There are two things to pay close attention to when you power through a tough workout: carbs and liquids. You have probably heard about how carbs provide energy needed to run, swim, bike, hike, lift weights, build strength through bodyweight training, or anything else your heart desires. Additionally, you surely are aware that replenishing your body with water during and after a sweaty workout is key.But why do we need to eat carbs and stay hydrated? And how much and when should we be eating carbs and taking in liquids? Finally, what are some examples that combine carbohydrates and hydrating liquids?Carbohydrates: The Most Important MacronutrientFirst, carbohydrates are one of three basic macronutrients (fat and protein are the other two) that provide us with calories. This macronutrient occurs naturally in the following foods:FruitVegetablesLegumesWhole grain productsRicePotatoesFoods that contain carbohydrates bring a variety of important nutrients to the diet–vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants and dietary fiber, to name a few. Carbohydrates are the main energy source for the body. They’re broken down into sugars to act as the body’s gasoline. Athletes are advised to avoid low-carb diets for weight loss, as cutting carbs can harm performance.How Sugar WorksSugars come in all sorts of “flavors.” The simplest of sugars are called monosaccharides, which literally means “one sugar.” Examples of monosaccharides include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Next comes disaccharides. If you guessed that this means “two sugars,” you’re on the money. The most well-known disaccharide is sucrose, better known as table sugar. Sucrose is made up of equal parts glucose and fructose, which are glued together by chemical bonds. After disaccharides come oligosaccharides (3-10 sugars) and then polysaccharides, which translates to “many sugars.” Our bodies convert most of the carbohydrates we eat into glucose for our muscles to use for readily available energy. In fact, glucose is what fuels our brains. Sometimes, we have more glucose available than our body needs. Excess glucose gets stored as glycogen or fat, both of which can be accessed for future energy use. The more simple the carb is, the easier it is for your body to convert it into a quick source of energy. Depending on your activity level and calorie needs, the U.S. Government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 45 to 65% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates.(1) Choose foods with complex carbohydrates (see list above) over simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are found in white flour products, sodas, fruit juices, and sweets.Carbohydrates and SportsTo sustain energy levels during a workout or race, we can turn to science for our information. Studies have shown that eating carbohydrates 3-4 hours before exercise increases liver and muscle storage of glycogen and enhances exercise performance.(2) During exercise, aim to take in about 20-35 grams for every hour. This ensures that your blood glucose levels stay stable and that your glycogen stores don’t get tapped out. You exercise for less than an hour?Then water is enough to quench your thirst without additional liquid carbs.The right way to hydrate while exercisingThis brings us to to hydration. Water is necessary for basic cellular function and is why the US Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recommend drinking between 91 and 125 ounces (2.7-3.7 ml) of water each day.(3) Calculate how much water you need:Water is also critical to consume before, during, and after strenuous exercise. Drink about 17 oz. (500 ml) of water around two hours before working out. If you exercise for longer than 60 minutes, you should rehydrate during your workout as well. Drink about 5 oz (150 ml) every 20 minutes. After a high intensity workout you should replace electrolytes and lost fluid. Everyone is different and it depends on how much you sweat.(4) Why you need to replace electrolytesSupplementing water with electrolytes and simple carbohydrates can boost performance, especially when working out for more than one hour. Electrolytes are charged minerals that provide energy for your muscles. They are critical for your muscles to work properly. The most important electrolytes for exercise are: sodiumcalciumchloridemagnesiumpotassiumIf carbs are gasoline, then electrolytes are the motor oil that makes sure your body runs smoothly.Nutrition gels, energy chews, and sports bars are all great (and portable!) sources of electrolytes and simple carbohydrates. Sport drinks aren’t quite as portable, but they combine the benefits of fuel from simple carbohydrates with the benefits of hydration. This makes them perfect for strenuous exercise over 60 minutes.ConclusionStaying hydrated and replacing electrolytes during exercise isn’t rocket science if you follow a few guidelines. Long, tough workout sessions or runs are what you love? Liquid carbs will give you the energy you need to keep going the distance.*** More
