I'm no nutritionalist, but I do read quite a bit about health and nutrition, I try to eat well, be healthy and exercise regularly. I also live with someone who only believes in evidence-based research, and that unless there is a double blind clinical trial about something, it cannot be true, therefore should be ignored as 'hocus pocus'.
So I often enjoy reading sensationalist articles in the news about the latest fitness fad and diets that will shave inches off your hips within 8 weeks. I'm intrigued to hear about the celebrity endorsements and about those 'superfoods' which are the cure for everything.
I recently read an article by Renee McGregor, sports nutritionalist for 220 Magazine about superfoods, and thought I'd summarise some of the key points for you.
What is a 'Superfood' and does it really exist?
The term has become commonplace in our vocabulary to describe foods that have been identified as being extremely high in a particular nutrient, which is thought to have a positive benefit to our health and/or performance.
The reality is, that there is absolutely no evidence that such foods exist. No single food can provide all the components you need for a healthy diet, and do you really think that eating a whole punnet of blueberries will offset that burger you had for lunch? And those expensive Goji berries aren't going to make your run faster if you haven't put in the training.
Are there cheaper alternatives?
Lets take Kale: its quite trendy to have kale in your smoothie or salad at the moment. you do need to eat an awful lot of the stuff to get the nutritional benefits often stated. 100g of it give you1.5mg iron, the same amount you get from two eggs. Also the bioavailability of iron is much higher in eggs, meaning that the body can absorb and utilise it more efficiently.
Chia seeds....very 'in' and very expensive. Linseeds and flaxseeds are nutritionally equal, and cheaper.
And did you know that 30g of dried Goji berries have the same amount of Vitamin C as six whole strawberries.
Did you also know that.....
1. Greek yoghurt contains 10g or protein/100g which is double the amount found in standard yoghurts.
2. Porridge is low in fat, high in soluble fibre and also a great source of complex carbohydrates, which release energy slowly throughout the day.
3. Two medium eggs provide about 15g protein, 100% RDA of vitamin B12, plus selenium (a pwerful antioxidant)
Recovery drink nonsense
When you look at the recommendations for recovery in terms of carbohydrate and protein, the suggested ratio is3:1 carbs:protein.This ratio ensures replenishment, particularly after high-intensity exercise, training or competition when glycogen stores will be completely or close to depleted. This is further enhanced if carbohydrate is in a fast-release form and protein is easily digested. The milk sugar, lactose and why protein in milk provides this balance, thus making it a perfect recovery choice. It also is a good source of minerals and electrolytes, making it ideal for rehydration.