The nutritional recommendations for athletes focus primarily on providing enough proteins and carbohydrates in the diet. These are the key ingredients in terms of performance, regeneration, and building muscle mass. However, there are other ingredients that are not less important if you are thinking about becoming an athlete or you just do sports as a pastime.
The sports nutrition market includes products based primarily on animal protein (e.g. whey proteins, proteins derived from meat or eggs), vegetable proteins (e.g. derived from soybeans, peas), and carbohydrates. These products in the athlete diet can help maintain and build their muscle mass, regenerate muscles, improve performance and the process of muscle regeneration after training. Apart from the most popular supplements based on proteins and carbohydrates, there are more and more products based on plant ingredients on the market. Plants recommended to athletes have a positive effect on concentration, blood circulation, and the performance of the body.
Plants recommended to athletes include ginseng, fenugreek, Rhodiola Rosea, maca, and mace.
Ginseng supplements for athletes are becoming a hit. The valuable properties of ginseng were first mentioned by the Chinese. In Europe, it appeared only in the 17th century. The most important part of ginseng is the root, which has about two hundred different bioactive substances. One of the substances is saponins that have a positive effect on the functioning of the human body. Why are ginseng products recommended for athletes? Taking them can effectively reduce fatigue, improve metabolism, and have a positive effect on physical fitness. Moreover, ginseng is a source of vitamins and minerals.
Fenugreek is an annual plant that comes from the Mediterranean region. Its other names are very interesting, for instance, “God’s weed” or “Greek hay”. Its medicinal raw material is seeds that contain flavonoids, vitamins, minerals, fats, saponins, and lecithin. For athletes, the content of the amino acid – 4-hydroxy isoleucine, which increases the activity of insulin, is the most important. It is an anabolic hormone, which means that it facilitates building muscle mass. Moreover, insulin contributes to the faster regeneration of glycogen stores.
Rhodiola Rosea is a plant that is becoming more and more popular due to its adaptogenic properties. The medicinal raw material is the rhizome together with the root called “arctic root” or “golden root”. Although Rhodiola Rosea has become particularly popular in recent years, its valuable properties have been known and used for years by the inhabitants of China and Europe. The compounds contained in Rhodiola Rosea have a beneficial effect on the performance of the body. What’s more, they increase the level of serotonin and dopamine, which are responsible for the smooth functioning of the nervous system.
Maca comes from Peru. This plant is known under various names, such as “Peppergrass”, “pepper herb” or “Peruvian ginseng”. Maca is valued primarily for its strengthening and energizing properties. It has a positive effect on the endurance of the body (including muscles). Maca consists of 11% protein, therefore it also supports the maintenance and building of muscle mass. Peruvian ginseng is also a source of antioxidants (including vitamin C and E), which are very important in sports nutrition.
Tribulus is a shrub that looks a little bit like a fern decorated with small, yellow flowers. The compounds contained in this plant have a beneficial effect on the heart, which is why they are recommended especially in cardio training (e.g. walking, running, swimming, cycling). Tribulus is recommended to athletes also because it increases muscle tone.
– The plants described above as recommended for athletes hide many secrets! Here are some of them.
– Ginseng has been used for many years not only for medicinal purposes. It is also a component of cosmetics (especially those with a rejuvenating effect).
– In 1973, in the Altai Mountains, Rhodiola Rosea was found with 295 stems and its rhizome weighed almost 4 kg!
– Dry maca roots can retain their nutritional value and unchanged chemical composition for up to 7 years!
– In folk medicine, fenugreek ointment has been used to reduce fever.
The plants recommended to athletes such as ginseng, fenugreek, Peruvian ginseng, Rhodiola Rosea and maca have a positive effect on the body’s efficiency, muscle mass, and support the proper functioning of the nervous system. The potential of these plants is increasingly used in sports nutrition. Although animal products still prevail in supplements for athletes (e.g. egg proteins, whey proteins), the range of plant products for them is systematically growing.
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