“You’re vegan? But where do you get your protein?” People who have decided to follow a vegan diet have certainly heard that often enough. Athletes need even more protein than non-athletes, but they also have to keep an eye on the other essential nutrients. If you work out regularly and eat a plant-based diet, you have to really take a close look at what you eat. This is the only way to be certain that your body will get everything it needs to be able to perform at its best and recover quickly. Anyone who is wondering whether veganism and sports are compatible should take a look at vegan athletes like Patrik Baboumian, Venus Williams, and Brandon Brazier. We’ll tell you how to do it right and show you which nutrients are especially important to ensure a balanced vegan athlete’s diet. The following questions will be answered in this article:1. What does “vegan” mean and what are the benefits?Veganism is a special form of the vegetarian diet. Vegans don’t eat any animal products at all, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, or honey.A plant-based diet……is associated with a lot of health benefits, because plant-based foods are very nutrient-dense. They are rich in fiber, folate, vitamin C, and other vitamins. Vegans also consume more unsaturated fatty acids and less saturated fats.(1)Athletes can really benefit from the high density of nutrients, as they need more vitamins and minerals during an intense workout. The abundance of antioxidants prevents oxidative stress and protects the immune system. A vegan athelte’s diet is also high in carbohydrates. This macronutrient is the most important source of energy, especially during workouts.Tip:Studies show that vegans have a lower energy intake than people who eat animal products.(2) More energy is required if the activity level is high. Avocados, nuts, seeds, and oils should be a regular part of the vegan diet. Frequent smaller meals can also be an easy way to boost the energy intake.2. What are the most important nutrients in a vegan athlete’s diet?In order to maximize performance and prevent deficiencies, athletes who follow a plant-based diet should make sure there is variety in their meals. Particular focus should be on these nutrients:A) Macronutrients CarbohydratesAthletes aren’t the only ones who need carbohydrates. A vegan diet is rich in this macronutrient, which means fiber, antioxidant, and phytochemical intake is strong, too. The high level of micronutrients is one of the biggest benefits of plant-based foods. Exercise can produce free radicals and lead to oxidative stress. Vegan sports nutrition can counter that and support recovery after training.(3) The high intake of fiber from whole-grain products, beans, and lentils may cause gastrointestinal problems. In some situations (before a race) it makes sense to substitute these with low-fiber carbs:ricewhite pastawhite breadIf you’re working out, you should eat a snack rich in carbohydrates before and after training to keep your performance strong. It can be helpful to eat some carbs during your workout if it is a long one. Most supplements (e.g. gels) are vegan, so you can take them without any worries. ProteinMany people think that it’s difficult to get enough protein when you follow a vegan diet. However, if you eat a wide variety of foods and increase the energy intake, this is not an issue. Athletes require more of this macronutrient than inactive people.Calculate your protein requirement:Vegan athletes generally eat less protein than athletes who consume animal products.(4) The challenge is focusing on quantity and quality. Plant-based protein sources often lack some essential amino acids, especially BCAAs or branched chain amino acids. Are you concerned about getting enough high quality protein as a vegan athlete? The best route is to eat many different sources of plant-based protein each day: nutsseedsbeanslentilstofuquinoagrainsThis ensures that you meet your daily requirements for protein and essential amino acids. If you can’t get what you need from natural foods (due to long workouts), it pays off to use vegan supplements (from soy, peas, rice, or hemp seeds). Pay attention to the quality of the supplements. The Kölner Liste® has a large database of products. FatVegans usually consume less fat, saturated fat in particular, than those who eat animal products. This reduces the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer.(5) Polyunsaturated fatty acids, especially omega-3 fatty acids, play a critical role in healthy (sports) nutrition. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to prevent inflammation in the muscles and joints.