Eating a balanced diet and providing enough fuel for the muscles forms the building blocks of any diet but in recent years, much has been written about the potential of superfoods too. If you’ve been living under a rock and are oblivious to the development, superfoods are items which are widely considered to be particularly rich in nutrients and beneficial to health.
Superfoods do have the ability to deliver benefits not readily found elsewhere and can produce quite radical results when eaten as part of a balanced diet. If you like to train, muscle recovery will be one of your priorities, a holy grail for any athlete along with fat loss. Here’s a closer look at superfoods and just how they could help to promote muscle recovery whilst also stripping back the fat.
Turn the air blue
Most athletes will automatically turn to a protein shake post-workout to try and give tired and aching muscles the building blocks they need. This can go part of the way to soothing muscles, but protein alone won’t provide a complete solution.
The answer is to throw in some blueberries, alongside the protein. Blueberries have a high antioxidant content and can help to prevent damage to muscles from free radicals as a result of a hard training session. The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that drinking a blueberry shake both before and after a workout helped to improve muscle recovery.
Sunny side up
The simple egg may be a surprising superfood but it’s simply brimming with nutrients. Eggs contain less than 80 calories yet pack a powerful protein punch, helping you get your fair share without piling on the pounds. Some studies suggest that eggs make you feel fuller for longer compared to other foods of the same calorific value, helping to prevent snacking.
However, the advantages of eggs don’t end there as they’re also a great source of B12, a vitamin important for burning fat within the body. One of the biggest hurdles can be to strip out unwanted fat without losing lean tissue because dieting is a catabolic activity. Eggs also contain leucine, a BCAA (Branch Chain Amino Acid) which helps to prevent lean tissue loss while simultaneously promoting fat loss.
A little indulgence
Who would have guessed that the creamy taste of Greek yoghurt would be next on the list? However, Greek yoghurt has benefits for both losing fat and protecting lean tissue. With more protein and calcium than regular yoghurt, Greek yoghurt has been linked with helping to shift stubborn belly fat, primarily because of its high calcium content. One study showed that those who included daily portions of Greek yoghurt lost more weight than those eating diets of a similar calorific value but without the calcium. This weight loss was also accompanied by a protection of the lean tissue, so it’s a double thumbs up.
The list goes on….
There are many other superfoods which can also help to promote muscle recovery and aid fat loss such as nuts, fish, peppers, spinach and green tea, to name but a few. If you’re not harnessing the power of superfoods to supplement workouts, it’s time to start putting a new diet plan together to give your results a boost.
If you have been hitting our Body Pump class and are in need of some muscle recovery, try adding some of these superfoods mentioned above to your diet and see for yourself how good you feel post-workout. Tried these superfoods already? Why not share your favourite superfood recovery meals on our social channels on Facebook and Instagram.