Do you struggle to recover from training or feel out of breath and light headed during strenuous exercise? If so, try out the following three natural superfoods to boost your stamina and get back on track faster after your workout.
In one study, participants who consumed the purple root before working out were able to run faster and speed up by 5% during the last 1.1 miles 1. Researchers found that the natural nitrates in the beetroot made muscles more effective at utilizing energy and helped them recover faster.
Steamed or raw beet
When: 1 hour before your workout.
How much: 200 grams (7 oz) of baked or steamed beetroot.
When: 2 to 3 hours before your workout.
How much: At least two 250ml cups (about 8.5 oz).
- Tart cherries
Cherries are naturally rich in anthocyanins, potent antioxidants which may promote faster muscle recovery by slashing the wear and tear that usually occurs when the muscles are maxed out 2. That’s not all, tart cherries are good sources of melatonin, a natural compound that can help you sleep better and thus optimize recovery.
How much: 12 ounces of concentrated juice or 1/4 pound organic tart cherries, pits removed.
When: Twice daily for 7 days before intense training and 2 days following training.
This peppery-tasting green veggie contains various antioxidants that helps protect DNA against exercise-induced oxidative stress 3.
When: For noticeable effects, you need to consume watercress regularly over a period of at least 2 months to allow the antioxidants to build up.
How much: About a cup.
- Murphy, M., Eliot, K., Heuertz, R. M., & Weiss, E. (2012). Whole beetroot consumption acutely improves running performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 112(4), 548-552.
- Connolly, D.A., McHugh, M.P., Padilla-Zakour, O.I., Carlson, L., & Sayers, S.P. (2006). Efficacy of a tart cherry juice blend in preventing the symptoms of muscle damage. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 40, 679-683
- Fogarty, M. C., Hughes, C. M., Burke, G., Brown, J. C., & Davison, G. W. (2013). Acute and chronic watercress supplementation attenuates exercise-induced peripheral mononuclear cell DNA damage and lipid peroxidation. Age (years), 23(4), 24.