(6) Let’s take a closer look at fatty acids:Omega-6 fatty acids:Plant-based diets provide plenty of omega-6 fatty acids, such as linoleic acid. These can be found in wheat germ oil, thistle oil, and hemp oil.Omega-3 fatty acids:Vegans often lack omega-3 fatty acids in their diet. These include alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is found in flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and rapeseed oil.The body produces two other fatty acids from alpha-linolenic acid: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). However, only a small percentage of alpha-linolenic acid is converted into EPA and DHA. The main sources are cold-water fish, shellfish, and algae. In order to avoid a deficiency, vegans are advised to supplement these fatty acids. This doesn’t have to be fish oil – by now there is a variety of plant-based nutritional supplements produced from algae.It’s important to consider both the quantity and quality when it comes to fat. About 30% of your daily calories should come from fat. High-quality plant-based sources for vegan athletes are vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and avocados.B) Micronutrients Vitamin B12Since no animal products are consumed in a strict vegan diet, there is a risk of developing a B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is produced from microorganisms in the gut flora of plant-eaters. The micronutrient can only be found in meat and dairy products. A B12 deficiency leads to problems like:fatigueanemiapoor concentrationmuscle weaknessnerve damageVitamin B12 can also be found in fortified plant-based milk or breakfast cereals, but it is not yet clear how much of this is actually absorbed by the body. Vegans have to supplement their diet with B12. At least 6 mcg should be consumed daily.(7)IronAccording to the U.S. Department of Health, men should consume 8 mg of iron per day and women 18 mg. Plant-based foods like grains, legumes, seeds, and green vegetables provide iron, many of them even more than meat. The degree to which our body can absorb iron depends on the form of the iron in the food. Readily available heme iron is found in meat, while plant sources contain only non-heme iron. The rate of absorption of nonheme iron is only about 1 to 15%.(8)The good news:You can enhance the absorption of nonheme iron with your diet. If plant-based sources rich in iron are consumed in combination with vitamin C, the iron is absorbed better.Try the following iron-rich foods: oatmeal with raspberries hummus with bell pepper colorful millet salad with orangesTip:Fermented vegetables and sprouts also increase iron absorption. Be careful with how much coffee and tea you drink – they inhibit iron absorption.Female vegan athletes are especially affected by low iron levels. Iron deficiency anemia is caused by low consumption or poor absorption of iron and leads to symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and weakened athletic performance. Do you struggle with these symptoms? Consult your doctor; a blood test can give you a clearer picture.ZincZinc is important for cell growth, regeneration, and protein metabolism. That’s why athletes require more in their diet. Zinc has a positive effect on athletic performance.(9) Like iron, plant-based zinc is not absorbed as well as from animal sources. This is why vegans have to pay special attention to getting enough trace elements. The recommended daily intake is between 7 (women) and 10 mg (men). Vegans should consume even more than that.Zinc can be found in oats, beans, nuts, seeds, and nutritional yeast. CalciumCalcium is an essential mineral – in volume it’s even the most important in our body. Almost 100% of the calcium in our body is in our bones and teeth. This micronutrient is also an important factor in blood coagulation.Calcium:…can only do its job in the body if there is sufficient vitamin D available. This vitamin promotes the absorption of calcium from the gut into the blood, regulates the calcium metabolism, and is needed for bone growth. That’s why it’s particularly important for vegan athletes to spend enough time outdoors in fresh air and sunshine. Vitamin D should be supplemented in the wintertime.The recommended daily calcium allowance for adults is 1000 mg. If you do not get enough in your diet long-term, you will experience bone loss, which can result in fractures. What foods should vegan athletes include in their diet to get enough calcium? Plant-based sources are: kidney beansbroccolibok choikalealmondssesamefortified soy milk fortified fruit juice Important: spinach and arugula provide a lot of calcium, but they also contain oxalic acid, which decreases absorption. IodineOne study looked at the dietary intake of vegans in Germany. Researchers found that along with calcium and vitamin B12, there is too little iodine included in the diet (only 40% of the recommended allowance). This trace element is used by the body to produce two thyroid hormones: thyroxine and triiodothyronine. The hormones control many processes in the body, such as growth, bone replacement, brain development, and the metabolism. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends a daily allowance of 200 mcg per day.Seaweed is a good plant source for iodine. The micronutrient can also be found in potatoes, cranberries, and iodized salt.3. What foods are essential in vegan nutrition?A vegan athlete’s diet should be colorful and diverse in order to include all the essential nutrients. Make sure you’re eating regularly and consuming enough calories. We’ve put together a list of the best vegan foods for you below:Nutrients | FoodsProtein: legumes, grains, tofu, quinoa, nuts, seeds, vegetablesOmega 3 fatty acids: flax seeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, walnuts, seaweedVitamin B12: nutritional yeastIron: legumes, grains, nuts, seeds, green vegetablesZinc: beans, nuts, seeds, oats, nutritional yeastCalcium: kale, broccoli, bok choi, beans, almonds, sesame seeds,fortified plant-based milk and juicesIodine: seaweed, potatoes, white beans, cranberries, iodized salt*** More
