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Wednesday 21 October 2015

Sponsored Post: Healthy Foods & Sports Nutrition

This is a sponsored post that contains affiliate links. 

Healthy Foods & Sports Nutrition

There are many healthy foods and herbs that can be used to make fantastic tasting meals, whilst also enhancing sports performance.  Sports Nutrition doesn’t have to be all powders and potions. Optimising sports performance and enhancing energy at the gym starts with a feeling of wellbeing that comes from eating nutritious foods.

Here are some specific foods that you should look to include in your diet, in order to improve recovery and optimise sports performance.

Oily Fish
Oily fish contains high levels of omega 3. Omega 3 is great for optimising memory and other aspects of cognition, and for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. High levels of omega 3, specifically the part called EPA, are important to have in the diet in order to reduce inflammation. High levels of inflammation are detrimental to recovery from intense exercise, and are generally thought to be bad for health and wellbeing. From cardiovascular disease to depression, inflammation is now thought to be a contributing factor.

Nutritionists recommend a diet that contains high amounts of omega 3 and relatively low amounts of omega 6 to minimise inflammation. Western diets are typically very high in omega 6, with the ratio of omega 6 to omega 3 as high as 16:1. This is extremely high when you consider how human beings evolved eating omega 6 to omega 3 at a ratio of 1:1. 

To re-align this ratio of omega 6 to omega 3, contrary to what dieticians and nutritionists told us 10 years ago, we are now encouraged to avoid vegetable oils high in pro-inflammatory omega 6.

Medium and Low Glycaemic Index Carbohydrates
The Glycaemic index is a measure of how fast a particular carbohydrate is absorbed by the body, and how much it increases blood sugar level. The index is on a scale of 1 to 100, with glucose having a Glycaemic Index (GI) of 100. 

Consuming foods with a high GI can potentially lead to conditions such as diabetes if consumed on a regular basis, and in large amounts. Foods with high GI also tend to be more refined and contain less nutritional value than medium or low GI foods. High GI foods can also lead to inflammation, unless consumed immediately after exercise.

Opt for whole-wheat carbohydrate sources over white versions. Other good sources of carbohydrate include; quinoa, barley, oats, sweet potatoes, squashes and buckwheat.

Raw Honey
Raw honey translates to unrefined honey. Once honey is processed, it contains far less nutritional value. The difference between the two types of honey is quite shocking. Whilst raw honey is considered good for you, processed honey may contain added sugars or corn syrup and contribute to excess inflammation rather than alleviating it. 

Herbs & Spices
Nature has provided us with so many herbs and spices that are incredibly good for our bodies. Not all of them taste great however, and aren’t going to go down too well if they are added to your next Sunday roast or stir fry.

Gingko biloba is a type of tree that is cultivated and used in herbal remedies, although it is now used in desserts and other dishes across Asia. Studies suggest that it has anti-oxidant properties and is a natural ‘nootropic’, promoting brain function and decision making. It may also enhance exercise or sports performance, possibly by enhancing blood flow throughout the body.

Turmeric is an amazing spice that is used in many traditional Indian dishes.  Turmeric is even being researched as an element of bowel-cancer treatment and has been shown to enhance recovery in endurance athletes

Himalayan salt

A final, simple way to enhance a typical Western-diet, is to switch from table salt to pink Himalayan salt. This is another example of eating foods in the original and unprocessed form. Himalayan salt contains a range of electrolytes that have great health benefits. It includes magnesium which is fantastic for reducing muscle soreness. Table salt, on the other hand, contains just sodium and chloride and if consumed in large amounts it can lead to high blood pressure.

Eat foods in their raw, unprocessed form whenever possible. Avoid high GI carbohydrates except for after exercise. To benefit both health and sports performance, try consuming lots of anti-inflammatory foods and spices such as turmeric. 

I received compensation in exchange for allowing this article on Sports Nutrition to be posted due to the affiliate links. 

Hooray! *Goes online and enters another race with the money*


  1. A timely reminder after last night's cider and 3x quarter pounder with cheese (no bun). Recovery is important, my body's not impressed this morning.

    1. I'm still finding I can't eat large amounts of food. Eating little and often. Bet the cider went down better than the finish line prosecco though ...!