Best Foods for Recovery.

29 06 2009

What foods are best to eat after exercise to promote recovery? Simply put, stress (training) combined with adequate rest and proper nutrition is the recipe for improved performance. Interesting to note, the better the nutrition, the less rest needed, therefore the faster performance improves.

Recovery from a workout actually begins before the workout has begun. What I’m suggesting is that it is not in the athlete’s best interest to break down his/her body in a way that will not result in improved performance. For example, if an athlete embarks on a run without being adequately hydrated, an unnecessary stress is being placed on the body. The athlete will experience a higher heart rate due to inadequate hydration, fitness will not improve as a result and fatigue will occur sooner. As a consequence, recovery will take longer, yet there will be no pay off in terms of improved fitness. This can be referred to as uncomplimentary stress””avoidable stress with no pay off. For recovery time to be minimized it’s important to make sure the body is properly prepared to take on the stress of exercise.

Immediately following a workout, once hydration has been achieved, the best foods to consume are fresh fruit with a small amount of protein. Fresh fruit is easy to digest and the naturally occurring sugar it contains helps to quickly restock depleted muscle glycogen stores. The protein further speeds the up-take of sugar into the system. However, the amount of protein must be small at this meal, comprising of 25% or less of the total number of carbohydrate grams. This is usually referred to as a 4:1 ratio, meaning that for every 4 grams of carbohydrate, there is 1 gram of protein. Another requirement of the protein is that it be easily digestible, ideally in liquid or pudding type consistency. Medium firm tofu is a good option for a post-workout protein source. It is certainly easy to digest and contains magnesium and calcium, two important minerals necessary for smooth muscle contraction. The body needs to restore calcium and magnesium after exercise because they are both excreted in sweat.

This snack should be consumed within 45 minutes from the time the workout has ended. If the body is made to wait longer, recovery will be impaired.

The following is an example of a post workout snack.

Chocolate recovery pudding

¼ pound medium firm tofu ““ protein, calcium
1 banana ““ electrolytes
½ pear ““ natural sugar
½ tbsp hemp oil ““ essential fatty acids (3-6)
½ tbsp cocoa powder ““ natural flavour
sprinkle sea salt ““ sodium (lost in sweat)

Blend all ingredients together until reaching a consistent texture. I recommend a food processor.

*The riper the pear and banana the sweeter the pudding

Once about an hour and a half has passed since finishing the recovery snack, a balanced, nutrient rich, easily digestible meal is optimal. I recommend a nutritious blender drink containing all the components of a complete meal. The reason I recommend a liquid meal is to further reduce the strain on the digestive system during the recovery period. When the body is pooling all its resources to help repair damage done by training, it needs all the help it can get.

The best sources of protein are hemp, pea and rice in powder form, mixed with water. Hemp is very high in vitamin E, a powerful anti-oxidant that helps further speed recovery. Hemp also contains anti-inflammation properties that help soft tissue repair, important after exercise. pH is also an important factor to be aware of when making a recovery formula as lactic acid is a by-product of exercise. The consumption of alkaline producing foods will help to neutralize the typically acidic pH of a fatigued body, thereby speeding recovery.

The most alkaline foods are those with the highest chlorophyll levels ““ dark, leafy greens. I recommend a daily salad for this, among other, reasons. However since dark, leafy green vegetables aren’t great for making blender drinks, you can use chlorella. Chlorella is a fresh water algae from Japan. It possesses the highest amount of chlorophyll in nature, is rich in vitamin B-12 and contains almost 70% protein. An excellent addition for anyone, especially a vegan athlete, I recommend 1-2 teaspoons of chlorella in each blender drink.

Maca is also an excellent food to help speed recovery and promote energy without stimulation. Grown in the Peruvian highlands, maca is a turnip-like root vegetable. Available at many health food stores in powdered form, maca helps to nourish and rejuvenate the adrenal glands. After training or any other type of stress the adrenals become fatigued. If the stress becomes chronic and not enough time is allowed for recovery, common symptoms of stress become apparent. As with chlorella, I recommend adding 1-2 teaspoons of maca in each blender drink.

Here is an example of a blender shake with all the nutrients you need to optimize recovery, and therefore performance:

Nutrient-rich shake

3 cups water (or 2 cups water and 1½ cups ice)
1 banana ““ electrolytes
½ cup blueberries ““ antioxidants
½ pear ““ natural sugar, fibre
1 tbsp hemp oil ““ essential fatty acids (3-6)
1 tbsp ground flax seeds ““ omega 3, fibre
2 tbsp hemp protein ““ complete protein
1 tsp (2.5 grams) maca, powdered form ““ sterols, alkaloids glucosinolates
1 tsp (2.5 grams) chlorella, powdered form ““ vitamin b12, chlorophyll, nucleic acids

Blend together until smooth.