Many runners wonder if they should eat carbs after a run at night. On one hand, carbs help your muscles recover so you can consistently hit your workout goals. On the other hand, eating after a run at night could disrupt your sleep, which compromises recovery. On top of this, sugar is carbohydrate, which can keep you from feeling sleepy despite having just gone for a run at night. To answer the question of what to eat after a run at night, keep reading to understand how your body processes the macronutrients (macros for short) of carbohydrates, fat, and proteins is necessary.Your body requires carbs to provide it with energy and it is good at using them efficiently. Fat, on the other hand, always requires plenty of oxygen. Plus, it takes twice as long for fat to provide the same amount of energy as carbohydrates. That is why we have to reduce our pace to burn fat while running, so that our body can keep up with the oxidation process and doesn’t get exhausted. You’ll notice that you’re in the fat-burning zone when your breathing slows down. If your breathing is fast and shallow, you’re body is not burning the fat it could. This is also when it starts to hurt. You might catch yourself thinking that the couch looks awful comfy right now. Or the question “What the hell am I doing?” keeps popping into your head. But once you have conquered these mental hurdles, things will start to get easier.Your body stores carbs in the form of glycogen in your liver and muscles. They are important energy reserves — especially for ambitious runners. The more glycogen you have stored in your muscles, the better and longer they can perform.In general, the following nutrient ratio is recommended for endurance athletes:Carbohydrates: 55-65%Protein: 10-15%Fat: 25-30% The Role of Carbs After A RunCarbs are your muscles’ fuel. The macronutrient is very important for runners looking to enhance their performance (for instance, for a marathon) – not only before workouts, but also after you finish running. If you refill your glycogen stores right after a run, your body will recover faster. This helps your body adapt better to a new or harder workout and builds up your immune system faster again after your training. The more often or intensely you train, the more important a diet rich in carbohydrates is for your recovery.ActivityCarb intakeLight< 1 hour/day3-5 g kg/dayModerate > 1 hour/day5-7 g kg/dayHigh1-3 hour/day7-10 g kg/dayVery high > 4-5 hour/day10-12 g kg/dayWhen and How Many Carbs to Eat After a RunThe best time for your body to replenish its glycogen stores is within the first 30 minutes after your workout. Consume about 0.5 g of carbohydrates per kg of bodyweight. For a 65 kg woman this should be about 30 g of carbohydrates.30 g of carbohydrates can be in the form of: one medium banana5 dates1 slice of bread with jam40 g of granola with 200 ml of cow’s milkThese carbohydrates (simple carbs) are easy to digest, and the body absorbs them quickly. After 30 minutes, the window starts to gradually close, and your body is no longer able to absorb carbs as efficiently and quickly.Keep in mind:You don’t need to eat carbohydrates after a short run (5 to 10 km), because the glycogen stores have not been depleted.What to Eat After a Run at NightAn hour after your run, you should eat a full meal with carbs, protein and fat. To be more exact, your meal should contain a 3:1 carbs to protein ratio. Carbs are still important at this point, but your body also needs protein to build muscles. Too much of this macronutrient, however, can interfere with efficient absorption of carbohydrates and disturb your body’s fluid balance.A good post-run meal is loaded sweet potato skins.What to Eat After a Run at Night if You Want to Lose WeightRunners whose top priority is to lose weight should try to avoid eating too many carbs. This applies particularly to simple carbohydrates. Complex carbs are necessary as part of a balanced diet, as we shall see below. Short endurance runs (like 5K runs) do not deplete our glycogen stores – so you don’t need to replenish them during your run (for example, with isotonic sports drinks) or right after the run. The best thing to drink after short runs is water. Eat a mix of complex carbohydrates and protein, as described above one to two hours after your run. But at the end of the day, if you are looking to lose weight, what matters is a negative energy balance (approx. 