Foods That Actually Make You Fitter According To Science
We’re used to the idea that the food we eat can have a bad effect on our fitness. If you spend all day sitting around eating sugary, fat-laden ice cream, then you’ll fur up your arteries and make your entire cardiovascular system less efficient. But what about foods that actually make you fitter? Is there such a thing?
It turns out that there are more ways than one of increasing your cardiovascular performance. Spending hours on the track or the treadmill will help to a certain degree, but you can supercharge your progress by choosing to include the right foods in your diet. Here are some foods that science says will actively make you fitter.
Runners have been downing beetroot smoothies in an attempt to improve their mile times for about a decade. The reason for this is because beetroot contains a protein that helps the artery walls relax. The more relaxed they are, the lower the blood pressure and the more efficiently they operate. Beetroot juice has been proven to be so effective that it’s actually possible to cheat on a blood pressure test at the doctor’s office just by gulping down a beetroot smoothie before you visit.
If you don’t like beetroot, then good news. The same active ingredient that’s found in beets is also found in many other common vegetables, including arugula and lamb’s lettuce.
When scientists first discovered the benefits of fenugreek and its derivative, testofen, on fitness, they didn’t believe the results. Scientists thought that the only way to get fitter was for the body to increase the availability of oxygen to cells. They didn’t think that the cells themselves could be induced to burn oxygen more efficiently. But this is precisely what fenugreek allowed cells to do. People who ate fenugreek were able to do more work for a given amount of oxygen, suggesting that their cells were made more efficient by the phytonutrients in the herb. Now millions of fitness buffs are gulping down fenugreek pills for its unique benefits.
Sweet potatoes are famous for their health benefits and among the most nutritious forms of carbohydrates out there, thanks to their mineral-rich skin and vitamin-filled flesh. But sweet potatoes aren’t just nutrient-dense: they’re also good for those who exercise.
It’s mainly thanks to their high potassium content. Elevated levels of potassium help to prevent cramping and are a great option for anybody wanting to carb-load before a race.
Blueberries have been touted as a superfood for many years. But science is slowly discovering that the benefits attributable to blueberries apply equally to many other berries too. Berries, it turns out, are one of the healthiest things you can eat. They’re particularly good for marathon runners. Scientists have discovered that the anthocyanins in berries can actually repair the damage done to their DNA after extended bouts of exercise. Thus, they can prevent runners from accumulating damage and looking old before their time. This helps to prevent injury and avoids “runner’s face.”
Image Credit: Beetroot