For variety, add either a tablespoon of raw pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Raw carob powder is also a good addition.

The ease of digestibility, the high pH (more alkaline), the raw protein source, and the nutrient density are all major advantages that post workout vegan food sources have over animal based ones. Vegan or not, for the first few hours after a workout, abstaining from animal products can facilitate a quicker recovery.





Top 10 Raw Protein Foods.

29 06 2009

Below is a list of some of the most highest concentrated raw foods in assimiable proteins!

  1. Hemp Seeds
  2. Goji Berries
  3. Sprouts
  4. Spirulian/Blue Green Algae
  5. Pure Synergy
  6. Maca
  7. Avocado
  8. Figs
  9. Greens and veggies
  10. Sprouted Nuts and Seeds

1. Hemp seeds contain all 8 essential amino acids for adults, plus three other amino acids that are considered essential for children and infants. Almost two-thirds of hemp protein is made up of edestin, a globulin protein found only in hemp seeds. This makes hemp the superior source for this protein in the plant kingdom. Edestin is a type of plant protein that is similar to protein found in the human body, and thus is perfectly suited to aid in meeting the body’s cellular needs such as DNA repair.

Did you know? Hemp Protein Powder is produced when whole hemp seeds are cold-pressed to expel the oil, leaving behind a dry “cake.” This cake is then milled at low temperatures to remove some of the fiber and produce a concentrated form of protein. Cool, huh?

2. Goji berries, sometimes called wolfberries, are perhaps the most nutritionally rich fruit on the planet. Goji berries contain 18 kinds of amino acids (six times higher than bee pollen) and contain all 8 essential amino acids (such as isoleucine and tryptophan). Goji berries also contain up to 21 trace minerals (the main ones being zinc, iron, copper, calcium, germanium, selenium, and phosphorus). Read more…

3. Sprouts are living foods, easy to digest and filled with enzymes, proteins, complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Everything your body needs in a form that your body can use! Sprouts are economical, easy to make and nutritious. Sunflower, kamut, hemp, quinoa, and bean sprouts are some of highest in protein.

4. Spirulina is a blue-green algae containing complete, balanced protein and a wide range of valuable nutrients. Spirulina is approximately 70% easily digestible protein. It contains 18 out of 22 amino acids and all of the essential amino acids, making it a unique vegetarian source of complete protein. Better yet, Spirulina protein is 95% digestible compared to meat sources, which are often difficult for the body to break down. In fact, beef protein is estimated to be only 20% digestible. Spirulina is a wonderful way to consume high quality protein that’s easy on the body. It contains enzymes, which naturally assist in the digestion process.

5. Pure Synergy is a remarkable nutritional supplement for your vitality, health, and total well-being blending Nature’s finest and most potent superfoods — algaes and organic green juices, freeze dried herbs, oriental therapeutic mushrooms, plant enzymes and phytonutrients, and natural antioxidants. Very high in protein!

Did you know? Pure Synergy ingredients are organically grown or wild crafted, seasonally harvested, fresh freeze-dried/ cold dried or cold ground, tested over 200 times for purity and packaged in recyclable glass.

6. Maca has an amazing nutritional value. Its high protein content excels those from other plants. For example it has 5 times more proteins and 4 times more fibre than the potato, having less fat. It has an excellent 0.76 ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat (40.1% saturated fats, 52.7% unsaturated fat). Maca contains two of three essential fatty acids (oleic and linoleic). It also has a surprising amino acids profile, a total of 18 amino acids, including 7 of the 9 essential amino acids. Vitamin and mineral levels are considerable and in some cases they represent 100% of the recommended daily value.

7. Avocados are bursting with nutrients–vitamins, A, B-complex, C, E, H, K, and folic acid, plus the minerals magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, potassium and many other trace elements. Avocados provide all of the essential amino acids (those that must be provided by our diet), with 18 amino acids in all, plus 7 fatty acids, including Omega 3 and 6. Avocados contain more protein than cow’s milk, about 2% per edible portion. Since rapidly growing nursing infants obtain no more than 2% protein from mother’s milk, we can safely assume that children and adults do not regularly require foods richer in protein than avocado. Our bodies recycle approximately 80% of our protein; cooked protein is denatured and largely unusable, thus our protein need is far lower than what is taught by conventional dietetics. A small avocado will provide more usable protein then a huge steak because cooked protein in meat is deranged and mostly unavailable to our liver, the organ which makes all of our body’s protein.
From Living Nutrition Magazine vol. 11 http://www.livingnutrition.com © Living Nutrition Publications.