500 calories/day). This means you should burn more calories than you consume.Eat Complex Carbs After a Run at NightRunners looking to lose weight need to pay attention to what they eat, as well as their training. The best thing for you to eat is complex carbohydrates (along with high quality protein and healthy fats). These not only keep you feeling full longer, but they provide you with plenty of additional important minerals and vitamins for your metabolism and immune system. Complex carbohydrates are found, for instance, in whole-grain products (like pasta and bread) and brown rice. Whole-grain foods include all the original parts (bran, germ, and endosperm) as well as all their nutrients. Simple carbohydrates are obtained by removing the outside and only keeping the endosperm. Other foods containing complex carbohydrates are potatoes with the skin on them, legumes, and vegetables.Where are different types of carbohydrates found?Complex Carbs to Refuel After a Run at NightComplex Carbs take longer to digest and provide plenty of vitamins, minerals, trace elements and fiber that boost your metabolism and strengthen your immune system:Whole grains and products incl. pasta, bread, and rollsPotatoes with the skin on themBrown riceBeans, lentils and peasVegetables, 100% vegetable juiceFruitAvoid Simple Carbs After a Run at Nightare a quick source of energy because they are digested rapidly. They cause your blood sugar and your insulin levels to rise:pastry flour and products, cakes, cookies, bread, and rollswhite pastasoft drinkssugar and sweetsalcoholDo You Need Carbs After a Run at Night?Yes and no. A high-carb snack will refill empty glycogen stores within the first 30 minutes after a long run (over 10 km). The ideal ratio of carbs to protein in a post-run meal is 3:1 for optimal recovery.The bottom line: eat carbs after night runs to prioritize recovery. Minimize eating carbs after runs at night if that is part of your weight loss strategy.*** More
In a marathon, it’s the right training and preparation that gets you across the finish line. An important part of your training plan is your diet. But there is a lot more to it than just what you eat before and after you run. The right snacks and fluids during the race can help you run faster and boost your performance. You’ll see the best results if you start taking a closer look at your marathon nutrition weeks before the big day.Macronutrients for Runners: A BreakdownIf you’re an endurance athlete, you should get to know and love carbohydrates. They are the most important macronutrient and should make up about 60-65% of your caloric intake. Your muscles rely on carbohydrates for fuel. They are stored as glycogen in your liver for use later on when you need a quick burst of energy. Keeping carbs as a staple in your diet will help you maintain (and improve) your performance and help you achieve that goal time you have your mind set on.(1) Depending on the intensity of your workouts, 6 to 10 g of carbs per kilo of body weight are enough to keep your glycogen stores full. Everyone’s needs are, of course, different. Additionally, carbohydrates help your body recover post workout.2) Additionally, carbohydrates help your body recover post workout. Aim for complex carbohydrates like quinoa, sweet potatoes, whole grains, vegetables and legumes.Protein is the building block of muscle. It’s recommended that you consume 1-1.5 g/kg of your body weight – this is dependent on how intense your workouts are. If you’re doing more strength training, as opposed to running, then you definitely need more of this macronutrient than endurance athletes. Protein is found in both animal products (meat, fish, eggs, milk, and dairy products) as well as plant-based foods (soy and soy products, legumes, nuts, seitan, grain products). You can cover all your protein needs with a vegan diet if you choose. The focus here should be on including a variety of foods in your diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.Fat is an incredibly important source of energy and vital for your body! First of all, it acts as a protector for your organs, insulates your body (keeps you warm) and is necessary to absorb those critical fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E and K). One gram of fat contains 9 calories of energy. This is twice as much as protein and carbohydrates. How much fat do you need? Around 30-35% of your daily caloric intake should be fats. Where can you find healthy fats? Avocados, salmon, vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds (like flax and chia). These fats provide tons of energy for your marathon training.Preparation is EverythingTraining isn’t the only thing to think about in the final weeks before a marathon. The right marathon nutrition will help you run faster. Get informed about the race set up beforehand: how many aid stations will there be along the course? Don’t try anything new on race day; only consume foods and drinks that you’ve tested during training. Try out different options in the weeks before the marathon.Are you feeling uncertain?A dietician who specializes in sports nutrition can answer any questions you may have and get you on the right track with marathon nutrition.The Final CountdownCarb LoadingSince the race will take longer than 90 minutes, it’s advisable to increase your carb intake in the days leading up to the marathon. The goal of carb loading is to fill up your glycogen stores. However, that does not mean that you should overdo it with carbohydrates. Gradually increase your carbohydrate intake in the week before the marathon to increase the amount of glycogen in your muscles. Do you have digestive problems? Fiber is important for athletes, but make sure to reduce your fiber intake to a minimum just before and on race day.HydrationMake sure you go into the race well hydrated. Start paying attention to your fluid intake 24 hours before the event. Marathon Preparation on Race DayBreakfast 3-4 hours before a run:You want an easy-to-digest breakfast to power you up for your race. Stay away from foods that are high in fat and fiber. These foods will sit in your stomach too long – not a good feeling while running. And, if you want that extra boost, go for a cup of black coffee to get you energized.Breakfast ideas:white toast with jam and a small portion of plain yogurtBircher muesli (soak oats overnight in low-fat cow milk, soy, or oat milk) with bananacereal (not the sugary kind!) with milkporridge with berriesDon’t forget to drink enough water before the marathon.Snack approx. 