Be sure to watch portions and try to add a protein
(chicken, ground sirloin) to your plate to avoid craving that second pasta
portion. And, of course, add some veggies for color, fiber and an array of
health-enhancing nutrients.

9. Sweet Potatoes
Despite this vegetable's impressive nutritional profile and appealingly
"sweet" flavor, consumption of sweet potatoes is on the decline. A look at
the facts might change your mind about this nutrient-dense veggie: A
four-ounce sweet potato contains a mere 143 calories with a whopping 28
grams of carbohydrates and more than 100 percent of your daily requirement
for beta-carotene. A sweet potato also packs in more than a quarter of your
daily needs for vitamins C and E, nutrients shown to prevent cell damage in
athletes competing in extreme environments (altitude, heat, cold,
pollution), as well as enhance muscle recovery after intense training. Sweet
potatoes are also an excellent source of iron. Expand your intake of sweet
potatoes beyond Thanksgiving by stirring them into chili, adding some to
your favorite potato salad recipe, and adding shredded raw sweet potato into
hamburger, meatloaf and meatball mixtures.

Also, try using mashed sweet potato as a ravioli stuffing.

10. Oranges
Considered by many to be winter's most delicious fruit, oranges are rich in
natural sugars for a quick energy boost, yet provide three grams of fiber
for sustained energy. In addition, just one navel orange meets an entire
day's requirement for vitamin C, while providing immune-enhancing
flavonoids, helping to keep colds and flus at bay.

Your heart will also benefit from the folate in oranges. Opt for the whole
orange (rather than juice), and be sure to eat the spongy inner layer that
lies right under the colorful part of the skin to ensure you are receiving
energy-sustaining fiber. Besides using oranges as a tasty, convenient snack,
try adding sections of oranges to salads or smoothies, or using the juice as
a marinade for meat.

Understanding Glycemic Index

The rate at which carbohydrates raise blood sugar and consequent insulin is
measured by glycemic index. Carbohydrate-rich foods with a high-glycemic
value enter the bloodstream rapidly, leading to a quick rise in blood
glucose and the release of insulin.

A survey conducted at Harvard University's School of Public Health
determined that 16 of the top 20 carbohydrates eaten by Americans are high
glycemic. In fact, high-glycemic snack foods comprise 25 percent of the
total caloric intake in the United States. Among the most popular are french
fries, white bread, cereals with added sugar, soda, pizza and muffins.

In contrast, low-glycemic foods, which tend to be higher in fiber or contain
protein, are converted into glucose slower than high-glycemic foods and,
therefore, less insulin is needed to regulate blood sugar. About 50 to 70
percent of an athlete's total daily calorie intake should be from
low-glycemic carbohydrates (three to five grams per pound of lean body
weight). And no more than 10 percent of the calories eaten at rest should be
from high-glycemic foods.

Good Choices: Enjoy sweet potatoes, old fashioned oatmeal, energy bars
(Clif, PowerBar), beans, low-fat dairy foods, most fruits, 100 percent whole
wheat or whole grain bread, oatmeal, nuts, whole wheat pasta, green peas,
hummus and rice bran.

Foods to Avoid: Steer clear of sugared soft drinks, processed grains (white
bread), french fries, pastries, scones, sugared cereals, syrup, whipped
cream, chips and movie popcorn.

The importance of beet juice and ideal for your blood type.

Beet juice

If you want to improve your athletic performance and stamina, there's no
real substitute for simply putting time into working out. But if it if
you're looking for a simple, natural way to increase the length of your
workouts, or if you just want to give yourself that little edge in endurance
or speed, then beet juice may be the answer.

Beet juice is naturally high in nitrate (NO3), which the body uses to make
both nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide. Nitrite is known to protect the blood
vessels from injury, while nitric acid expands blood vessels and therefore
increases the flow of oxygen to the cells. This, in turn, increases both the
power available to the muscles and the length of time that the muscles can
exercise without tiring.

Early studies into the effectiveness of beet juice for exercise showed that
people who drink the juice for several days before undergoing exercise tests
do indeed use less oxygen in their muscles, and are correspondingly able to
exercise for longer. In one study, drinking beet juice decreased oxygen
needs by 19 percent and increased exercise endurance time by 17 percent.

In other studies, scientists proved that drinking beet juice increases
people's blood concentration of nitrates, and that beet juice which has had
the nitrates artificially removed loses its exercise-boosting power.

Beet juice increases your speed

While early studies focused on whether beet juice can increase the time
before an athlete becomes exhausted, more recent studies have focused on the
juice's real-world effects on athletic performance. For example, a study
published in 2011 in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise
found that cyclists who drank beet juice and then rested for 2.75 hours were
able to complete a 4 km cycling task 11 seconds faster than cyclists who had
consumed a nitrate-depleted beet juice placebo. The experimental group also
completed a 16.1 km task 45 seconds faster than the control group.

More recently, researchers from Maastricht University Medical Centre in the
Netherlands conducted a pair of beet juice studies, both published in the
International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism in 2012. In
the first, the researchers had 12 male cyclists with an average age of 31
drink 140 mL per day of either normal beet juice or a nitrate-depleted
placebo for six days. The men then participated in a 60-minute cycling
exercise and a 10 km timed cycling trial.


After a 14-day washout period, participants were given the other beverage and the trial was repeated.

As expected, the researchers found that cyclists performed better following
the nitrate-rich beet juice treatment in both time and power output.

In the second study, cyclists drank the beet juice just 2.5 hours prior to
performing the cycling trial, as in the 2011 study. But this time, no
difference was seen in performance between the nitrate-rich and
nitrate-depleted groups. Further research will be needed to explain this
discrepancy, said study author Naomi Cermak.

"We don't know whether dietary nitrate is effective only at certain exercise
intensities or certain exercise durations," Cermak said.

For example, Cermak noted that the two Maastricht studies differed not only
in when the beet juice was provided, but also in how long the cycling trial
lasted. In the first study, participants cycled for between 14 and 18
minutes (10 km), while in the second they cycled for one hour (40 to 50 km).

"Thus we do not know yet whether the ergogenic effects of dietary nitrate
depend on the duration of supplementation or the actual exercise itself
(i.e. higher intensity exercise, shorter duration)," she said.

Sources for this article include:



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