Acai, Maca, or Spirulina do not bear the term “superfoods” for nothing: their ingredients are valuable and practical – especially for athletes. More strength, more breath, and faster regeneration after training: These ten superfoods push athletic performance to a new level.
Whether it’s running, a HIIT workout, or strength training: the body has to go through many sports challenges. Fortunately, some little natural helpers can help.
Their extraordinarily high proportion of health-promoting vital substances allows you to reach top form and master even the toughest challenges.
Natural doping for more power, endurance, and optimal regeneration: athletes benefit particularly healthy from these ten superfoods.
Ten Super Foods For Athletes
Visually, they can’t keep up with their red and white relatives, but that’s precisely what makes black currants a superfood: anthocyanins – secondary plant substances attributed to numerous favorable properties are responsible for the black-violet color.
They should protect against cardiovascular and cancer diseases, have an anti-inflammatory effect, and ward off cell-damaging substances. This is what makes it so valuable for athletes: it promotes regeneration and protects against sore muscles and the hated training doldrums.
The dark balls also contain vitamin C: 60 grams cover the daily vitamin C requirement. Iron supports the transport of oxygen in the blood; potassium, calcium, and magnesium provide quick energy and boost performance.
A meta-analysis from New Zealand published in 2020 concludes that black currants have a direct and significant impact on athletic performance with no known side effects.
If you want to apply, make yourself seldom: Black currants are available from the end of June to August. Athletes should enjoy this time. If you’re going to benefit from local superfoods in winter, too, you can fall back on dried berries, juice, or powder made from black currants.
Swap coffee for cocoa! Raw cocoa contains plenty of magnesium, iron, and calcium, thus supporting bone structure, metabolism, brain performance, and muscle contraction.
Magnesium has an antispasmodic effect; iron is essential for nerve impulse transmission.
But that’s not all: Cocoa contains a whole range of cell-protecting antioxidants.
In particular, the flavonoids it contains, a subgroup of the polyphenols, make cocoa so exciting for athletes. A study from 2018 shows that taking Kakao Flavonoid reduces the damage caused by oxidative stress sports and could improve vascular function – perfect for optimizing exercise performance and recovery.
Another plus: Raw cocoa contains the amino acid tryptophan, which the body converts into serotonin’s happiness hormone.
The positive consequence: the stress level drops.
Thus, cocoa also has a psychologically balancing effect on athletes – and athletes benefit from the dark superfood, especially in their second half of the cycle.
If you don’t want to go without your coffee at all, you can grab the raw cocoa beans and top your muesli with crunchy cocoa nibs.
The dark red beets with their earthy-sweet aroma are clearly among the top 10 superfoods for athletes. Why? The nitrate contained in it is converted into nitric oxide shortly after ingestion in various stages – a potent substance that not only effectively lowers blood pressure, but above all, improves athletic performance.
A review from the University of Madrid shows that beetroot juice improves performance and stamina at various distances, extends the performance period, and increases oxygen uptake.
500 ml would be enough for this. The authors recommend drinking the juice about an hour and a half before training for the best effect.
In addition to nitrate, beetroot also contains a lot of potassium, essential for electrolyte balance. The beets also score points with folic acid and vitamin C.
The red plant pigments also have a strong antioxidant effect and protect against dangerous cell damage and changes.
The maca root from South America is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B, and vitamin E and scores zinc, iron, iodine, phosphorus, and calcium.
In this country, Maca is sold as a powder and is often used as an ingredient for smoothies, bliss balls, or pancakes.
According to studies, regular consumption has a refreshing, mood-enhancing effect and improves.
A pilot study showed that cyclists’ performance improved on a 40 km route after supplementing Maca for two weeks.
But Maca can do even more: The slight steroid effect of Maca increases the build-up of protein in the muscles and is therefore particularly popular with strength athletes.
According to studies, the root improves testosterone production and can thus serve as a natural booster in weight training.
Mangold is particularly suitable as a natural fit-maker for sports that require maximum concentration.
Why is it like that? The minerals magnesium, calcium, and sodium help concentrate and calm the nerves – ideal for competitions.
In addition, the high iron content supports the transport of oxygen in the blood and allows you to achieve top form. The leafy vegetables are fascinating for veggies and vegans, as they are one of the best vegetable sources of iron:
One serving (200 grams) of Swiss chard provides a third of the recommended daily iron intake.
Vegetables also contain plenty of vitamin K: three leaves cover the daily requirement. The body needs the vitamin for blood clotting and strong bones.