1 hour before:If you’re used to eating a small snack before your run, go for it! Remember, this is all about how you feel and how you have done it during your training runs.Snack options:bananacereal barTake sips from your water bottle regularly.During your run:There are two very important things to remember during your race: carbs and fluids. Getting the right amount of both is critical.CarbohydratesThe recommended carbohydrate intake for long endurance workouts is 30 to 60 g per hour.(3) That amount increases to 90 g of carbs per hour for races that last longer than 2.5 hours.The following foods are rich in carbohydrates:Banana (approx. 30 g)Energy gel (approx. 25 g)Energy bar (20 to 40 g) Fluid LevelRunners lose a great deal of fluid and electrolytes (especially sodium and potassium) from sweating heavily during long runs. These fluids have to be replaced. The only way to know how much fluid you’ve lost is by weighing yourself before and after your marathon training. Try it to get an idea of how much you should drink on race day.Drink 600 to 1200 ml of fluid per hour of exertion.(4) Your beverage of choice should contain carbs, sodium, and potassium. Isotonic drinks are a great source of energy for your run. Isotonic means it has the same osmotic pressure as blood plasma, so it’s able to be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. This is the perfect solution for lost fluids and electrolytes during your long run. You can even make your own sports drink at home for your marathon! Immediately after the MarathonIn order to refill your glycogen stores, some recommendations advise you to consume about 1 to 1.2g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight in the first few hours after you finish the race. However, this is only necessary if you’ve got another race in 8 to 10 hours. That’s probably not the case, right? Don’t worry too much about what you eat after your marathon. Celebrate your achievement; you just finished a marathon and should be proud of yourself. TakeawayYour marathon nutrition should be well-planned. No matter whether it’s before or during your race, it’s important to choose the right drinks and foods to make you run faster and perform your best. *** More
Magnesium is probably one of the first minerals that comes to mind when you think of fitness. But, hardly anyone knows how essential magnesium truly is and how it can improve your physical performance. We have the facts for you!Magnesium performs numerous functionsMagnesium is a vital mineral: it is present in nearly every cell of your body. Approximately 30% of the magnesium in your body is stored in the muscles. The mineral performs numerous functions: it is needed for aerobic (= with oxygen) and anaerobic (= without oxygen) energy production. Magnesium is also required to form endogenous protein (protein of body origin, rather than dietary origin) and plays an important role in muscle contraction and relaxation. The mineral is also essential to the formation of bone and teeth. In addition, it is involved in the activation of hundreds of enzymes.How important is magnesium for athletes?Studies show that the more active you are, the more magnesium you need.(1) Scientists have linked a high level of magnesium in blood to improved muscle performance, such as greater leg strength. This means that you can improve your performance by ensuring an adequate supply of this important mineral. What happens in your body? According to studies, magnesium appears to lower lactate levels in your blood.(2) Lactate (lactic acid) is a metabolite that is primarily produced by intense physical exercise. If it builds up, it can limit muscle performance and you will fatigue faster. Plus, exercising without sufficient magnesium will lead to increased oxygen consumption and heart rate. The mineral also plays a major role in strengthening your immune system. It works similar to an antioxidant by strengthening your defenses and protecting you from diseases.Increased magnesium intake can be helpfulAccording to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), healthy adult females should get 310-320 mg per day and healthy adult males 400-420 mg per day.(3) A balanced diet is usually enough to satisfy this daily requirement. But, if you like to exercise or work a physically demanding job, your diet probably won’t cover your daily needs because you can lose a lot of magnesium through sweat. This loss has to be replaced, but the amount of magnesium required varies depending on the individual and should be discussed with a sports physician.You also need to consume more magnesium in the case of stress.