Nutrient Dense Food for Women that Workout October 17 2014 by Simone Denny
My sister is training for the Noosa Triathon, along with approximately 8500 others who will take part in the 3rd largest Olympic distance triathon next month. Growing up we lived at the top of a huge hill and I would always be the one running ahead of my sister, telling her to keep up. Oh how the tables have turned - every time I see her lately she's in full body lycra and has been for a 50km bike ride, a long distance run or has swum the full width of Bondi twice (I'm exhausted just hearing about it)! She looks buff and I feel incredibly Mumsy and soft around the edges in comparison.
I'm ready to embark on my own little fitness regime: My little one is nearly one and it's time to get in shape - life is busy and my time windows are small, but with summer knocking on the door I do have motivation on my side. So whether you are at the beginning of your fitness journey or you are looking like the bionic woman, one thing remains the same: you need to nourish and replenish your body with the nutrients that will give you the energy and endurance to perform.
On quite a few occasions my sister has turned up at my house and told me she's feeling so tired and has asked what can she get from the Nourishing Hub to help her get more energy. So I've picked out a few of my favourite products for women that workout as well as a power packed Energy and Endurance Super Smoothie that has all the goodies required to give your body the nourishment it needs.
Spirulina has been a long time favourite of mine. It is known for it's very high levels of vegetarian protein and for it's complete protein properties (meaning it contains all of the essential amino acids). Spirulina contains one of the richest concentrations of nutrients of all foods. It is also a good source of iron .
Recent research by the Institute of Human Performance and Rehabilitation in Greece found that supplementing the diet with Spirulina improved running capacity by 30%, thus extending the time to exhaustion significantly. Want to improve endurance? Add some spirulina to your morning smoothie!
Natural Protein Powders
I emphasise the word 'natural' here as there are so many protein powders on the market that are highly processed and are filled with nasty chemicals, synthetics, fillers, sweeteners etc. These protein powders are doing your body more harm than good. The good news is there are plenty of natural sources of protein and an amazing range of clean protein powders on the market these days.
Protein is needed for energy in the body and helps to grow and repair muscles after exercise. My personal preference are non-whey protein powders - i.e. vegetarian/vegan protein powders which are usually more alkaline and easier for the body to digest, but this is a personal choice. Here a few of my favourite clean protein powders
- RAW Protein Powder - certified organic rice and pea protein, bio fermented with raw enzymes
- Pea Protein Powder - non GMO pea protein
- Eden Health Rice Protein Powder or Superfood Formula - certified organic, bio fermented with a high assimilation rate.
- Body Sculpt for Woman - if you are opting for a whey-based protein this is superior quality dairy option combined with seeds, nuts and coconut.
- Sun Warrior Vegan Protein - Made with sprouted brown rice, a popular choice.
A few nutrient dense foods you can add to your diet that are rich sources of protein include the following:
Not only does raw cacao taste great it is also a rich source of magnesium, which is an essential vitamin for women who exercise (as per the below). Cacao is also 16% iron, which is frequently deficient in a woman's diet. Iron sources can become depleted with exercise. As energy is exerted on the body there is an increase demand for iron - low iron levels can cause feelings of fatigue and exhaustion.
Magnesium is involved in 300 chemical reactions within our bodies, including energy production. It is used in every muscle movement and nerve function in the body and plays a key role in reducing muscular cramps. It is also said to be anti-inflammatory. Magnesium can be taken as a supplement, magnesium oil that can be used on the skin, or magnesium bath salts.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Women who train regularly need to include a good source of healthy fats in their diet. Omega fatty acids can help speed up recovery, largely due to their anti-inflammatory properties. They can also reduce muscle soreness and improve joint flexibility. Fish oil is an excellent source of omega 3s (in the form of EPA and DHA). Flax Seeds and Chia seeds are an excellent source of plant omegas.
Energy and Endurance Super Smoothie
This is wonderful smoothie pre or post workout. It is rich in protein, magnesium, omega 3s. It is perfect for boosting energy, increasing endurance and aiding recovery.