Top 10 “Superfoods” for Athletes

If you consider yourself a “serious athlete” and are looking for the best way to get you to that next level of performance, then this list is made for you. I consider “athletes” to be anybody that is training toward a goal. Whether you are a high school kid just trying to make the varsity team, a high-end division 1 collegiate athlete or even a 30 year old mom who’s attempting to run her first 5k, these “superfoods” will help get you there.

Before we get started, just keep in mind that this list includes both supplements and real foods. You’ve probably heard it a million times but just remember that real food is ALWAYS better than using a supplement.

Now, let’s get started!

Avocado– Possibly the best source of monounsaturated fats or the “good” fats. Tons of vitamins and minerals. Also, avocados have a good amount of fiber which will help you feel full for a longer period of time.

Creatine– A very well-researched supplement and has been proven to improve strength and power output when combined with resistance training, a healthy diet and proper hydration. I would recommend to only use it in the off-season if you’ve never used it before.

Greens Supplement– If you don’t consume enough leafy green vegetables, such as lettuce, kale or spinach then I would highly recommend to take a Green Superfood supplement. It will help you get a lot of the nutrients that fresh vegetables have and is very convenient and easy to use. Possible benefits: increased energy levels, antioxidants, immune function.

Green Superfood The Original, 30 Servings by Amazing Grass

Nuts & Seeds– Loaded with antioxidants and healthy fats. Also, if your goal is to gain weight then eating a bunch of nuts everyday is a great option because they are calorically dense. Examples such as chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds, quinoa, pistachios are all great examples of healthy options.

Bananas– A STAPLE in any athletes diet, because of it’s ability to give us that quick energy boost due to it’s high amount of sugar and carbohydrates. Athletes should definitely consume bananas because they are high in potassium and will help us avoid cramping during practice or games.

Collagen– Great for preventing injury and increasing muscle sheath “stiffness.” If we are able to make the sheath more stiff, then we are actually able to transmit force better, and if we can transmit force efficiently, then we are technically stronger.

Cherries– Amazing for the recovery process. Tart cherries contain melatonin which will improve our sleep quality, cherry juice can also reduce inflammation, fatigue and muscular damage. My recommendation is to drink cherry juice after practice/training or before you go to sleep.

Oatmeal– Very healthy option for sustained energy throughout the day. Make sure you are eating whole oats and not instant oatmeal. Whole oats are way more nutritious and will provide much more benefit.

Tuna– One of the best options for protein out there and is also very inexpensive. Also, it contains a large amount of Omega-3 which is great for our heart and brain health. It’s very important that we eat Omega-3 because our bodies cannot create it like it does with creatine.

Whey Protein– Only necessary if you struggle with getting enough protein each day. Athletes require different amounts of protein depending on their sport, activity level, gender, etc. Do your research on how much protein YOU should be consuming.

Once again it is important to remember that you should do your best to get all of your nutrients from whole foods and not supplements. However, they can be a great idea if you are deficient in a specific nutrient or you are an athlete that needs to consume more than the average person.

Thanks for reading!

Published by Jonathan Valentini,

B.A. Exercise Science, Professional Strength and Conditioning Coach, Former NCAA athlete, CSCS, CSAC, CPR/AED

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