Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods
The food athletes consume before and after workouts is vital to ensuring they are practicing and competing at peak performance. The fuel we consume is also important in ensuring that our muscles are getting the right nourishment to grow, rest and recover after a strenuous workout. Athletes can often find themselves experiencing muscle inflammation, which results in painful swelling and may even cause more severe injuries to occur. That is why anti-inflammatory foods are so vital. Here is a list of anti-inflammation foods that every vegan athlete can add to their weekly menu.
1. Whole Grains
Thanks to the slower digestion enjoyed by whole grains, they ensure that an athlete’s blood sugar remains low throughout the day. It is often the spikes in blood sugar that we get from eating white bread, pasta or rice that can lead to inflammation issues in the body. The types of whole grains that are very useful for athletes include quinoa, barley, steel-cut oats or whole wheat pasta, bread and rice.
2. Leafy Greens
Vegetables such as spinach, collard greens, kale and swiss chard are fantastic for getting rid of inflammation symptoms in the body. They are also very good at preventing inflammation in athletes. Another benefit associated with these leafy greens is the antioxidants and flavonoids that are being put into an athlete’s body. The antioxidants, flavonoids and the vitamins in leafy greens can help prevent tissue injuries and cellular damage. It does not matter too much if the leafy greens are cooked or raw.
Not only are blueberries a delicious snack, or a wonderful addition to oatmeal or yogurt dishes, but they also have anti-inflammation properties. Blueberries are full of flavonoids, carotenoids and are classified as a superfood. Blueberries are also good for your skin, while they will boost your immune system. They can also provide athletes with a good metabolism boost.
A powerful spice that is often associated with Asian cuisines, turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that helps to reduce swelling and pain in the body. Turmeric is very easy to add into the diet, as it can be used as a spice in many soups, curries and stews. Athletes who have issues with muscle pain, or individuals who suffer from arthritis can also benefit from the addition of turmeric into their diet. If getting turmeric into your food is not easy, it is also possible to consume it using supplements.
5. Sweet Potatoes
The antioxidants in sweet potatoes offer many anti-inflammatory properties. These potatoes are full of manganese and beta-carotene, the antioxidants that help the body fight against diseases such as gout and arthritis. Since sweet potatoes are also full of fiber and complex carbs, they are a very nourishing and healthy addition to a vegan athlete’s diet.
6. Nuts and Seeds
It is a misconception among many vegan athletes, and individuals, that fat is the enemy. But unless your fat is coming from heavily processed sources, it is not a problem. In fact, the fat from nuts and seeds is terrific for the body, when it is consumed in moderation. The healthy fats that are found in these foods contain Omega-3 fats, similar to the ones we find in fish. Adding walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds or chia seeds into the diet can help fight inflammation and deliver other health benefits.
Many vegan athletes go with soy as a protein replacement, and that is a good decision. Soy not only provides plenty of healthy protein to the body, but the antioxidants like isoflavones that are found in soy will fight inflammation.