(4)How can I tell if I’m getting enough magnesium?Pay attention to Magnesium Deficiency SymptomsLeg crampsDizzinessDigestive problemsFatigueAbnormal heart rhythmHeadachesConsult your doctor if you experience the magnesium deficiency symptoms listed above.Top 9 Magnesium Rich FoodsThe general rule is that getting nutrients through your food is the healthier option – as opposed to taking dietary supplements. The same holds true when it comes to magnesium for athletes. A balanced diet gives us (almost) all the nutrients we need. So which foods are highest in magnesium? Here are the 11 best sources of magnesium:Sunflower seeds (395 mg/100 g)Pumpkin seeds (402 mg/100 g)Sesame (347 mg/100 g)Flax seeds (350 mg/100 g)Cashews (270 mg/100 g)White kidney beans (140 mg/100 g)Chickpeas (115 mg/100 g)Oats (139 mg/100 g)Swiss chard (81 mg/100 g)Good to know:Mineral water also contains varying amounts of magnesium. You can find the nutrition facts on the label of the bottle.Magnesium Supplements – Good or Bad?If your doctor recommends magnesium supplements to treat a magnesium deficiency, it’s important to be careful about the dosage. You shouldn’t take more than 250 mg of supplemental magnesium per day.(5) Magnesium can act as a natural laxative; if you take too much, it may cause diarrhea.Takeaway:The more you workout, the more magnesium you need in your diet. Don’t underestimate the importance of magnesium for athletes and focus on meeting your daily requirements with a balanced healthy diet including magnesium rich foods. If you do experience magnesium deficiency symptoms, consult your doctor. Supplements could be a helpful solution. Keep in mind: if you are preparing for a race or competition, make sure to start integrating the supplements into your diet several weeks beforehand to give your body time to adjust. *** More
It’s no secret eating five servings of fruits and vegetables is a boon for your overall health and well-being. We’ve known that for years. But it’s always been a little vague in terms of the breakdown. In a new study from the American Heart Association, published in Circulation, there’s actually an optimal ratio of fruits to vegetables that can help you live longer.
Turns out two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables is the sweet spot. The study was based on health data, including dietary feedback, from more than 100,000 people over 30 years. Those results were combined with data on fruit and vegetable intake in corroboration with death from 26 international studies representing 1.9 million people.
Analysis of the combined studies associated five servings of produce each day with the lowest risk of death. Interestingly, eating more than five servings did not provide additional benefits. The study found some powerful numbers that back up their findings. For example, participants who had a “5-a-day” diet had a 13 percent lower risk of death from all causes, a 12 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, a 10 percent lower risk of death from cancer, and a 35 percent lower risk of death from respiratory disease.
Of course, the diet only works if you follow it. But, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one in 10 adults eat enough fruits and vegetables. So, if you want to live a little longer, spend some more time in the produce section. And, just to be clear, the researchers pointed out that fruit juices and starchy vegetables such as peas, corn, and potatoes should not count toward your five servings (sorry).
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Proper nutrition is essential to staying healthy and fit. If you want to do challenging workouts with adidas Training, you need to fill your energy stores with the right foods – for maximum results. These 9 foods help you build strength and should be a regular part of your muscle building diet.
Top 9 Foods for a Muscle Gain Diet
Legumes are protein and fiber powerhouses. Lentils, for example, are especially high in protein. 100 g of this dry good provides about 25 g of protein. Their fiber content is also nothing to sneeze at. Just 100 g covers half of your daily requirement (30 g).
Do you know how much protein you need per day to build muscle? Calculate your protein requirement here:
Eggs are the perfect food for a muscle gain diet. One chicken egg provides about 7 g of protein. Plus, its biological value is nearly 100. What does that mean? The higher the biological value, the more similar the protein in the food is to the body’s own protein, which makes it easier for the body to transform it into muscle mass. Two hard-boiled eggs, for instance, are an ideal post-workout snack.
3. Flaxseed oil
If fitness is your goal, you should definitely be using flaxseed oil. It’s highly nutritious and loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, which keep your heart and brain healthy and help stop inflammation.
Good to know:
Cold-pressed flaxseed oil should be stored in the fridge. The oil keeps for up to 5 months if the bottle is sealed. Once the seal has been broken you should use it as quickly as possible.
