Nutrition is an important part of any exercise routine, and shakes are a great way of delivering the nutrients you need in a quick, easy, and digestible form. The type and amount of food you eat before and after exercise depends on the intensity, type, frequency, and duration of exercise.
Here are some ingredients to consider for your shakes:
Cherry juice is an anti-inflammatory and can prevent cancer as well as helping to reduce the occurrence of muscle aches and pains. Tea naturally contains antioxidants, phytochemicals, and flavonoids, which reduce that risk of cancer and heart disease.
Oats contains a great deal of fibre, which helps to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease. You can add cooked or raw oats, or oat bran. Nuts contain unsaturated fat, which helps to lower LDL cholesterol levels. Omega-3 is also present in nuts and is good for heart health.
Apricots contain a great deal of potassium which is a vital electrolyte. Blueberries contain vitamins, minerals and fibre and contain an anti-inflammatory nutrient. Citrus contains high doses of vitamin C, which is essential in muscle and collagen repair, to help the body to recover from exercise. Grapes contain an anti-inflammatory property which helps to reduce blood pressure, and lowers LDL levels. Strawberries will not only make your shake taste delicious, but they also contain antioxidants like vitamin C, and help to boost your immune system. Mango also sweetens your shake, and contains high amounts of dietary fibre as well as antioxidants and potassium.
Cruciferous vegetables, like cabbage, might not sound like a very appetising thing to add to shakes, but they contain disease-fighting and immune-boosting nutrients, as well as vitamin A, C and folic acid. Raw kale contains potassium, vitamins A, C and K and has very few calories. It also has antioxidant properties. Spinach contains zinc and iron, folate and vitamin B.
Endurance athletes need less protein in their diets than strength or power athletes. Natural yoghurt boosts immune health because it contains probiotics, as well as protein. Protein powders can supply a sustained amount of protein for muscle rebuilding and recovery. Whey protein is found in milk, is fast-absorbing, and is good for intense workouts. Casein is the main protein in milk, it absorbs more slowly, and stays in the body for a while, so is good for meal replacements or to take before bed. Soy is also a source of protein. Combined with sago, a starchy carbohydrate, it can delay fatigue and improve endurance. Soy is a plant-based protein, an antioxidant, and a good meal replacement.
Your pre-exercise shake should give you energy to sustain you through your exercise routine. Your post-exercise shake should provide you with protein to help your body repair and recover from exercise. It should also restore antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that were lost during your workout.