If you’re looking to shave seconds off your time or take your swimming to the next level, you’ll need to review your nutritional plan. Improving your performance starts with fueling your body correctly, by giving it the nutrients it needs to conquer tough training challenges and to recover properly. You might try to improve your nutritional plan by adding some more “superfoods” to your diet. We’ve put together 6 superfoods to add to your nutritional plan to help you supercharge your swimming.
1 – Garlic: “the first performance enhancing supplement”
Garlic is one of the earliest recorded “performance enhancing” agents to be used in athletic competitions. Accounts date back to ancient Greece where Olympic athletes were fed garlic before competing. This superfood, in addition to being a tasty addition to meals, can improve cardiovascular health, boost your immune system, and provides antioxidative benefits. It also has anti-cancer properties. Garlic helps relax the blood vessels and facilitates blood flow, the benefits of which include improving cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure.
Chopping or crushing garlic before cooking it ensures maximum benefits. Garlic releases an alliin metabolite called allicin, when disturbed (like when eaten), turns into a variety of volatile compounds, which in turn give off hydrogen sulfide. Tapping into the hydrogen sulfide signaling system is the main mechanism that allows for your body to reap these health benefits. So, be sure not to boil or microwave your garlic first, or you’ll be missing out on some of these great benefits. The studies which have found the most benefits are based on 600-1,200mg of garlic a day, the equivalent of enjoying a clove of garlic in a meal, two to three times a day.
2 – Rhodiola: helps you adapt to stress
Rhodiola Rosea is an incredibly powerful herb, known as an adaptogen, which prepares and defends the body against physical, psychological, chemical and biological stress (swimming put your body through all these stresses). It helps the body be more adaptable so the brain and body can react to stress in a more constructive way. Rhodiola has proven to significantly reduce fatigue and exhaustion in prolonged stressful situations. As a neuroprotective, it has also demonstrated improved cognition in fatigued persons. Rhodiola increases serotonin levels, which is needed for brain and nerve cell function and helps reduce corticosteroids (or cortisol), which have been shown to suppress the immune system amongst many other things. Typically this powerful herb is taken as a supplement and can be found online and in several shops, as an athlete be sure to choose your supplements carefully and look for supplements that are tested safe and free of banned substances by an independent third party tester like the EnduroBoost Adaptogens have been.
3- Blueberries: add brain power
Dark berries, including blueberries, cranberries, and bilberries, are a source of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidant compounds, which protect the liver, reduce liver fat buildup and support cardiovascular health. Blueberries have also demonstrated nootropic benefits including reducing cognitive decline, promoting the growth of nervous tissue and reducing neurological inflammation. This superfood, while great in a smoothie or as a standalone, is heat sensitive and in the absence of easy access to cold storage, may also be supplemented as blueberry powder. The recommended dosage for blueberry extract is the equivalent of 60-120g of fresh berries taken daily.
4 – Spirulina: protein for power
Spirulina is a blue-green algae that is a natural source of essential phytonutrients, protein, and amino acids. This algae has a 55-70% protein content and has shown to be potent in reducing liver fat and protecting the brain. Additional benefits of spirulina include anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, and increased power output effects.
While a powerhouse of a superfood it does not have a nice taste, for a better experience consider hiding the taste in a smoothie or supplement this superfood as a capsule. Some multivitamins contain Spirulina, like the Men’s and Women’s Multivitamins here.
5 – Leafy Greens: don’t forget to eat your greens
Leafy greens, like Kale, can provide great benefits to your nutritional plan, especially when part of a balanced diet. Leafy greens are packed with antioxidants and help your body regulate it’s inflammatory process. Leafy greens are also a great source of magnesium, which can help you improve your recovery. These greens are high in fiber, which makes it a better dinner option, as too much fiber could upset your stomach on race day. Leafy greens are high in nitrate, which has a vital role in cardiovascular health and has been shown to enhance performance by prolonging time to exhaustion. Another great source of nitrate is beets.
6 – Beets: a pre-exercise performance booster
Beets, in addition to being a colorful addition to any meal, are sometimes eaten as a pre-exercise supplement to boost performance. Beets are high in nitrate, which dilates blood vessels, improves blood flow and helps increase the flow of oxygen to your muscles. Nitrates have also shown to improve the efficiency of mitochondrial cells, enabling cells to use less oxygen to function. You might consider adding beets to your salad or drinking fresh beet juice, for an added boost.
These are all great foods that have benefits to your nutritional plan, which in turn benefits your performance. Make sure to include these as part of a balanced diet, that has the right combination of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
P2Life is family owned, performance-based, nutritional supplement company that was designed for swimmers, by swimmers, to protect health and promote performance. P2Life takes great care in ensuring that every batch of their performance line is tested to be free of banned and illegal substances. Even though P2Life products were the preferred choice for over 40% of the USA Men’s Olympic Swim team during the London Olympics, it is not just for Olympians. It is also the preferred choice for the top high school, collegiate and masters swimmers across the globe.
P2Life was founded by Tim Shead, a Masters Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee and 42x World Record Holder, and co-founded by Michael Shead, who was a national water polo player. Tim’s expertise in swimming and years of experience and knowledge working with nutritional products, combined with Michael’s love of innovation and technical background, has enabled the P2Life team to create a technologically savvy company that is dedicated to furthering athletic potential. P2Life has a strong e-commerce platform, which allows them to spend less time and funds on retail stores, and dedicate more time to the swimming community.
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Swim nutrition is courtesy of P2 Life, a SwimSwam partner.