Quinoa is the ideal side dish for bodyweight training. 100 g provides 15 g of vegan protein. This grain is also very high in magnesium (275 mg), which plays a key role in muscle contraction.
Ginger not only strengthens your immune system: this Asian root is said to improve blood flow to the muscles (which helps with sore muscles!) and promote the breakdown of lactic acid in muscle tissue. This helps you recover quickly, so you are ready for the next workout.
6. Cottage cheese
Protein pancakes with cottage cheese are the perfect breakfast if you like bodyweight training. Why? This dairy product is low in calories and a good source of high-quality protein and carbohydrates. Cottage cheese also contains the essential amino acid tryptophan, which helps you sleep better. And adequate sleep is crucial if you want to perform your best.
How about a cup of coffee before your workout? Coffee increases your blood pressure and heart rate, which helps you to get the most out of your workout. But go easy on the amount. An espresso is a good idea before a bodyweight training session, but skip the milk and sugar!
Small but powerful! Blueberries are low in calories. 100 g has only about 40 calories. The purple berries are also antioxidants. This means that they fight free radicals in your body, which is especially important for regular training. Blueberries taste great in smoothies or together with rolled oats and plain or soy yogurt.
Nuts and seeds are essential for muscle building. They are rich in protein as well as high in fat. Walnuts are particularly beneficial because of their high unsaturated fat content.
In a Nutshell
If you want to build strength, a healthy muscle building diet with enough calories is just as important as challenging workouts. Eat the 9 foods listed above on a regular basis and you’ll be on the right track to getting the muscle growth you want!
You’ve probably heard of turmeric by now, the golden spice that’s been promoted for a host of health boons. But what exactly is it? Can turmeric benefits make a difference in your day-to-day life? And what are the best ways to consume it? Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Turmeric
Turmeric is a spice that’s derived from the curcuma longa root, which is part of the ginger family. In fact, it looks remarkably similar to ginger root. The major difference, however, is turmeric has an intense golden-yellow color. That pigment comes from its active compound, curcumin (more on this below). The spice is used worldwide, but is especially common in Indian cuisine and as a remedy to treat certain health conditions such as arthritis and heart conditions.
Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric contains many plant-based substances that have a number of proposed health benefits. One group of these substances is called curcuminoids, which provides the greatest health-promoting benefits. That includes the powerhouse we mentioned before, curcumin, which is revered for its anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antioxidant properties. In fact, it’s arguably the most potent, naturally occurring, anti-inflammatory agent around.
Now post-workout, inflammation increases in your body as a healing measure. But excess inflammation can be disruptive to healthy cellular processes, like metabolic function, and can damage certain cellular structures, like arteries. By prioritizing a spice like turmeric—and nixing bad behaviors like smoking, being sedentary, and consuming foods that are processed or high in saturated fat—you can boost recovery and overall well-being by lowering inflammation.
The downside to curcumin is that it isn’t absorbed very well in the gut when consumed. To get the dosage that’s going to be most beneficial, supplementation is often needed. Luckily there are many methods that can help increase absorption. Two of the most common: Pair turmeric with piperine (or black pepper extract), or combine it with fats. We’ll show you how below.
How to Consume Turmeric for the Greatest Health Benefits
It’s easier to combine fats and turmeric than you’d think. Add the spice with black pepper, avocado oil or coconut oil, and veggies, tofu, and/or chicken to boost its bioavailability. Golden lattes have also become incredibly popular: heat together coconut oil, almond milk, fresh turmeric, honey, and cinnamon. (Make it at home so you know you’re getting high-quality turmeric.) You can even blend turmeric into your post-workout or morning smoothie; just make sure you use almond milk or full-fat dairy as your liquid to get those healthy fats to bind to the turmeric. There’s one caveat: When you add the spice to meals, it might contain as little at 3 percent curcuminoids, the beneficial active compound. In this case, supplementation is your best bet to get the benefits of turmeric and curcumin.
Take 1,500 mg of curcumin with 60 mg of piperine per day. Or, try supplementing with Meriva, a patented form of curcumin; take 400–1,000 mg per day. Extracts like these are the most potent forms and yield the greatest health benefits.
Top 3 Turmeric Supplements to Take:
Jordan Mazur, M.S., R.D., is the coordinator of nutrition and team sports dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers.
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