8. Figs are loaded with nutritious protein, carbohydrates, essential minerals and vitamins.

Did you know? The actual edible “fruit” of a fig tree is called a syconium–a hollow structure lined on the inside with hundreds of tiny unisexual flowers.

9. Greens are high in protein, especially wild greens. Eating blending salads and juicing green veggies makes amino acids and other nutrients more assimiable.

10. Most nuts contain complete and high-grade proteins. They rank and even surpass, flesh foods in the quantity of their proteins. Nut proteins are also free from pathogenic bacterial or parasitical contamination. Almonds – their proteins have a high biological value and some nutritionists say they are an excellent substitute for meat; Almonds have 19% of protein. Coconut – is an excellent and complete food; Coconut has 6% of protein.

[by Alex Malinsky]

ex Malinsky]





Top 6 Super Foods.

23 06 2009

Wheatgrass Juice

  • Wheatgrass contains most of the vitamins and minerals needed for human health.
  • It’s a whole meal and complete protein with about 30 enzymes.
  • It has up to 70% chlorophyll (which builds the blood). It’s an excellent source of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc.
  • Wheatgrass cleanses the body (natural raw detoxer) and it eliminates body and breath odors.
  • The natural value of wheatgrass juice is so high that many people don’t feel the “cravings” that lead to overeating.
  • It’s great for the skin and first and second decree burns.
  • All grasses are edible and that there are over 400 varieties.

Goji Berries

  • Tibetan goji berries are extremely rich in anti-oxidants which help protect the cells in our bodies from diseases like cancer.
  • They’re also an excellent source of Vitamin C and soluble fiber.
  • They have more amino acids than bee pollen, more beta carotene than carrots, more iron than spinach and 21 trace minerals.
  • Goji Berries contain of 13% protein!
  • It’s been used to treat eye problems, skin rashes, allergies, insomnia, liver disease, diabetes, cervical cancer, to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • It’s a powerful anti-fungal and anti-bacterial food.

Maca

  • Maca is a radish like fruit that grows in Peru. It’s one of the top 5 super foods enjoyed by raw foodists.
  • It’s extraordinary rich in nutrients: 10% protein, 60% carbohydrate and full of fatty acids, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals trace.
  • Maca is famous for its amazing health benefits and used to boost, energy, strength, libido, sexual function and fertility in both men and women.
  • It’s a natural viagra with no side effects and it’s said to relieve symptoms of menopause within days.
  • The Peruvian root works gradually, not instantly. You need to eat maca continually to receive the full benefits. For the best results look for organic raw maca powder.
  • Maca balances the body’s systems: it’ll raise low blood pressure and lower high blood pressure as needed. Maca boosts immunity and harmonizes the body’s overall vitality.

Bee Pollen

  • Bee pollen contain more than 96 different nutrients, including every single nutrient that you need to live.
  • It’s made up of 40% protein. It’s a natural energizer, slows down the aging process, and lowers cholesterol levels.
  • This super food reliefs discomfort from PMS, prevents prostate problems, improves sperm count, boosts the immune system, and detoxifies your body. It alleviates allergies, improves endurance, strength and mental clarity.
  • It promotes weight loss: the rate at which your body burns fat and it reduces cravings.
  • It regulates your mood and helps control stress in your life.

Hemp Seed

  • Hemp is one of the purest, most complete plants on earth.
  • It has the perfect balance of Omega 3 and 6 for sustainable human health. This makes raw hemp seeds incredibly powerful against cancer. It might be the single best food to prevent it. It’s a high quality, complete raw food protein and has a massive trace mineral content.
  • It’s the only seed that doesn’t need to be germinated before eating: it has no enzyme exhibitors. Therefore it’s easy to absorb.

Chocolate

  • Although controversial, many find raw chocolate a super food.
  • It’s rich in anti oxidants and magnesium. And as long as you’re healthy and use is sensably it’s a super, tasty and healthy addition to your recipes.

The benefits of raw chocolate?

  1. It’s a major source of magnesium. Therefore a great laxative, it releases PMS symptoms, it’s good for the brain and heart.
  2. It’s the number 1 anti-oxidant source. 30X as much as green tea and 10X that of blueberries.
  3. It does not contain caffeine.
  4. However, it does contain theobromine (a sister molecule of caffeine). This makes raw chocolate the best medicine against asthma.
  5. It contains serotonin and triple defense. Together they protect us from the damage of stress.
  6. Chocolate is the number one weight loss food. It’s so nutrient dense. If you eat a few beans you feel fantastic and satisfied. You won’t feel hungry and you can go for hours without food.