Nutritional Support for Sports Performance
Are you looking for a dietary aid to help kick your athletic power up a notch? Don’t settle for refined commercial products when you can reap equal benefits from natural, clean label foods. These five options offer a deliciously nutritious way to enhance your sports performance or recovery.
5 Foods That Enhance Sports Performance
Raisins are nature’s alternative to commercial energy chews and sports gels. For long athletic events or endurance races, chewing a handful of raisins mid-way can help sustain your energy levels and replenish glycogen stores. Raisins supply 33 g of carbohydrates and 123 calories per ¼ cup and are a concentrated source of iron and potassium.
2. Coconut Water
Coconut water offers an additive-free way to stay hydrated without settling for sports drinks. With 600 mg potassium, 252 mg sodium, 60 mg magnesium, and 58 mg calcium per cup, coconut water can help replenish some of the electrolytes you lose through sweat, and reduce temporary muscle cramps in healthy adults due to exercise.
3. Beet Juice
A study published in the 2012 issue of International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found that cyclists who drank 500 ml of beet juice per day for six days improved their performance by 1.2 % in a 10 km time trial. Although this dose of juice is too extreme for most people, you can certainly benefit from droppin’ a few beets into your diet.
The balance of carbohydrates and protein in milk make it an excellent post-sport recovery drink to help rebuild your muscle energy stores. With 314 mg of calcium per cup, milk can also help you replenish the calcium lost through sweat. To boost the taste and protein of milk, add a scoop of Dark Chocolate PGX® Satisfast Whey Protein.
After a long session of high impact exercise, loading up on the anti-inflammatory polyphenols found in cherries may help you to recover more quickly from joint pain due to over exercising. Cherries are also a natural source of melatonin, which supports a good quality sleep – and sleep is a key factor in physical recovery.
Tell us which foods help you reach your athletic goals in the comments section below.
 USDA. “National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference Release 27.” Agricultural Research Service. Web. 1 May 2015.
 Cermak, N., Martin Gibala and Luc van Loon. “Nitrate Supplementation’s Improvement of 10-Km Time-Trial Performance in Trained Cyclists.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 22.1 (2012). Web. 1 May 2015.