It also contains beta-carotene, vitamin C and the amino acid betaine, which has been shown to increase muscle strength and accelerate muscle building.
It is not for nothing that turmeric is celebrated as one of the healthiest spices of all: the strong anti-inflammatory potential of turmeric root has been known for thousands of years.
Athletes, in particular, should not underestimate this effect – turmeric is a guarantee of regeneration.
Studies have shown that athletes feel less physically exhausted after intense training if they regularly consume the curcumin contained in the spice.
Another study also concludes that curcumin helps to train more efficiently and successfully.
It can also help repair minor injuries in the muscles and thus accelerate regeneration – up to eight times more.
So if you want to do something good for your tired muscles, you should rely on the yellow spice. Turmeric can be easily stirred into the porridge or prepared as golden milk.
Strong muscles are built from amino acids. The body can produce twelve of the total of 20 amino acids itself; the others have to be taken in through food and are essential for the body.
The amino acid lysine is only present in small quantities in many vegetable protein sources. It is indispensable for protein synthesis, the development of antibodies, and calcium storage.
Good news: Hemp protein is particularly rich in lysine. It also has all of the other essential amino acids.
In particular, the ratio of these amino acids makes hemp a real rarity in the plant kingdom: the amino acid profile is ideal for the human body – and therefore optimal for healthy muscle building.
But its healthy, unsaturated fats also make hemp so valuable for athletes who also support muscle building.
If you can’t get used to pure hemp protein, you should top your bowls, salads, and avocado toasts with hemp seeds.
Many vitamin E promotes regeneration after intensive training units, B vitamins promote endurance, and the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium are a successful trio for powerful muscles.
Luminous green and packed with suitable vital substances, Spirulina is a must-have for those who do sports.
Reason number one: The green pigment chlorophyll has an antioxidant effect, promotes blood formation, and increases the absorption of iron and magnesium in the body.
100 grams of the dried microalgae also contains almost 60 grams, thanks to its amino acid profile, high-quality protein – ideal as a supplement for muscle building.
Since normally no more than a teaspoon is consumed per day, other nutrients in the algae are more exciting for athletes: Spirulina provides lots of iron, carotenoids, calcium, zinc, magnesium, sodium, and gamma-linolenic acid, which among other things, supports wound healing, also plenty of iodine.
Since athletes have an increased need for iodine, they should rely on the microalgae.
An undersupply of the trace element threatens thyroid disorders and weakness, poor concentration, and lack of drive.
Because Spirulina, unlike other microalgae, has no cellulose walls, according to a study, its ingredients are more bioavailable than, for example, chlorella.
The consumer advice center warns that due to contaminated breeding water, spirulina preparations are often contaminated with heavy metals. Therefore, always pay attention to premium quality!
The Brazilian berry is the epitome of all superfoods. Right? Rightly. It’s not for nothing that surfers like to eat a açai bowl after their morning session.
The reason: Açai berries provide immediate energy – and thanks to the fiber and healthy fats, they also provide long-lasting energy. In contrast to other fruits, the berry is low carb.
Unique benefit: no other exotic fruit has as many antioxidants as purple.
To be precise, acai powder has an ORAC value (the parameter for specifying the antioxidant potential of food) of 39,000 µmol TE per 100 grams – raspberries, on the other hand, have just under 5,000.
The antioxidants neutralize the reactive oxygen molecules and protect the cells. Another plus: lots of calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, C, D, and E.
In a randomized, placebo-controlled study with cyclists, it was found that their blood lactate concentration was reduced, and their maximum oxygen uptake improved after they had eaten 400 grams of açai puree for 15 days.
Another randomized study looked at the berry’s effects on the performance of 14 athletes on the treadmill. In return, they received a drink made from açai berries that contained around 28 mg of anthocyanins.
The result: the time to exhaustion increased.
Crisp, tasty, healthy: the fruits of the real walnut tree are a must for all fitness enthusiasts.
They prevent sports injuries, support muscle regeneration, and thus promote muscle growth. Responsible for this are the omega-3 fatty acids contained, which are responsible for numerous cellular functions, protect the heart and have a positive effect on inflammatory processes in the body.
This boosts athletic performance: A study with 24 elite soccer players showed that an increased intake of omega-3 fatty acids for four weeks led to improved performance and reaction times.
Walnuts contain a balanced ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids and boast a lot of zinc, strengthening the immune system and promoting wound healing.
Walnuts contain more omega-3 fatty acids than all other nuts – just 30 grams of walnuts cover the daily requirement of the polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid linolenic acid.